Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Suburban Dictionary, Entry 1: Dishwasher

dishwasher -noun

A machine for washing dishes automatically.

Not from the German geschirrsp├╝lmaschine, but I do like telling people I know the German word for dishwasher, and if you try saying it, gesheershpoolmachiner, you'll see how much fun it is too.

Now from what I have gathered having spent a day playing with this machiner, is that if you feed it powdered soap and dishes, it returns you very hot very clean dishes. This seems a spectacular invention as washing dishes using one's hands involves a) work, b) time, and c) chapped hands. Also, for example, if one were to ask one's devoted partner to wash the dishes by hand, there is an excellent chance that said dishes would not be returned to the shelves in optimum cleanness. However, with the use of this machine, one's devoted partner need only not break the dishes as they are "loaded" into the machine.

Caveat: apparently, this machine is not friendly to one's expensive pots, nor large enough for one's sheet pans; however, the internets tell me I can clean my sex toys in it - having, they warn, removed the batteries first. So, good to know.

It seems that many people outside of an urban environment have these handy little machines in their kitchens. I have heard, from time to time, of an urban dweller managing to get his hands on one as well, but at what price? The urban dweller must disguise himself as a suburbanite when entering the appliance store or the salesperson will not sell him a dishwasher. It is a well known fact that these magic machines are intentionally kept from urbanites for fear that they would be able to slowly interpolate all the perks of suburban life into their urban existences thereby leading suburban value to drop rapidly. Complicit in this conspiracy are New York City landlords who consider dishwasher ownership and installation cause for eviction and lawsuit. The average landlord would sooner allow a tenant to breed English Mastiffs in an apartment than install a dishwasher. So those brave souls who have managed to smuggle dishwashers into their apartments should be feared and worshiped; they have powers I personally would not want to fall afoul of.

My delight in this nifty gadget was such that I spent all day yesterday washing things. I rationalized that the dishes hadn't been so clean before I packed them, and that I packed them in newspaper rendering them still less clean. Certainly after spending all that time inexpertly papering my shelves with trompe l'oeil marble shelf paper, it was necessary to make sure the plates etc. that were shelved were in pristine condition.

Now, the machine does seem to take a while, mostly on the drying part of the process. It soaps and rinses the dishes in about 6 minutes or so, and then spends the next hour drying them. The drying process does nothing to cool the dishes meaning that unless you possess super calluses or don't much care how many items you drop on the floor, the dishes are too hot to handle once the drying process is over, so you open the door and let them cool for 10 or so minutes. So let's say, for argument's sake, that the whole soup to nuts process, including loading and unloading, takes about 1:30. The dishwasher is not capable of handling all of one's dishes in one go, especially if one, for inexplicable reasons, owns, say, 20 espresso saucers. This makes me wonder about the dishwasher's efficacy in the face of a dinner party for eight, but I guess one loads the appetizer and hors d'oeuvres dishes as soon as they're cleared and hopes the cycle will be complete by the time the meal is over and the dinner and dessert plates need washing.

All in all, this seems to be a handy tool for those too lazy to wash dishes in a timely fashion; and in this devoted partner and I are both implicated. I will soon be able to test the dinner dishes theory as devoted partner suggested that in the next two weeks we have my mother-in-law and father-in-law for dinner on separate nights...

1 comment:

  1. Hm. I'm getting ready to install a 300-pound cast iron and porcelain sink salvaged from the basement of an old house, thus ushering my kitchen into the 1930's. I will have to investigate this "horseless dishwasher" of which you write.