Tag Archives: kids in the kitchen

The Great Dishwasher Debate: To Rinse or Not to Rinse

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook does not shy away from the controversial debates of the kitchen. Unless they are with her mom, at which point she picks the fight while safely located 3000 miles away. Today’s topic: is it better to rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, or can you just stack ‘em and rack ‘em?

Pony Plates from Anthropologie: Perfectly clean after using my method of scrape not rinse.

Pony Plates from Anthropologie: Perfectly clean after using my method of scrape not rinse.

I stand firmly in the scrape but don’t rinse category, and here’s why:

1. Its called a dishwasher. If it’s not doing the job, I am, and I’m going to fire it.

My Less Cute, but Practical, Dishwasher

My Less Cute, but Practical, Dishwasher

2. The Practical Cooks Junior can scrape but not rinse. I am called the “practical” cook for a reason.

My Staff is only so tall!

My Staff is only so tall!

3. 90% + of the dishes come out clean every time. I’m willing to play those odds for saved labor.

4. Research indicates modern dishwashers do a better job if the dishes go in slightly dirty. Fine, it’s probably research by the Palmolive Corp, but I’m standing by it.

5. Saves time in answering “are these clean or not.”

Are these clean or dirty? Secret footage taken just before I exited, stage left even.

Are these clean or dirty? Secret footage taken just before I exited, stage left even.

So there you have it. The gauntlet is tossed. Are you a pre-cleaner or a let it fly sort of dishwasher? Post a comment below, let the games begin. (And here’s hoping TPC’s Mom doesn’t change the locks on my house before I get back.)

Remember, The Practical Cook accepts culinary challenges, send yours today to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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On Friday, The Week of Salads. (It’s not just food for rabbits.)

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3 Things I Love (in the Kitchen)

Gentle Readers, Valentine’s Day has never been a favorite occasion. There’s a narrow selection of foods that are highlighted, and I am over the roses thing. However, The Practical Cooks Junior are huge fans, from the ritual dipping of strawberries in chocolate to the crafting of homemade cards. There are hearts and glitter on every surface in my home. And not all of it is mine.

Glitteriffic X and O Valentine's Cupcakes!

Glitteriffic X and O Valentine's Cupcakes!

If you can’t beat them, join them. I am celebrating their joy of the day this year. I may not have a school mailbox in which I’ll receive a card from every classmate, but I can share some love.

Sliced Strawberries on Almond Buckwheat Pancakes

Sliced Strawberries on Almond Buckwheat Pancakes

Here are 3 Things I Love in the Kitchen:

1. Help. The Eldest Practical Cook Junior can set herself up for breakfast now, and does so without complaining. Both of them clear their dishes, and The Youngest presents herself repeatedly with a “Mama, what can I do?” This is truly a gift.

The Youngest Practical Cook Junior Hard at Work: Because Green Beans Don't String Themselves

The Youngest Practical Cook Junior Hard at Work: Because Green Beans Don't String Themselves

2. Fearlessness. What is better than the joy of discovery? I know not everyone likes to cook without some guidelines, but I love the freedom of pairing things and seeing what happens. Yes, there have been some colossal failures. But there are wins, too. This same drive led me to try Beet Root Halwah this past weekend. And the Juniors and I are pondering Pancake Croutons for a salad we’re testing. Why not?

Beet Root Halwah from Udipi Cafe in Cary, NC

Beet Root Halwah from Udipi Cafe in Cary, NC

3. Generosity. Food is better when you share it. Cook for someone you love. Never do I feel more proud than when the Juniors ask before finishing something, even if it’s an irresistible treat. And, of course, thinking of people who don’t have as much. If you’re not much of a Valentine’s fan, perhaps you could redirect the energy to a worth cause, like fighting hunger. I’m an advocate and ambassador for The Food Bank of Eastern and Central North Carolina. Show your food love this season: volunteer or donate to them or to your local food pantry.

Strawberry Taking a Chocolate Dip

Strawberry Taking a Chocolate Dip

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? If you’re at home without a reservation, that gives you extra time to post a comment below!

Challenges, thoughts, good ideas? Email me at practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, Can this chocolate be saved? How not to have a seizure when your chocolate does.

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Kitchen Tool Talk: Three (More) of My Favorite Things, Dishwashing Edition

Gentle Readers, as I pondered what I would miss most while on the road, I settled on the obvious: my dishwashers. All three of them.

My Favorite Dishwashers

My Favorite Dishwashers

As you can guess from the site graphics, I grew up in the kitchen, and one of my first jobs was washing and drying the dishes for my granny. She was particular about it, and forced me to slow down and do it right. I couldn’t be more grateful for that lesson these days.

My Less Cute, but Practical, Dishwasher

My Less Cute, but Practical, Dishwasher

But as modern times have given us new tools, The Practical Cooks Junior don’t wash as many dishes these days, but they do dry and put their dirtys in the dishwasher, and they can put away the silverware faster than Rocky. I’m proud of them for learning how to take care of themselves. It is never too early to involve the young people in your life into the rhythms of the kitchen. It’s a skill they’ll have for a lifetime.

I’m pretty sure granny would approve. So to The Practical Cooks Junior, you are rock stars. It will be all too soon that I come eat in your kitchens.

Did you grow up in the kitchen? Share your story as a comment below.

Send your dishwashers to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, tips from a reader on Long-Range Meal Planning. Seeing is believing, people, tune in.

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