Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Pleasure of Doing Dishes

With a new house has come some new housekeeping habits. One that is so truly amazing (and therefore blog-worthy) is that I am finding a new secret pleasure in doing the dishes. What?! How can this be?

Well, for one thing, dishes-doing at our old house was very laborious. I would first fill and heat a pitcher of water on an electric burner thing made for that purpose. Then I would pour that water into a large plastic bowl in my very low sink and begin to wash. As the water cooled I always had to plan ahead because the electric burner took several minutes to heat up. If there weren't very many dishes, often I would let myself stack the dirty dishes, thinking that it wasn't worth heating up the water. My kitchen also wasn't lit very well so doing the dishes at night was difficult--hard to see whether I was getting them truly clean or not.

But here, in the new place, my kitchen has a sink which is just at the right height, so I don't have to crouch over it. The hot water, miraculously, comes right out of the tap! I can wash AND rinse in hot water! Hallelujah! And we planned out the cupboards and counterspace so that standing at the kitchen sink is looking right out of a big window and seeing a lovely view below--a winding path with willow trees, sumac, and other trees lining it as well as a stream with goldfish and a small waterfall. It's Lovely with a capital L.

Another factor causing me to enjoy my dishes-doing task is a book recommended by my friend Gretchen. Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson was described by People magazine like this; "This book is to the home what the Joy of Cooking is to Food." I've been a devoted Joy user for a long time now (actually, mostly since we moved overseas), and so with that and Gretchen's recommendation, I knew I would love Home Comforts. It's a great book: practical, thorough, and beautifully written. She devotes about 5 full pages to how to wash the dishes--truly--I was just looking at it last night. Most of her routine is what my mother taught me, with a few refinements. And the way she writes about it makes you feel like doing the dishes is really worthwhile, a service for your family which is helping to build your home, which of course, it is.

So there's my secret confession. Many times in the last two weeks I have had a mini-retreat to my kitchen to do the dishes while thinking, praying, and enjoying the beauty outside. A big sinkful of hot soapy water--what a lovely sight! The pleasure of that is only surpassed by the pleasure of clean dishes, dried and put away and the kitchen all in order again. Who knew doing the dishes could be so refreshing?


Sandra said...

You make doing dishes sound like a retreat indeed! We have hot water, but it's connected to the bathroom so I'm always trying to balance night dishes with our little guys bath and then our showers. For the most part it works out

Either I've got a great system or I'm totally ok with not having the kitchen spic and span before we go to sleep...ok, so it's the latter!

The book sounds great. I'll have to see if I can check one out from the library soon!

Anonymous said...

Rachel,I just got Home Comforts as a gift from my hubby. Gretchen had recommended it to me as well. I'm having so much fun reading it and looking forward to implementing it in our home. Happy washing!
(frequent reader and friend from clifton)