Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Tao of Dishes

Vaedri1 from Flickr
I was so relieved when I learned that, like me, The Amateur Gourmet enjoys washing dishes.

In the afterword to his first, self-titled book, he describes the experience of throwing dinner parties in a Brooklyn apartment with no dishwasher.  He walks the reader through the steps of cleaning up the big mess, and writes one of my all time favorite kitchen quotes: "Are you suffering through this or has your mind entered a blissful place? It has? Okay, shhhh, I won't disturb you."

That pretty much sums up my enjoyment of dishes. It is so wonderful to keep your hands busy and your mind empty for a while. You can pour a glass of wine (unless it's Thanksgiving at your tee totaling grandparents' house), put the stereo on, and work your way through from start to finish.

Don't let me give you the completely inaccurate perception that I am a good housekeeper. I have to invite people over now and then or I never clean my house. Occasionally, I get caught with a grubby bathroom because I am so focused on my goals for the moment.  Or possibly because I am napping or otherwise engaged. Cleaning the house stays pretty low on my list of priorities, so if you are planning to drop by unexpectedly, consider yourself warned.

The thing about the dishes is that they are a solvable problem. You can't quickly fix your love life (or create one in my case), settle the feuds between your friends, or improve your credit score, but you can attack a messy kitchen and get it done. I especially enjoy washing dishes after a holiday meal.  You start with a disaster in the kitchen and end up with something spotless and ready for breakfast the next day. At the same time you get to hang out with your mom or whoever is drying and really get some time to chat, after the stress of cooking the big meal is over.

The running water sounds a little like this!

So try Adam's and my approach to the dishes- enjoy the process and relish the finished product. I'm not planning to give up my dishwasher or anything, but if you invite me over for Labor Day I will totally help you clean up.

Maybe you don't love washing dishes, but I bet there is some menial task you find relaxing: folding laundry, vacuuming, filing. What is it and why do you love it so much?

So long for now, KISS (keep it simple stupid), and try a little dish washing meditation!

By the way, the title for today's blog was inspired by a really delightful book I read years ago, called The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. Yes, like Winnie the Pooh, not like the stuff I deal with a work every day. Check it out (of the library), you'll be glad you did!


  1. Washing dishes is my most hated chore! I would rather clean the toilet all day than wash dishes. I do enjoy sweeping and, strangely, clipping hedges/weeding/stuff like that.

  2. I personally really don't like to fold laundry. I'm not sure why I hate it so much, but I will leave dry towels in the dryer for a week (until I'm ready to use the dryer again) rather than use 5 minutes to fold them and put them away. Maybe we should start a kubbutz or something....

  3. I used to be able to appreciate dishes (back in high school it was nice to not think about school for a while) but I have lost the knack. Dishes pile up pretty badly. I do agree about weeding.


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