Cure My Cooking Problem! Dirty Dishes Get in the Way of Weeknight Cooking

The Cooking Cure Spring 2014

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How's your Cooking Cure going this week? Are you cooking dinner each night? Is there any way we can help you or answer a question? Here's a challenge from Melabell — it can be hard to keep up with the nightly routine of cooking when there are still dirty dishes from yesterday. Sure, it's easy to say: "Just clean them as you go!" but sometimes this is just one thing too many, when you've already devoted the time to making a home-cooked dinner. What are your best tips for working around dirty dishes, or getting them clean quickly?

Here's Melabell's challenge:

For me, it's that my husband doesn't chip in to clean up after I've cooked. I hate to ask, because he does work more than I do. While we both have full-time jobs, when I am home, work hardly comes with me. When he's home, he's grading papers, lesson planning, researching new lessons etc.. (he's a high school science teacher). I get home around 6:15pm if I don't go to the gym after work (otherwise it's more like 7:30).

Then I do all the cooking... and there's always a good handful of dishes to clean up. For the most part, I can usually get them all done. But our kitchen sink lacks a garbage disposal and we don't own a dishwasher so I just clean enough to fill the drying rack and whatever's left, will get done later. And later is hardly ever the same night. Then, the next day I want to do dinner, I am adding to the pile. Hubby doesn't chip in... although once in a while he will wash his own dish.

On the one hand, I hesitate to suggest a split division of dishwashing, since perhaps Melabell and her husband split up chores another way. And it can be hard to keep up with dishes — it's the constant challenge in my own kitchen! It's tough to want to cook when there is a pile of dishes or pans there already.

I like to rinse the plates at least, and stack them, so they feel managed and off to the side. Here are a few other ideas from our archives.

Any other advice for Melabell?

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(Image credits: The Kitchn; Faith Durand)

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