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01 November 2017

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Christy P.

I have been thinking about this more. In our, smaller than yours, household we tend to run the dishwasher once a day, and it includes all of the dishes from breakfast for 4, lunch for 1 adult, containers from 2 kid lunchboxes, container from 1 adult lunchbox, dinner dishes, and assorted drinking and food prep items. If we use both dinner plates and side plates at dinner then generally something has to wait or be handwashed. Our dishwasher is on its last legs, and I will continue to consider how this one device informs many other choices (dinner plates don't fit on top). Also, Erin has been in my kitchen and can confirm another design element that complicates things -- the cabinets are high! Only 1 of my children is big enough to reach a cup or plate on the first level without a stool. Erin can't reach the adult glasses in my kitchen! So having kids do things like put away dishes is only going to become easier in time. As a former engineer, I still like to think about systematic solutions to everyday challenges.

bearing

I can definitely see how, if you could very nearly get by entirely with running the dishwasher once per day, the knowledge that a few more dishes would not fit would exert a subtle mental pressure that might nudge you towards certain meal choices and away from others.

We're really far from running the dishwasher once per day. I should count. I think it's about 3x/day.

The dishwasher is a very troubling appliance. Not only is it annoying when it is done and you have to put clean dishes away, but there's a constant niggling feeling that it is not being used as efficiently as it ought be used. Should I run it after lunch so it is empty to receive the dinner dishes? Should I wait to run it till it is absolutely full, even if it fills up after 10% of the dinner dishes are put in it and that means that dinner dishes have to wait in the sink? If the dishwasher uses less water than handwashing (mine does) should I never handwash any dishes that could go in the dishwasher? Do the answers change if the food on the dishes will dry and become too sticky to come off in the dishwasher?

Dishwashers are made to be overthunk.

Christy P.

I frequently use ramekins to serve things like baked beans that don't stay in their own zone otherwise.

bearing

I love ramekins. If I had more drawer space I would have twice as many, I think.

mandamum

We need to make the transition from 1x/day to 2x/day, but my dishwashers aren't picking up on the habit.... They are all suspicious that dishwashing after lunch is just Mom trying to make them do extra chores, and they disapprove of running it less than full, even when I try to provide incentive by insisting all extra get handwashed..... It's a habit for the new season, I think - it has been exacerbated by our new house's new (poorer) dishwasher, but it was coming anyway, and people are only going to get bigger and use more dishes.

I would like to try the change-of-dish thing. My dinners are ridiculous - we're still moving in, almost, after 2.5mo, and trying to settle into my cupboards and freezers (the chest one died - twice! - before I got a chance to fill it, so it never got into the round of available space. Once a socket died, and then after we moved it outside, something chewed the cord off). And I have to cook something separate most days for my husband who is mostly starch-free while also dairy and wheat free. So often dinners are sort of thrown at the (starving) diners, and by the time one set sits down to eat, the lucky set whose food was ready first has already eaten to stave off low blood sugar issues. But to fix it seems to require I make it my #1 (ie only) priority for the whole day.... and I'm supposedly homeschooling a whole crew including my first freshman in high school (which means I want to pay attention to her getting what she needs, and she has a lot more work this year, but it's nothing like routine yet).

I wonder how much of our approach is formed by our (vocational) education - I considered engineering, but am trained as a pure mathematician, and lots of time I get stuck in the theoretical (and the collect-more-info) part of a problem. "Assume the soup can is open", in the old joke.

Christy P.

Having a couple of 'emergency dinners' which in our house means 'camping food' stashed in the freezer is super helpful. The other day it was Gorgonzola Gnocchi (frozen in a bag from Trader Joe's) mixed with a bag of frozen broccoli florets (also from TJ) because life got in the way. So grateful to have the ability and the freezer space to keep a stash of food. It's humbling to think of the many families without that luxury.

bearing

Oh my goodness yes.

On the subject of cooking separately for a starch-free person: I think the *simplest* way to do this day in and day out is to follow the formula of

Low-Carb Meat And Vegetable Meal + Unlimited Whole-Grain Bread For Everyone Who Eats Bread

It may get boring over the long haul, but then it's less like "cooking separately for the starch free person." Find a reliable paleo or low-carb cookbook and feed everyone else bread on the side. Who doesn't like bread and butter? You can mix it up with baked potatoes or rice or something when life settles down enough to de-simplify, but until then it reduces the number of decisions you have to make considerably.

Jenny

Our dinner plates are so gigantic we use them as serving platters. I wish we didn't have 8 of them. I just measured one and sure enough, they are 10.75 inches. That's standard? Wow.

We usually eat off the salad plates, which are 8.75 inches across. Still, they seem rather big for some things. Pile that plate with rice or pasta and you are probably eating too much.

What we really need more of are the 7 inch plates. We have 10 or 12 of them, but we use them for everything.

We don't have any ramekins, though. That seems a useful item to acquire. We run out of bowls and little plates every day.

mandamum

Ok, yeah that makes sense. I had been trying to do potatoes for the starch-eaters, on the theory they were closer to original state, but I can give myself permission to simplify for now. I will have to check for paleo cookbooks at the library.

Our plates are mostly/all Corelle, and we usually eat off the medium (salad?) plates. They used to fit on the top rack of the dishwasher when needed. When I forget and give the adults big plates, my husband trades back to ensure his food looks reasonable instead of stranded. We do use the big plates for things like big salads, where a large volume of bulk is a reasonable portion. And otherwise, we use them for serving, prep, etc.

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