Thursday, May 15, 2008

Clean-up Crew

I'm sure this will come as no surprise to you, but we have no dishwasher. I know, a 150-year-old house with no dishwasher? What outrageous thing will she expect us to believe next? But the absence of a dishwasher, and the insane amount of cooking that takes place in this house, leads to formidable piles of dishes day after day.

The way it usually works is I do the dishes after I have my lunch, then I make dinner and the MiL does the dishes at night. A. eats. This is a good role for him. But I would be remiss if I didn't give props to our little kitchen helpers--the dogs. Oh yes, the dogs. I was thinking about their invaluable services last night in particular, as the MiL made dinner and I did the dishes.

The MiL made Julia Child's Boeuf a la Mode recipe from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Anything that involves a large beef roast and an entire bottle of wine is going to be good, and OH MY GOD, was it. The MiL followed the recipe to the point of thickening the gravy with a mixture of port and arrowroot starch. She went all the way with this one. But this is one of Julia's classic recipes involving all kinds of simmering, straining, mixing, and other things that take a lot of time and produce lots and lots of dirty, greasy dishes. (Once I made Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon recipe for a dinner party and it took me, no lie, an entire afternoon. Granted, about an hour of that was spent peeling those little bastard pearl onions, but still. Exhausting.)

What do you do with the grease in pots, pans, and bowls? Pour it down your drain and then run hot water to flush it through? Yeah, not happening here. Our water isn't hot enough, and the pipes are so old they probably have about a pinhole's width to drain through at this point. We have a hard enough time getting water to go down the drain, forget greasy water. Or do you wipe everything out with paper towels? We could do that, but why bother when we have four very willing little tongues literally begging to dispose of the grease?

So, one after the other, I put bowls, pans, serving dishes, and plates on the floor, and Mia and Zoe cleaned those suckers up in no time flat. And they were SO HAPPY to help.

Now if I could only teach them to wash the dishes in the soapy water after licking them, I'd be all set.


SaraPMcC said...

That grease probably isn't good for their pipes either.

Krysta said...

the joys of old houses... my house is only 88 years old just a baby compared to yours.

tu mere said...

I'm glad your dad isn't an avid reader of your blog. After reading how your pots are pre-cleaned, he'd probably have serious reservations eating food cooked in them, even though we know that your unorthodox cleaning methods are OK, especially by your dog's standards. Of course, when you factor in the amount of time we spend eating at your house, it's really doesn't matter, does it? That's the good news and the bad news. Bad news - I'd really rather have to deal with the discussion, 'cause that would mean we were spending more time with y'all!

Envious Lurker said...

Which reminds me of the joke where the old guy explains his mostly-clean dishes as "They're as clean as cold water can get 'em".

The punch line is that his dog is named... yup, cold water.

Well, it was funny when I heard it.
Great life you have there.

mil said...

For all the nervous people: high fat diets are actually GOOD for dogs; fat increases their endurance. Also, human mouths have about three times the bacteria of doggy mouths (of course we don't lick our plates!). And we wash those plates really, really well. I'm very strongly of the opinion that a few germs are good! Did you all see that kids who go to daycare and have constant colds have a thirty percent lower rate of leukemia? We all might just live practically forever, as A's grandmother did and as K's is working on. Will it be genetics or the more dubious benefits of bacteria? It's anybody's guess.

The Constant C said...

Can I say (this is pure whining now) that no single object would improve the quality of my life nearly so much as a dishwasher? Hours of my life down the scummy water drain. I just want to hug every dishwasher I see.

The Barber Bunch said...

What a great idea.

I often wonder how I can get some weed control out of the Dogs. They certainly fertilize the back yard well enough!!! If you catch my drift!