Friday, October 12, 2012

Washing Dishes - British and American differences

Here's my second piece on BBC America's Mind the Gap site.

Quite a good conversation going on......


  1. Great article! When we were living with my in laws, I noticed the no rinse thing. I always wanted to rinse everything before using it.

    I can't tell you how many times TE has turned off the water in the kitchen, that I've left running while I'm cleaning and piddling. It is terribly wasteful!

    Happy Friday!!


  2. I use the dishwasher almost exclusively. When I was young though we did it the old fashioned (American) way. Had to rinse those dishes in scalding water to get all the soap off! And no leaving them in the draining rack (do they even sell those anymore?); per my mom they had to be dried and put away immediately.

  3. My mom's Canadian, so I don't know if I count as a 'typical' American, but growing up we always had a dish drainer on the counter with a tray underneath that funneled the water back into the sink. Water isn't left running in our house either - you wash the dishes in a sink full of soapy water and then rinse them in the other sink in batches with the hottest water possible (kills germs and also speeds up the air-drying.) I've never been without a drainer as an adult, either. No tea towels on the counter for us, although I did have a roommate at University who did that and I thought it seemed like a breeding ground for germs. Have to say that not rinsing the soap off the dishes seems pretty unhygienic (not to mention odd-tasting) but I guess it's whatever you get used to. Curious, though: are dishes washed like that (into the hot soapy water and directly into the drainer) in restaurants in the UK? Not a question I ever thought to ask, but in light of this new information, I'm now curious! Of course, so much of it is determined by cultural norms: here in Seoul, our apartment came equipped with not only a dishwasher(rarely used-it's too small) but also a built-in 'sterilizer' unit. The real estate agent told me it was for sterilizing my knives and chopsticks and cutting boards. I'm sure she was shocked and horrified to realize I didn't know what it was (and therefore, clearly had never used one!)

  4. A lot of restaurants have industrial type dishwashers that wash a load in about 25 seconds (no kidding) and steralize everything. I doubt there's much hand-washing goes on. And counter tops etc. have to be stainless steel so the germs don't get caught and can be blasted off.
    Ugh - now I'm having awful flashbacks to my Saturday job in Woolworths. I worked in the restaurant but every so often I'd get sent up to the kitchens and have to load up that blasted industrial dishwasher. Hot, sweaty work and the stuff was scalding when it came out the other side. At least I didn't have clogged pores!


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