Dishes
thinking about them, owning, using, washing, incorporating them into peaceful living.



An unschooling mom living in the bush in the Yukon wrote wrote:
I need to breathe and ... get my priorities a bit straight in some areas again. Like, there's no point in letting the dishes pile up to try to make a point. What point? Who cares?
Because it was part of discussion of the house being a big happy mess, but the moms seemed somewhat stressed, some discussion of dishwashing came along. Glenda/wtexans:
I like the kitchen clean before I go to bed, so I load and start the dishwasher if that's needed....

I don't expect my kiddo to do any housework. As a result of not having that expectation, it's a lovely gift to me when he totes his dirty clothes to the laundry hamper, and when he takes his dirty dishes to the kitchen before he goes to bed, and when he declutters his floor so I can walk through the room. Likewise, I consider it a gift to him when I make sure I have all the dirty clothes or dishes where they need to be to get clean, and when I declutter his floor so *he* can walk through it more easily.

If the dishes piling up is a bone of contention for you, what can you do to ease that? Maybe use disposable plates, utensils, and cups. Have more one-pot meals. Consider no-cook / low-cook options: sandwiches; hot dogs (the weiners can be grilled outdoors or broiled indoors on foil); crackers + cheese + fruit; cereal + fruit/juice + boiled eggs(you can boil a bunch one day then stash them in the fridge to grab as needed throughout the week) + heat-n-serve bacon; etc.

One of my kiddo's favorite late-night meals is nachos that I make in the toaster oven: piece of foil with tortilla chips on it, which I sprinkle generously with pre-shredded cheese -- takes 5 or 6 minutes, there's no clean-up, and it's filling. If I'm heading to bed, I don't mind making those for him on my way. He and I have come up with several late-night meals that I can make quick-n-easy for him when I'm headed to bed, that require no clean-up.

Glenda

Sandra Dodd:
-=-Maybe use disposable plates, utensils, and cups. Have more one-pot meals. Consider no-cook / low-cook options: sandwiches; hot dogs...-=-
We have a paper bag near the trash all the time for greasy paper, so if someone microwaves a hot dog, or drains bacon on paper towels, that paper towel will be used to light a fire (fireplace or hot-tub stove). Paper plates that were used in the microwave, too.

Finding ways not to be grumpy about dishes is a good model and practice field for other choices in life. We use melamine plates most of the time. The heavy, breakable plates only come out occasionally. Four of the melamine plates fit in the same space as one of the "real" dinner plates. They're lighter and they stack.

We get our dishes from thrift stores, mostly. If one of them bugs me, it can go back to the thrift store.

Sometimes when a mom is really frustrated with doing the dishes, it can help to get rid of dishes with bad memories and connections, or put them in storage for a while. Happy, fun dishes with pleasant associations are easier to wash.

Sandra

Deb Lewis expanded on that last idea:
Some of our dishes came from junk stores and flea markets, handmade pottery, old and funky. Some I made. Some my dad bought for me the last year he was sick. He wanted to thank me for getting him to radiation therapy and he did it with pretty Franciscan Ware.

I like washing those. I think about where they came from or when I made them. I think about what we were doing when we found them. A couple pieces we bought in a junk store in Palmer, Alaska the winter I was pregnant with Dylan. I have a bowl and pitcher from the Renaissance Fair in Anchorage. I think about my dad and how he used to start telling a funny story and laugh so hard he couldn't finish it.

I sometimes wash just what we'll need. If I'm going to work I make sure whoever's home will have what they need, clean and ready. I use paper plates during really busy times. I don't like the waste of disposable stuff and I don't believe the peace and love in my family will magically make up for too much garbage so mostly I wash the dishes we have, glad to have them, glad to have hot water enough to spend on getting pretty dishes clean.

Get a dishwasher. If you could buy happiness for a couple hundred dollars, a dishwasher might be it. You have a place to stash dirty dishes to get them out of your way (I use my oven) and you have a button to push when you want the dishes clean. Do that instead of feeling resentful or being tired. My dream is to someday have a dishwasher.

We lived in Knik, Alaska. We had no plumbing. I heated water on the wood stove. It was a big deal to get a pile of dishes clean. I think of that now when I'm facing a stack of dishes. I can turn a knob and have hot water, pull a plug and let the water out the drain. It's so dang fancy!

Deb Lewis

You Can Even Eat the Dishes

Hand-held foods:

  • sandwich
  • quesadilla (cheese melted between tortillas)
  • bell peppers
  • baked potato
  • mushrooms
  • zucchini
  • cantaloupe
  • celery
  • cabbage leaves (cabbage rolls)
  • bread bowls
  • naan
  • hot dog buns
  • corn tortillas / corn chips
  • pastry crust (like for spanakopita, or pie)
  • eggrolls
  • springrolls
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • kabobs
  • popsicle
  • corn dog
  • pita bread
  • Eggo waffle
  • blintzes
  • blinis
  • crepes
  • crackers
  • ice cream cone
  • cookies to make ice cream sandwiches
  • deviled eggs
  • pizza
  • Chinese dumplings
  • sushi
  • pasties/meat pies
  • quiche
  • tarts
  • avocado (put fresh pico de gallo in the pit pocket and eat with chips)
  • chocolate covered cherries
  • chocolate covered strawberries (on sticks)
  • roasted chicken
  • bread bowl (with soup or dip)
  • little sausages on pretzel sticks
  • lettuce leaf with food rolled up in it
  • Tacos / taco salad
  • Pot pies -- make them in muffin tins and they become finger foods
  • Nori rolls
  • Collard green wraps
  • monkey platter [MANY ideas here]

thanks to Deb Lewis, Katherine Anderson, Joyce Fetteroll, Jenny Cyphers, Alex Polikowsky and kiabrice for most of these ideas

Mentioned in that discussion; needs explanation:

Cucumber boat:

I read several people's directions to report on this. Scrape out some of a half a cucumber. Maybe cut the bottom flat so it will stay, maybe not. Maybe cut it in sections, maybe not. Put some other food inside it.

The prettiest pictures had copyrights noted, but if you follow this link you should get to see lots of pictures of variants on that. cucumber boat images (I hope)

Lisa W. wrote:

We make zucchini boats—carve a trough down the middle, fill with misc. veggies, mushrooms, cheese, spices, bake till tender. YUM—this takes the big zucchinis from a garden. Most of the ones at the store are too small in diameter.

Ants on a log:

Celery, cut in short sections, filled with peanut butter, with raisins stuck on. If you're worried about peanut butter, try cream cheese. If you live where neither one is available, use something soft that kids like.


Eggo waffle:

Frozen waffles to be heated in the toaster. images here


Monkey Platters (many people eat from one dish!) Unschooling in Peace Chores