cooking from scratch causing too many dishes

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by SquashNut, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    There is only 2 of us in this house, not counting our 2 dogs. Yet the dishes stack up like crazy. There has always been alot, but since we started making every thing from scratch it's even worse. Add the empty canning jars and it is totally out of control.
    DH has offered to buy me a dish washer for christmas, but I really don't want the darn thing. We had one before and the whole grains that we eat now dryed on like concrete.
    Dh helps with the dishes, but since he works 5-6 days a week, some times 10-12 hours a day. I wish he didn't have to.
    With the garden and canning, house work ect. I don't have any more time to spend to keep them cleaned up. I mean I could spend more time, but like some time for other stuff too.
    Any suggestions on the situation appreciated.
     
  2. littletree

    littletree Homestead Dreams....

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    This may not be the answer you're looking for, but what has really worked for me is just plain old staying on top of it! Before I start any sort of cooking, I quickly wash up any stray dishes that have accumlated since the last meal. I leave that sinkful of nice soapy water and wash things as I go. A pot full of spaghetti sauce washes up a whole lot quicker when its just been used rather than waiting till its dried on, kwim?

    Do dishes after every meal instead of just once a day. Honestly, its faster in the long run and you don't feel that sense of dread every time you walk by the sink and see a tower of dishes mounting up.

    Also, I let go of one of my perfectionist tendancies. I no longer dry dishes! I just don't! I put them in the rack, and I just put them away before I do the next load.
     

  3. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    I think of dishwashing as heat therapy for my hands.
     
  4. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    We don't dry dishes either. I accually have the racks from our old dish washer on a towel to drain dishes on. I don't put them away either, just try to keep reusing them over and over.
     
  5. Mama McJack

    Mama McJack happy homekeeper

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    We are washing dishes by hand, too. I have a dishwasher, but for me it was not really a timesaver...by the time I rinsed dishes, loaded them, rewashed the ones that didn't get clean, and put them away I may as well have just washed them by hand. Besides, I enjoy looking out my kitchen window while standing at the sink! As soon as my husband has time, he is going to take the dishwasher out and replace it with shelves so I have more storage space. We are a family of 8, and like littletree said, staying on top of it is the key. We wash dishes after every meal so they don't accumulate. I also try to wash things while I'm cooking so the huge pile after supper isn't so overwhelming.

    Something that might save a little on dishes is cooking in quantity--double your recipes and freeze one or refrigerate for later in the week. It doesn't take any more dishes to prepare the meal and the second time you won't have preparation dishes at all!

    Mama McJack
     
  6. peacebaker

    peacebaker Well-Known Member

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    Actually, after going through a food safety course, drying dishes is not recommended anyway--air drying is better (obviously more for restaurants, but it's a good excuse at home).

    As for making dishes...I have the same problem. We call it the dinner bomb when dishes seem to appear everywhere. A few possible ideas:

    - One pot meals--there are a lot of healthy soups, stews, and casseroles that don't use as many prep dishes. Plus they make good leftovers which always saves dishes!

    - Try to stay organized--sort of a dumb suggestion but with a little planning you can re-use the same bowls/utensils with only rinsing in between. For instance, when I make bread I re-use the mixer bowl for several batches, and/or use it for the rising dough too.

    - Preparing ahead--I just made this up so haven't tried it yet :) but you could cut up onions/veggies etc right after bringing them home, and then use them for a week in different dishes.

    - I also try and do the pre-dinner dishes once things are in the oven or simmering (the cutting boards etc) and that makes the after-dinner dishes seem like less of a chore. If you keep soapy water in the sink you can wash as you go...

    Good luck--I'm hoping other folks have ideas 'cause ! can use them too!
     
  7. TNHermit

    TNHermit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Since I live alone I'm gonna say something then run like the wind. I had the same problem and sometimes still do. But all the old books I read talk about how the ladies had one day a week when they pre-prepaired and prepaired the dishes for the week. The more modern ones would prepare them and put them in the fridge for a day or freezer. That way they would only have a load of dishes one day a week. I'm only me but I cook for 3 or 4 and then freeze the rest. Just to keep the mess down and do what other things I need done. Only downside is you have to set down and write out a menu. But it also helps on the grocery bill too.
    I'will run now
    Bye
     
  8. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    For busy days, I keep some easy-fix meals. Like, a frozen steak to drop on the outside grill (No pan to wash), and a can of something to go with it (One pan only).

    Since my illness, I also like to keep a few frozen lasagnas around. I suppose those COULD be made from scratch and frozen, I have done this before, but I don't any more. I just buy stoffers!

    If I were ORGANIZED, I would fix very large meals and freeze half for another day, but I am afraid that I do not!
     
  9. SandyB

    SandyB AKA Southernbelle32

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    I also keep washing as I'm going in the kitchen cooking etc. It's much easier to clean after we eat because it's just what we ate out of and a few pots left to wash.

    I also have a dish washer and use it as my drying racks!! I wash, put them in the racks to dry and leave it out or else it does start to get a funny smell from the sitting water. About 1 time a week we will run the dish washer to make sure it stays clean. I normally do it when we have a lot of dishes to wash so I don't feel bad about using it!!
     
  10. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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    It seems easier to me to wash dishes by hand after every meal. THe food washes off very easy. Like others have said, cook enough for a couple days or more, and refrigerate, or freeze the rest
     
  11. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    It seems to me bulk food cooking only works well if you have a microwave.
     
  12. sullen

    sullen Question Answerer

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    i'll send a kid over and he can be your slave.....they need to learn to work...
     
  13. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    I agree with the advice to just stay on top of it and get 'em while they're fresh. Also to air dry. This air drying drives DH nuts - he sees it as laziness, but I don't see him volunteering to dry.

    I'm currently debating whether or not I want a dishwasher. I got my first dishwasher when my DD was an infant, and it sure was wonderful for washing bottles and sippy cups! (yeah, nursing would be easier yet...I tried both times and succeeded with baby #2). They're also great for just stashing the dirty dishes to get them out of your sink till you're ready to wash them; I hate a sinkful of dirty dishes. We had one at our last house, but this house didn't come equipped with one.

    But I discovered that I didn't really miss it that much as long as I keep up with the dirties! It really doesn't take that long to wash a sinkful of dishes - maybe 10 minutes if nothing's caked on and dried. A dishwasher load takes a long time and is noisier, swish swish whoooosh...dishwasher soap is expensive, uses more water, etc. Also I do not want to give up my cabinet and drawer where it'd go!

    One thing I do for big meals especially is to wash up everything as I use it instead of just piling it into the sink for later. That way I'm not left with an enormous pile of plates, spoons, spatulas, knives, cutting board, pots and pans in addition to the stuff used to actually eat the food. I can wash a pot or scrub the cutting board while something else is still cooking - I'd be in the kitchen anyway. By the time dinner's over, the things I used to prepare the meal are dry and can be put away, leaving the rack empty for the plates, cups and silverware which takes about 10 minutes to wash.
     
  14. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We pulled our dishwasher and installed a combo washer/dryer in its footprint :rolleyes: The only time I mind doing the dishes is when I don't wash it immediately, just put it in the sink and go. They get lonely there and start to multiply- before you know it, a whole sink of dirty lil dishes... :rolleyes:
     
  15. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the offer, but it's more work to get the kid to do the dishes than to just do them myself. :)
     
  16. midwsthomestead

    midwsthomestead joy seeker

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    I'm a dishwasher fan because just 3 months ago, that husband o' mine put in my first EVER dishwasher. I had the same problem you do, dishes EVERYWHERE and yes, staying on top of them helps keep them down but it seemed I was always either cooking or doing dishes and not much else! I just did NOT do them more than twice a day--too much else goin' on!! (I love to cook but sheesh!)I also have super dry skin and my hands crack alot--they're already much better whoohoo!

    How long ago did you have a dishwasher and what kind was it? I only ask because the newer models seem to scrub better than the older ones--not to mention they use less water and are quieter, too.

    Just my experience, as of late :)

    ~~
     
  17. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I like to put the little things in a basin of soapy water. It is faster to washe them because half of the food has soaked off by the time I get to them!
     
  18. DenverGirlie

    DenverGirlie Well-Known Member

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    This is a constant battle for me as well. There is just the two of us, but I seem to make a mess in the kitchen, misjudge the size of something and then I have another dish to clean.
    I hate doing dhishes, flatwhere is the worse! I even went out and bought more flatware at the thrift store... it just makes it worse. I cook and freeze a lot, luckily I only know how to cook for 6-8 on average. Cooking for 2 is a real challenge for me, but I seem to have dishes for 8!

    The best thing is to keep on top of it, not daily but more like hourly. Keep the sink full of dishes soaking. Sometimes if I'm feeling pressured, I'll only wash them and leave them in the sink to be rinsed. I at least feel better than once I put away the other drying dishes (2 dish racks and towels), all I have to do is rinse those dishes....

    My new mantra is.... "I can do a mediocre job if it means it gets done". Sure I would love to get down and scrub something, to do it right.. but when I have a lot of things to get done it can be overwhelming, and the house just gets worse around me, but the refrigerator is scrubbed including wiping down the ketcup bottle... like that really helps.

    It's an ongoing process, it's getting better thou
     
  19. KindredSpirit

    KindredSpirit Well-Known Member

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    I'll probably get shot down for this but if it is just two of you have you thought of having some paper plates around? Then nights when you are really tired you are only washing pots and pans and silverware. Just an idea, but the paper plates would last a long time with just two of you.
     
  20. RedHairedBonnie

    RedHairedBonnie Well-Known Member

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    I was being to wonder that no one else on this forum uses a dishwasher. I love mine, and don't like it when I don't have one. I have gone without one in various locations, but much prefer to have one. As you finish the meal the dishes go right in, no mess in sink, or counter top. I don't use the dry cycle so they stay in the dishwasher until unloaded, out of the way. Some of my pots and mixing bowls don't fit nice in the dishwasher and those I do by hand.
    Scratch cooking does make more dishes, so making multiple batches is really the easiest way to save on dishes. And no, you don't need a microwave, (that's one appliance I have now, but have never missed when I didn't) I always use my oven. I, also purchase stoffers-I did the math once, and it costs $2.00 more to purchase it than make it, my time is worth more than $2.00.
    So if there isn't something else that you really want, I'd be temped to accept the offer, and if you find you don't like it, you could resell it, but it does give you options.