Tuesday, February 5, 2013
How to Wash Dishes
If you are a young girl living in the country in 1930-something under the stern and watchful eye of your grandmother, you must know how to wash the dishes.
First the water must be fetched from the pump. Three pans of it.
Then it must be heated on the wood stove.
Then the three pans of water, lined up, side by side.
One pan for washing. One pan for the first rinse. Another pan for the second rinse.
Your grandmother is very particular.
You must wash the dishes her way.
Every evening after our dinner and the story telling is finished, my mother insists on doing the dishes. She stacks our plates and clears the table. She rinses the dishes and loads them into the dishwasher. She washes the pots and pans. I am allowed to put away the leftovers. I am allowed to wash the crystal wine glasses--because she is afraid she might break them.
Seventy-five years after her grandmother's kitchen, there are still rules about washing the dishes.