Lavos los Platos. War and Then Peace on Dishes.

We created a new home rule that no dishes could be left in the sink overnight.  I confess I have always liked doing the dishes.

I am calculating in my head if for more of my life I have had a dishwasher or lacked the modern convenience. Besides the home I grew up in, there was the place on Megan Drive that I shared with K that had a dishwasher. The apartment on Ashley had one too. But for the last eight years I have been making suds and scrubbing grease off plates.

There is a reason why they call it doing the dishes. It’s like doing time. Just run a quick search of “do the dishes” memes. “Why does cooking take like six hours, eating like three seconds, and the dishes seven days and seven nights!” Even “lavos los platos” retrieves some good finds.

Most people probably would eat off a paper plate rather than have to wash dishes, but doing dishes has been therapeutic lately.

Because I have been on a cooking kick, the dish doing has been a part of my nightly ritual before bedtime. We have had a cockroach problem, hence the new no dish rule as one tactic on the war on bugs. The clean-sink hygiene has drastically improved the situation by eliminating the water source for the night creepers.

My favorite part is drying. Maybe I was the dryer as a kid, helping my mom. But we had a dishwasher then. So no. It’s the motion. The labor wiping and rubbing everything clean. Doing the dishes is relaxing.

A Florida State University study, as reported in Time magazine, found that those who washed dishes mindfully, “upped their feelings of inspiration by 25% and lowered their nervousness levels by 27%.”

To mindfully wash the dishes means being focused on the water temperature, sensing the fluidity of water or bubbles, the smell of soap, and the texture and shape of dishes.

Mundane activities can promote wellbeing.  

For me the peace comes in completion. A full circle. The cycle of cutting vegetables and prepping, mixing spices and oils in bowls, sauteeing in pans, plating dishes, running water, making bubbles, scrubbing, drying off, and the act of placing away completes the last step. It’s the part of the day when I have total control of the process, almost with no interruptions (because who wants to do the dishes, aka my husband has deserted the area), and the end result of a spic and span kitchen is so gratifying. Does emptying the dishwasher feel the same?

This nightly ritual has been sticking.

“Last call for dishes!”


But sometimes I cheat. We eat cookies off the sheet pan, and I stick it back in the oven.


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