Monday, November 30, 2015
First Word: Suzanne Adam: Dishrag
Damp, dishwater gray, smelling of old food. I don’t want to touch it. I’m a house guest in a friend’s kitchen. On the whole, my friends are clean and neat people, but then “clean” and “neat” are relative concepts along a continuum of housekeeping habits. I follow my mother’s customs: one dishrag for washing the dishes (we have no automatic dishwasher) another for wiping up: spilled water on counters, grease spatters on the stove and mysterious spots on the floor. (How did that get there?)
In the category of kitchen towels, again there is an ample span of customs. Mine, also inherited, are to have on hand a thick one for drying hands and a light weight cotton one for drying the dishes. Whenever I enter the “Sur Le Table” kitchen store, I take my time choosing among the richly-patterned dish towels. In others’ kitchens, towels appear to be multi-purpose, whichever is handy, even if encrusted with previous meals. When my sisters-in-law come into my kitchen to help clean up, I point the respective towels sand their uses. But when one grabs the wrong towel, I let it pass. I’m smart enough not to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Wastebaskets and garbage cans came up in the conversation yesterday. Hubby informed me that our kitchen garbage can is ridiculously small. He compared it to one in the house of my friend we recently visited. Then he proceeded to find fault with the bathroom wastebaskets. I consider them homey, rustic baskets – no metal or plastic. “You can see everything in them. There are so many better ones out there.” Did he have in mind wastebaskets he’d seen at the multimillion dollar house whose construction he’s been supervising?
I just shrugged my shoulders in surprise. News to me. I admit I’m particular about dishrags and towels but my standards for garbage cans and wastebaskets are less demanding.
The trouble is that I now I see the ones in our house in a different, more critical light. I shall be noticing bathroom wastebaskets in other’s homes to settle these newly-planted doubts.