Honey, We Need to Talk About the Dirty Dishes

By Rainy

It is one of those long time associations of domestication. It is feared by some and loathed by most. However, you can be certain someone somewhere is doing the doing the dishes.

Making my own meals from scratch is fulfilling and enjoyable. But being a cook in my own home requires me to continuously be cleaning up after the mess I make during cooking. This task sometimes places me as Sisyphus, pushing a boulder up a hill only to see it roll down again. The dishes are never done and when they are that just signals it is time to cook something new! I feel for the dish washers in restaurant kitchens. Their pile up is even larger and they don’t even cook the food.

Our household typically has about one dishwasher load per day. This estimate depends on the number of cooking projects I have lined up and whether we have been eating out of the house a lot that week. It is difficult to fit in doing the dishes after a long day working and cooking dinner. With two of us we should technically be able to split the chore in half. But if there is one thing that is almost guaranteed to get us in an argument, it is dirty dishes.

We have tried a few ways to address the issue. Each time the method fails or causes discord we have to think of a new system. I usually get upset if the dishes are not being properly pre-rinsed before loading into the dishwasher or organized in a way that they don’t get cleaned well. He gets frustrated with the odd shaped objects especially plastic Tupperware-like objects.

Originally we have tried the method of “the person who cooked the meal is exempt from doing the dishes”. This just ended poorly when we both made food together. Then we tried “whoever has time cleans the dishes”. This just caused arguments as to who is more exhausted after a long day. Lately we have settled on doing the dishes together. This wasn’t an option in our previous apartment kitchens because of the layout. But now with more space he is able to rinse the dishes while I load them into the dishwasher. This is best because I avoid the dirty part and he doesn’t have to jigsaw the pieces together.

I heard a segment on my local public radio station dedicated to this ongoing problem. Food For Thought addressed the same feelings and problems my husband and I have run across over the years. When I realized that other people have the same issue I don’t feel as ridiculous for letting a small thing get the best of me. It hadn’t occurred to me that there was a proper way to load a dishwasher. WikiHow explains the exact steps.  I wish I had known these steps years ago. Luckily we have figured most of this out on our own by lots of trial and error.

I would continue this subject but alas, I have some dishes that need addressing.


4 thoughts on “Honey, We Need to Talk About the Dirty Dishes

  1. Have you ever thought about writing an Q & A advice segment as part of your blog? (Dear Rainy, Dear Rainy. My house is a mess amd my neighbor’s a pest. Is there a future for a couple who disagree if butter vs. margarine is best?)

    1. That is a good idea. That seemed like a little poem there.
      I don’t think of myself as very wise yet. But I know how to research stuff 🙂

  2. Love the photo of your kitchen sink! I’m sure most people can identify with it! I have one of your clean plates that I can return if that helps! I can certainly emphathize with your dilema of cooking a good home-cooked meal only to face a pile of dirty dishes. It sounds like you’ve arrived at a good solution. Believe it or not, I fondly remember your great-grandparents Crosetti washing the dishes together when I was a kid. They didn’t have a dishwasher but one would always wash and the other dry.

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