The right way to load a dishwasher or make a peanut butter sandwich



Thanksgiving turkey is the best, except when it comes to cleaning up.  It’s big and greasy, and between that and the casseroles, salads, veggies, and pies, we use more pots, pans, dishes, and utensils than on any other single day of the year.  This being the morning after Thanksgiving, cleaning up is fresh in my mind.  So here are some thoughts.

First, flashback to Tuesday night.  As the official cleaner-upper after dinner, my husband had his work cut out for him.  With the troops landing Wednesday morning, we’d been waiting til the last minute to run the dishwasher, meaning we hadn’t run it in four days, and it was a tight squeeze.

Where to put the water glasses with the top rack full?  Under the salad bowl?  On the bottom rack?  If we shifted a plastic container to the bottom, the glasses would fit on top.  But plastic is supposed to be top-loaded, right?  And what about the pyrex dish in which I’d just cooked our cod?  He had prescrubbed it, but should we finish it by hand for the best result?  The bottom rack already had dishes stacked in the entire back row, with the salad bowl, breakfast fry pan, and a large glass vase in front.  Not much room for suds circulation.

I’m usually the better packer, but if he’s doing the loading, he’s in charge.  That’s my take on it.  If you’re going to delegate, you can’t micromanage.  At least, not when it comes to loading the dishwasher, because – bottom line – the glasses will clean up just as well on top or bottom, if the plastic container warps, it can be replaced, and if that pyrex dish isn’t quite as clean as it would have been if I’d done it by hand, it’ll clean up next time.

Some of you are saying that’s not true, that once cooking residue is baked on by the heat of the dishwasher, it never comes off.  That glasses can shatter when pots knock them around in the course of the wash cycle. That forks have to be loaded tines up if you really want them disinfected.

For the record, I do load my forks tines up, though I load my knives head down so I don’t stab myself.  I do put plastic containers on top, along with cups, mugs, lids for mugs, long knives and serving spoons, the mini-coffee urn, and chopsticks

For the record, we normally run our dishwasher twice a week, but with eight extra bodies sleeping here this holiday weekend, it’s minimum once a day.

For the record, with lots of different people putting things in that dishwasher, there isn’t the kind of order there would normally be.

For the record, when I make a peanut butter sandwich, I spread peanut butter on one slice of bread first, then ease jelly over it, then put the second slice of bread on top. I know I know.  It’s easier to spread peanut butter on one, jelly on the other, and smack them together.

But it tastes the same either way.  Right?

Fast forward to last night.  With lots of willing hands at the sink, I stepped back and just let it happen.  And this morning?  It may take me a while to find some of the items that were done by hand and put away according to the mindset of the person doing the putting away.  But that’s okay, y’know. It’s not worth a war.

By the way, this blog was initially inspired by an article in the Boston Globe earlier this week.  I’d send you the link, except they won’t let you in unless you’re a subscriber, which I am, but you likely are not.  Their loss.

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  1. Lynn Ryan-Loeb on November 25, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I can totally relate to this, Barbara, and actually learned something from it (believe it or not, I never knew that plastic was supposed to go in the top rack)!

    There are three adults in my house normally; two at the moment (since one is visiting other relatives for Thanksgiving). We usually run our dishwasher every other night, but with just my husband and I here, it’s more like every 3 or 4 days. I never put pots or pans, cooking dishes, mixing bowls, or other large items in the dishwasher. I prefer to wash these by hand in the sink because they just take up too much room. Anything that touches a mouth, or gets touched by a utensil that touches a mouth, goes into the dishwasher, though. That includes utensils, plates, cups and glasses, and I do lay the large cooking utensils in the top rack like you do. My mother-in-law (who lives with us) and hubby will often wash a bowl or plate they were eating from, along with the utensils they were using, by hand and leave them in the dish rack on the sink. If I see this, I will take them out of the dish rack, and put them in the dishwasher, even if they appear to be clean. To me, it’s a sterilization issue.

  2. sue on November 25, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I say the same thing if my husband does it
    I don’t say a word how it is done
    He does more since I have had surgery

  3. linda on November 25, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I am suprised by how much time you all think about loading the dishwasher. Made me take a second look at what I do. It if fits great otherwise wash by hand. In fact I used a dishwasher soap that comes in a tab & throw it into the dishwasher without worring about it fitting into the slot. Then at least once a month I used a few tablespoons of cooking oil & run the dishwasher to clean it. Guess I am a weirdo

  4. Becky on November 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    I am the “dishwasher” so I stack what I can safely and towel dry the rest. What I don’t like doing is putting the leftovers all away. But love being with family, so it is all wiorth it

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