Let me start with a confession: I don’t cook.
Now that the confession is out of the way time to talk about what I do: I prefer to do the dishes 🙂
Is there anything special about doing the dishes The Raj way? Yes, if you are The Raj 😉 Otherwise it is just a fancy way of describing a routine task 😀 Let’s get down to the details. Our current dishwasher has 3 racks, the top one is for cutlery, knives and other relatively flat objects used for cooking and eating. The bottom rack for the biggest dishes, pots and pans with a side basket for cutlery, the middle rack for beverage containers and room for smaller utensils. Yours truly likes to approach dishwashing as a problem solving exercise to be solved aesthetically, efficiently and completed in time before the next cooking cycle, which if it is Indian cuisine, can be quite involved. Now you know why I don’t cook 😀
Talking of aesthetics I like to see symmetry and balance. If I see dishes/utensils/cutlery arranged in a haphazard way my OCD-like tendencies kick into high gear 😀 In the bottom rack the eating plates have to be arranged in an order of increasing or decreasing size. If there are eating plates of same size with different patterns the order in which the plates go in will be determined by # of each plate type. Also not for me dumping of cutlery in one or two of the pockets of bottom rack basket. Justice has to be done to each pocket so that they carry similar load. Objects with sharp sides like cutting knives have to go flat in the top rack to minimize chance of accidentally cutting one’s finger while setting up for wash or when removing after the wash. Spatulas and other objects that are tall and flat also have to go to the top rack.
Moving on to efficiency the idea is make proper use of all the space available in the 3 racks and the cutlery basket. What does this mean? With a 3 rack dishwasher additional rack translates into lesser height for each individual rack as the overall dimensions remain the same as 2 rack models. So, one has to recognize the possibility of the rotating fan blades below the middle rack coming in contact with taller utensils or frying pans of greater circumference. One way to minimize it by placing those in the corners where the rotating blades can’t reach. Another thing I prefer to do is to have the pointed end/sharp side of forks and eating knives facing upwards in the dish basket of bottom rack. This is to avoid gravity and sharp sides/edges carve out a nice hole at the bottom of the plastic basket 🙂 The top rack cannot have objects bulging too much as there is a rotating fan over the top rack.
Getting dishes washed in time: In models with that are not entry level the heating coil has been replaced by a mechanism that is supposed to use the heat of the water at the bottom in a more efficient way reducing power consumption. While it makes the overall dishwashing quieter what it translates into practically is doubling up the time for entire wash cycle. What used to take 90 minutes max end to end now takes 190+ minutes of interminable wait. So, it’s better to start dishwashing prior to going to sleep.
Finally the therapeutic value of dishwashing: Doing the dishes brings its own sense of calm and relaxation. At night I can watch TV while setting them up. The process of arranging all the utensils is also akin to bringing different pieces of a solution together for one full working solution or assembling a jigsaw puzzle from pieces cluttered around. Removing the dishes the morning after the wash allows me to catch up on the weather and other news on TV briefly. Also lets me think of the tasks due at work for the day, resolution for issues in the calm of early morning after an overnight sleep. Of course before removing the clean and dry dishes they get an admiring look and yours truly self complimenting for successful project implementation 😀 The ultimate benefit of course is getting all the pots and pans and cutlery ready for wife to serve up piping hot, yummylicious food before leaving for work. For someone that doesn’t cook there can’t be a better reward 🙂