I like cooking and making dinners from scratch. But I also like a clean kitchen. What I don’t like is all the hassle around cooking – dirty dishes and leftovers from peeling, etc. I really hate washing the dishes, especially pots and large bowls or oven molds.
So until I can get a dishwasher – I have to learn tricks to minimize the need for washing. I can’t always leave everything to my partner – it would be unfair. Also often we arrive really late at night so I need to fix something quick and easy dinner with no hassle.
Can I cook – without dirty dishes?
Wouldn’t it be amazing? Cooking without dirty dishes and having a clean kitchen. Sadly our technology hasn’t evolved that far yet. So until then, we have to get by otherwise. So my first tip is to minimize the amount the dishes I use. Most cooking shows and cooking books recommend slicing/mincing ingredients to separate bowls – in my mind this is just creating extra dishes. So depending on the amounts of ingredients I either chop or leave everything on the cutting board. If this isn’t the option I combine similar products (which are to add at the same time) together.
I also think through the meal and the parts which need cooking. Too often is recommended that you use a frying pan, pot, and several other dishes – sometimes even that you would use a different frying pan to fry different ingredients. Maybe it benefits, but I don’t get it. And I think frying/boiling/stewing all ingredients together will give more flavor to the meal. And fewer dishes to clean.
Do you remember when you were a child and your mom told you to clean or wash things right away because it’s easier this way? Did we listen? Not me, but damn it’s true. If you clean pots-pans and dishes right after they are empty – it takes seconds or a few minutes. Depending on how much you got them. But leave them even for half an hour and you will get a biceps workout.
The best friend in a fight with dirty dishes is a high-pressure tap. It will rinse off everything quickly while it’s fresh so I often need just to wipe with a sponge and rinse. No scrubbing. Quick and easy. I use the hottest water my hands can handle and with extra greasy, I rinse with high-pressure super hot water without using my hands – to get most of it off and then slight sponge and rinse.
Even if you are cooking or prepping something extra greasy – put it under high-pressure hot water and it will be almost clean in seconds. After that, I wipe it with the sponge and rinse it. And done!
But we are humans after all and sometimes we can’t wash things right away. How to make it easier? I use two hacks for that. I put things in the sink and fill them with water – I usually do this when I have to leave home in a hurry. The second hack is used when the dishes have been left on the table and are all tried up. I will place them in the sink and fill with hot water and leave them for a while. After about 15-20 minutes they can be cleaned without any extra scrubbing power.
Why should I use several pots/pans?
Another question I often ask myself while cooking is – why should I use several pots or pans for one dish. Sometimes reading cooking instructions or watching videos I am amazed who the hell cleans their dishes? According to some of them, you need one pan to fry meat, one to fry onions … another pot to heat up the tomato paste and season it. Another pot to boil the pasta? And at one point you should mix meat, onions, and tomato paste together – do I really need to use 4 separate dishes? Or can I use just 2?
Secret hides in little things
Cleaning can be overwhelming and sometimes it can create extreme stress. Same time avoiding cleaning we create another stress factor. The mess. Each people has different levels how much mess they can stand. But no one enjoys the mess. It’s human nature that the more mess, clutter etc we have surrounding us – it causes stress. The bigger the mess – the bigger the stress from even thinking about cleaning.
So the simplest and most effective hack is – do it now. You finished cooking – clean the dishes, clean the stove, clean the counters. Finished eating – clean the dishes. The more you postpone it – the more dishes and dirt there will be. Don’t believe me? Do a test. After eating for example nice creamy pasta – wash the plate right after. But note the time it took you. Next meal – wait for an hour before washing the plate – and note the time it took you then. Which one is quicker and easier?
What are your hacks to ease up kitchen life? Share with me!