Single creatures usually live lean, which means no dishwasher other than our bare hands. We are often pitied and sometimes mocked (well, maybe that’s just me and for other reasons). But I have a system for washing dishes by hand, and I want to share it with those of you who are equally appliance challenged.
1. Enter the kitchen only when necessary.
Tip: Eat out often; it creates jobs.
2. Buy lots of flatware; you can never have enough teaspoons. Own at least 10 place settings of dishes, preferably light ones like Corning Ware. Washing dishes is hard work—spare yourself the weight of heavy crockery.
Tip: To avoid stains, use only dark colored coffee mugs; stick to white wine.
3. Buy an industrial sized, heavy duty chrome dish rack, not one of those cute bamboo things. Good chrome will never rust or mold, and it will make you seem like a professional; some visitors may even think you can cook.
Tip: Leave the dish rack on the counter, empty. This will further the illusion that everything is in order and all is right with the world.
4. Rinse your dishes and flatware immediately after use to get rid of the major bacteria, then stack them neatly in the sink. Only amateurs let them “soak.” Identify a small, preordained space on the counter for glasses and cups as they don’t stack well. Pots and pans can go right back on the stove. This way, the kitchen looks neat and clean, albeit busy. It’s good to keep up appearances, especially for yourself. If you drink alcohol, use the same glass over and over; it’s already been sterilized.
Tip: Cooking knives can rust if you leave them in the sink too long. I put them in that preordained space on the counter with the glasses and cups. An added benefit: they’re handy if you need a weapon for intruders—you’ll know where they are, but the intruder won’t.
5. If anyone exclaims on the state of your kitchen, smile and tell them you just had a party. This will shut them up because they obviously weren’t invited.
6. Try not to use the oven. Cleaning ovens is a whole other problem. I haven’t cleaned an oven in 10 years. Remember, you are single! You don’t need a real oven unless you have company and want to make an impression. Then put tinfoil on the bottom of the oven to catch the drips. Remove the tinfoil immediately as the drips can catch on fire; it’s not common, but you don’t want your smoke alarm to start wailing while you’re entertaining that special someone.
Tip: Buy a toaster oven and throw it out when it gets skanky.
7. Purchase scented dish wash detergent from some high-end, frivolous store— scents like peppermint, vanilla bean and French perfume. When you do get around to doing the dishes, it will be a quasi-spa experience.
Tip: Do not buy antibacterial dish wash detergent; you want to build up your immunity.
8. Keep a candle on the stove and light it in the evening for a few hours. It will give the kitchen atmosphere and mask the smell of spoiled food fragments, if any.
Tip: if you are not abnormally fearful of burning done your home, buy tea candles and leave them lit overnight; the stove is metal and the candle will burn out before the building catches fire.
9. When you do get around to washing the dishes, use very hot water. Buy insulated rubber gloves—if you can put your hands in the water, it’s not hot enough. Ignore the smell that emanates from the dishes. Between the hot water, the perfumed dish wash detergent, and your growing immunity, everything will be OK.
Tip: Schedule is also important—if you wash the dishes at night, you will awaken to a bright, new morning.
Another Tip: If you can afford it, hire a cleaning crew to come in every two weeks. If you’re this bad about your dishes, I can only imagine what the rest of your house is like. An added advantage is that shame will force you to wash the dishes the night before the cleaners are scheduled.
10. Keep a prescription medication called Zofran handy for nausea; it’s what patients use when undergoing chemotherapy, and I promise, you will never vomit again.