Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

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Who Wants to Not Help With The Dishes

April 21st, 2010 · 7 Comments

Guest Blog Post ~ David Bakke

David Bakke

Today I want to re-introduce you to David Bakke; he is the author of Your Finances 101 blog, where he writes about Saving More, Spending Less, and Generating Extra Cash in Your Life.  In David’s guest blog post today he guides us through the typical house dinner party, some of the trials and tribulations, and what it means to clean up, before, during and after. This is David’s second guest post on CCR, his first was a post on Frugal Shopping, on March 3, 2010.

Who Wants to NOT Help With the Dishes?

By David Bakke

So, the big family dinner has just finished, or the big meal at the dinner party you’re attending.  You’re amongst friends (or family) yet the nervous glances around the room begin.   Everyone has that horrible feeling in the pit of their stomach.  They know it’s all coming…and they cannot run, and they cannot hide.  It’s those words we all hate to hear out of the host/hostess’ mouth…

Who wants to help with the dishes?

Well, I bet you would all love to attend the dinner parties thrown at my house.  Because, after the eating is done, rather than throwing out this awful question, I usually break everyone up with the following…

Who wants to NOT help out with the dishes?

You see, buy utilizing some simple concepts and a little common sense; you can cut down your after-dinner dishwashing to virtually nothing.  You can reduce it to a little more than a quick rinse of a few plates and popping them into the dishwasher.

I’ve always thought that I had a Food Network show floating around with this concept, but for now, we’ll start off with an article here.

One of my real passions is food.  I love to cook, and I love to eat an incredibly well-prepared homemade meal.  Most of this passion came from my work in corporate restaurant management, where I spent the better part of twenty years.  Moreover, most of that time was spent running kitchens.

Three things I learned in that time.  In order to run a successful kitchen, you have to be organized, you have to be clean, and you have to know the fastest way possible to get everything done.

Well, these habits never left me when I left the restaurant business.  I still use this love of what I learned then in my own kitchen today.

One thing that always has surprised me about these parties/gatherings is the incredible pile of dirty dishes that are left in the sink after a meal’s preparation.  It is like a monkey hanging on your back.  Not only did somebody bust their behind preparing some great food, they have this mess to look forward to.  What drudgery! What a downer to the whole meal!  And, if there’s a party going on, who’s the one that gets punished?  Who gets sent to the kitchen to clean up the mess?

In my kitchen, it’s nobody. I didn’t have to entertain for too many groups of people (or even simply prepare a large family meal) before I realized that this system is for the birds.  I quickly asked myself the question:  “Why can’t this stuff be cleaned up as you are preparing the meal?” And it wasn’t too long before I came up with the answer.  And the answer is a resounding “It can”.

Let me make a few brief points about the whole thing.

  • While you are preparing your meal, not everything is finished cooking at the same time.  Therefore, cleaning this stuff up as you go is much more doable than you might think.  Moreover, much more desirable than having pan after pan pile up in the sink.
  • All pots, pans, and dishes clean up much more quickly and easily when  hot, rather than when whatever food is on it has had time to dry and affix itself like super glue to the surface.
  • Water does wonders.  For anything that is empty and has come off the stove or out of the oven, if you cannot get to it at once, get some water in it.  This saves an incredible amount of time.

Having said that, this is how I do it.  As the dishes are prepared and finished, as I said, they don’t finish all at the same time.  Therefore, I either move the entire recipe into the dish it is being served in, or fill up my serving dish and get the rest into a leftover container.  Then, the pan goes right into the sink, where it is watered, scrubbed (very easily I might add), dried off and returned to its storage place.

Anyone who cooks at all knows that there is a certain amount of down time while you are preparing your food.  Utilize this down time to do this cleaning.  This process ensures you spend no “extra” time in the kitchen; it just eliminates all the post-meal clean up.

You will have to make good use of hot pads and towels and so forth because this stuff is hot when it comes out of the oven or off the stove.  Use your head so you don’t get burned.

Before you dismiss this idea as too much work or not being doable, simply imagine sitting down to an excellent meal that you just prepared.  Imagine right afterwards when you clear the table that you have nothing, and I mean nothing extra to clean besides the dishes that were eaten off of.

You can simply pop these into the dishwasher and be back at the party in minutes.  In addition, you won’t have to ask volunteers to help.  Trust me, your friends and family will love this.

Love my idea?  Hate it?  Let me know below.  In addition, thanks Ryan for the opportunity…

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Tags: Commentary · Guest Blog Post

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hugging the CoastNo Gravatar // Apr 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I really love this idea!

    Very efficient and it allows you much more quality time with your guests too.

  • 2 Gera @ SweetsFoodsBlogNo Gravatar // Apr 21, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Agree avoiding the stack before is too big is a way to reduce the time and work… also interesting other concepts David and Ryan, thanks!

    All the best,

    Gera

  • 3 BethNo Gravatar // Apr 21, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    I love it – cooking and cleaning as you go really helps – great article.

  • 4 David/yourfinances101No Gravatar // Apr 22, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Ryan,

    As always–thanks for the opportunity!

  • 5 JessieNo Gravatar // Apr 22, 2010 at 10:05 am

    excellent article! I definitely clean as I go, I love knowing that the sink is empty and the dishes are clean. It’s saves so much stress that way.

  • 6 RubyNo Gravatar // Apr 22, 2010 at 11:42 am

    This is what my grandmother taught me – clean as you go – and it is one thing that fortunately stuck. I’ve added another dimension – I get out all the ingredients I will need for the meal in advance and then put them away as I use them. That way, when I’m done there’s nothing left to put away, and I know I haven’t forgotten anything!

  • 7 Al | DinnerwareNo Gravatar // Apr 25, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Some useful tips in your article about more efficient clean-ups.

    I’m perhaps in the minority, when every now and then, I would gladly do all the dishes, in exchange for someone else doing 100% of the cooking work…..just for a change of pace!