From Too Many Chefs - www.toomanychefs.com

January 3, 2007
NOT a Christmas Present

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The Critic is really one in a million. He's an incurable romantic who likes to surprise me with big Christmas gifts that make me go "WOW". Ideally, they have to be fun gifts and completely unrelated to mundane tasks like cleaning. He felt he was walking a thin line last year when he gave me a gorgeous cherry red Kitchenaid, but I was delighted. Cooking and baking are not a chore to me (duh) and the only negative feeling I had about THAT gift was a guilty conscience for requesting - and getting - something so extravagantly expensive for Christmas.

This year, he mentioned several times that he was disappointed because he hadn't found a gift with the "WOW" factor for me at Christmas. I pointed out to him (and it shut him up) that it was thanks to his insistence and generousity that I was able to say goodbye to my father before he died, and that this might be considered a more precious gift than anything else he could buy. But it must have still been bothering him at some level. Or maybe he just got tired of fighting with a sink full of soaking dishes every time he wanted to fill the water filter jug in the kitchen. Whatever the reason, he went out a few days ago and bought me a magical, wonderful machine: a dishwasher that actually works.

WOW.

The Candy machine (a.k.a. "That Useless Waste of Space in the Kitchen"), which we bought three years ago, required you to soak and scrape the dishes to the point where you could have just about skipped the machine entirely, if you wanted dishes to come out clean. Even then, if you foolishly forgot to properly prepare one dish in the load, little bits of half-washed food from that one dish would miraculously (think the miracle of the 40 loaves) spread over every single dish in the machine. Of course you couldn't just run the load again. No, at that point, you had to take out the entire load, soak everything (it had dried on the dishes by then), scrub again and start over.

But now I have a Bosch. It has a beautiful brushed chrome finish. (Ignore the blue in the photo: I was advised by the delivery men to leave it on the machine for 24 hours before peeling it off or some of the residue glue would stick to the machine.) The first test load included dishes that were scraped but not even rinsed, some of which had been waiting for over 12 hours to be washed - and at the end I had a machine full of sparkling clean dishes. I'm in heaven.

The thing is, a good dishwasher is as much a cook's tool as a KitchenAid. Without it, you are constantly cramped and messy - dishes piling up everywhere waiting to be properly prepared for the machine. With a good machine, you can just load as you go, clearing counter space as soon as you've finished with any utensil. By making my life easier, it will make my cooking more pleasurable.

I'm reminded of a comment made to me by a very hip woman I once worked for in Munich. She was very glamorous, a photographer's model and an actress, and, as it happened, the mother of the three children I was paid to look after. One day she drew me into the kitchen and showed me her mammouth American washer and dryer. "These are my most prized possessions!" she proudly told me. Young fool that I was, I just stared at her, at a loss for words. But now I know. I know the sorrows of washing machines that can't dissolve caked on mud and only hold a half a laundry basket of clothes. I know about dryers that can heat an entire apartment for 24 hours without actually succeeding in drying a single pair of jeans. (I insisted on a good quality washer and dryer when we bought.) And I know about dishwashers that increase instead of decreasing your workload.

And now I know the heaven that is A Dishwasher That Works.

Thanks to a husband in a million. And he won't even let me count it as a Christmas present or an anniversary present. Truly priceless.

Posted by Meg in Sussex at January 3, 2007 3:34 PM
Comments

I would just say: WOW ! How lucky you are !

Posted by Inoule on January 3, 2007 at 5:07 PM

Congrads Meg! I couldn't live without my dishwasher. I'm sure you know to add Sel to it monthly, and I only use the Powerball in mine. Maybe it's just the hype, but nothing seems to work for me.

Want me to come over with a load of chocolaty dishes and really put it to the test?

Posted by David on January 4, 2007 at 6:48 AM

Meg,
It's now your turn to reciprocate with a "WOW" present for The Critic. May I suggest a full-size snooker table? That should do the trick......

Posted by The Jet on January 5, 2007 at 1:07 PM

A friend once had a cupboard built entirely of counter-top dish washers. 6 of them piled up in 2 stacks of 3. So all his crockery would go straight into a dish washer. He had the idea when he found out that the small washers cost as little as IKEA kitchen units.

All the best, and if you're feeling like trying a Brazilian recipe, do come visit us at http://www.cucabrazuca.com

Posted by Nando Cuca on January 7, 2007 at 9:00 PM

Amen to buying the top-of-the-line appliances. Its amazing the difference that a hundred bucks or two can make between a dishwasher (or clothes washer or dryer or refrigerator) that just plain works and one that will be a constant thorn in your side. My wife taught me this lesson years ago, and ever since I've never regretted the small additonal expense for devices that work well.

Posted by Robert on January 7, 2007 at 10:56 PM

A new dishwasher is on my shopping list for this year. There is space in the kitchen for one - just no space in the budget. I am a firm believer that if I had one NOW, I could spend more time making more money - rather than doing dishes!

Posted by Tim @ take3eggs.com on February 18, 2007 at 7:31 PM