"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."
George Bernard Shaw

Friday, December 17, 2010

How Did People Live Before Dishwashers?

No, seriously. Does anyone know? Because it just took us over two weeks to get all the dishes done from several different large cooking projects. And a lot of that is procrastination and pure laziness. And then a lot of it is that the pile of dishes was SO BIG and took up one whole section of our counters (we have two L's of counter tops...I know we're super lucky) that we were so overwhelmed we didn't know where to start. I wish I had a picture of how many dishes Brian had to wash. (Note: I don't really wish I had a picture. That would be embarrassing.) 

One of my theories on how people lived is that before dishwashers women just sat at home all day and waited on the male species and therefore didn't have anything else to do but the dishes. They were probably so bored that doing the dishes seemed fun. 

My only other theory is that they were so bored with the life of a 50s housewife that they were in some kind of stupor while they did the dishes and didn't even know how boring and time consuming doing dishes by hand actually is. 

One of my first apple pies, and one of the biggest culprits of so many dishes. (this was before I added the Dutch topping) Yes, that is butter melting on top. Amazing. I'm going to go eat a piece right now.
*shrug* I thought it was time to add a photo. 

And I also thought I should look up when dishwashers were actually invented since I was knocking the 50s so badly. 

Turns out, a rich lady in 1886 invented the first one that actually worked decently because she was tired of her servants being slow and chipping her china. My bad. I'll stop ragging on the 50s for the rest of this post, especially since dishwashers actually didn't become really popular UNTIL the 50s. (Another interesting note about this lady--she formed the company that eventually became KitchenAid. I bow down to you, Josephine Garis Cochran, and your amazing inventions.)

Also, Granny, I know that Mom reads you all my posts (which I think is the coolest thing ever), and that you think everything went downhill after World War 2. I hope you'll forgive my modern, feminist perspectives on life and washing dishes. 

So anyways, not having a dishwasher is really hard because I cook a lot, and I cook so much from scratch. When you cook "from scratch" you use a whole lot more mixing bowls and measuring cups and spoons, etc. And Brian is so wonderful because he does so many dishes. And so many more dishes than I do! I'm going to make him a cherry pie in appreciation of his help around the house. And, in the process I will create a ton of dishes that need to be washed. And he will probably end up washing them. It's a vicious cycle, people, of delicious food and household chores.

But let me tell you: the day that we finally have one of these again

I will be SO HAPPY. And I'll speak for Brian here as well here and let you know that he's going to be ECSTATIC!!!!! 


  1. Ohhh my goodness, this post is right up my ally!

    Before I was employed and we lived in our apartment, I did all the dishes. Now, let me give you an image of our apartment kitchen (note: we signed the lease with only having seen a few pictures on craigslist, as we were moving directly from Ohio). Imagine a nice, large room containing only a fridge and a stove. Now imagine a small, closet space, where clearly a door was attached in days gone by, with cupboards and a 1970s laminate fake wood looking counter top. And then imagine squeezing a sink in this closet like space. THAT was my kitchen.

    Kyle was a dear and did all the dishes by hand once I started working, as I did the cooking, but it would take him 45 minutes usually to get through all of them. So when we bought our house, a dishwasher was a requirement (and yes, there were quite a few here in lovely old New England without them!).

    We giggled with delight so much the first night we used our dishwasher (also! a garbage disposal! what wonders of the 21st century!). Our dishes still pile up, but now it's not such a big deal. I'm totally with you - I will never underestimate the impact of a dishwasher ever again. Now Kyle has that 45 minutes free and it is marvelous!

  2. Lol Rosie!! I forgot about having a disposal!!!! Isn't it funny how our priorities change once we go without a "modern conveniences"? I can't wait to have a disposal again too!! I'm also so happy to hear that if you cook he cleans! (but does it ever make you feel guilty using so many dishes to cook?!) :)

  3. Yes! Sometimes I try to use smaller bowls or just reuse the same bowl, but it slows down my cooking a lot. Wouldn't it be lovely if we all just had beautiful glass bowls with perfectly measured ingredients that would just magically clean themselves just like on those cooking shows?


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