Since I’ve been trying to expand my culinary horizons lately, I’ve learned several new things from being in the kitchen more often. I warn you, these are ridiculous. I would guess most of these things aren’t news to anyone, but I’ve been really excited about my discoveries and wanted to share them.
*In a pinch, if you don’t have a wine stopper and the cork won’t fit back into your wine bottle, you can definitely use a rolled-up washcloth to stuff in the top. Credit to Clay for this one. Our champagne stayed bubbly for days, although every time I opened the fridge I just shook my head and laughed and felt like the biggest dork ever. (as you can tell, we’re really not wine connoisseurs.)
*Most important: A dishwasher actually WASHES dishes!!!!! OK, so I don’t know where I got this, but in my entire life I’ve always completely handwashed everything before putting it in the dishwasher. With soap. I would scrub every fork and food-caked plate, and obviously, it took quite awhile. I even wondered, “What is really the point of the dishwasher anyway? I guess maybe because it sterilizes the dishes after I wash them?” I still used it 98% of the time, except for my pots and pans, but never being ones for washing dishes, Clay and I tend to let them pile-up and then do a huge clean all at once when we notice that everything’s getting really gross. I definitely put it off more because it was SUCH a long chore.
Somewhere recently I heard that the dishwasher is actually supposed to clean the food off of your dishes. I thought, “Well, our dishwasher is umpteen years old, so surely ours wouldn’t do a good job of that and I don’t want to waste an entire cycle only for them to come out dirty.” Well, one night I was SO fed-up with the dishes and was too tired to do wash them, so on a whim I thought, “What the heck… let’s give this a whirl. It’s not going to work, though.” And I loaded the dishes in the dishwasher. I didn’t even rinse them. (there weren’t any chunks of food, just dried food and such) It took me about 2 minutes to fill the entire dishwasher and clean my whole sink out. I thought, “If this works, it’ll be too good to be true.” I ran the dishwasher, filled it with more soap than usual, and ran it on the normal cycle instead of the light cycle that I usually used. When it was done, I went to check, and MIRACLE OF ALL MIRACLES!!!!! MY DISHES WERE CLEAN!!!! The food was GONE! It miraculously disappeared! Even all the plates with dried food and my coffee cups with dried coffee on the bottom…. they were sparkling clean! I went into the living room and told Clay, “I have the most wonderful thing to tell you. This is going to change the rest of our lives. It is beyond amazing.” He was doubtful, but then I showed him the clean dishes. And then we said, “Hmm… no wonder the dishwasher is such a popular appliance. This must be why so many people like them. They actually WASH your dishes!!!!” I kinda feel like someone from the 1950’s (or whenever they invented dishwashers) who just can’t believe that technology is going to help her around the house. And now I’m almost excited every time I load the dishwasher with dirty dishes because I can’t wait to see how they come out totally clean with almost ZERO effort on my part! It’s an amazing world we live in, people, this has revolutionized my life.
*The broil function on my oven is totally functional and allows me to make toast. I don’t think I’ve ever made toast in my life unless it was in a toaster or toaster oven. We have neither now, so I haven’t made or had toast in about a year. A few weeks ago we were at a friend’s house and I noticed her making toast in her oven. I thought, “Wow…. could I have been doing this all along? Tonight on a whim I decided to throw some bread in there, and a few minutes later, what do ya know—we had toast! What a wasted toast-less year we’ve had!
*I’ve learned how to sharpen my knives. A few months ago when my mom was here, she was using a knife and commented on how dull it was. I said, “Well yeah, they’re five years old and I don’t know how to sharpen them, so I bet they’re pretty dull.” She showed me how, and it really wasn’t that hard AT ALL, and now I have sharp knives! Obviously, it makes a pretty big difference in my cutting abilities! Five wasted years of dull knives.
*The drawer at the bottom of my oven that holds all my pans will actually come out all the way. This accidental discovery for the first time let me see the floor that was under my oven and all the things that had collected there. I found a couple of lost toys for Evelyne and a marker cap that I specifically remember searching on my hands and knees for about 20 minutes for last year. Instead of trying to snake my vacuum hose under my oven, it’s way easier to just take the dang drawer out!
*I bought a new teapot about a month ago at a garage sale because my old one was pretty gross. I asked the lady if it whistled, and she said it did, which I was pretty excited about because my old one didn’t. When I finally heated it up hot enough to whistle the other day, I was kind of surprised at the sound that came out. It sounded just like a tornado siren! Being from the Midsouth, I’m pretty used to tornados and tornado sirens… so imagine my surprise when I’m making tea one day and I hear from the other room something that sounds like a siren, and my first instinct was, “Danger!!! Tornado!!! Take cover!!! Run to the bathtub!!!” Nope, just my teapot. At least it’ll keep me in touch with the South while I’m out here.