Proper Utensils; Pots and Pans

You can use a shoehorn for dishing out the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, but a spoon is recommended for gravies, soups and sauces.  Do not drink the wine straight from the bottle unless enough straws have been provided for everyone at the table.

Paper plates, wooden salad bowls, and Tupperware are not recommended for the stove top or the oven. At the risk of having to call the fire department, those of you who will not give in to my wisdom are hereby free to conduct your own experiments.

Ceramic, Pyrex, and cast-iron can often be used in the oven or on the top burners.  Stainless steel pots and pans with plastic handles should not be used in an oven unless you want your food to smell funny.

Although socially accepted at some outdoor events, plastic spoons, forks and knives seldom offer any utilitarian advantage over fingers.  Neither should be used for extracting anything from hot grease, or from rotisseries over an open flame.  Traditional blacksmith tools are much better for such tasks.

Avoid drinking soups and other liquids directly from the containers they were cooked in unless adequate cooling time has been allowed, even when wearing gloves.  Awkward expletives might cause the usually pleasant slurping sounds to be undesirably altered.

The Cleanup:

Dawgs ‘n cats are often willing to help with this process: simply place the soiled items (except the Teflon coated ones)  within their reach.  This will do nicely to reduce the expensive use of scouring pads and harsh chemicals.

The next phase should involve the kitchen sink (or the shower stall if you don’t have a sink–the handle of a skillet serves nicely as a fake microphone if you like to sing in the shower).  Several commercially available products do well to make the hot water foam up giving the appearance that you are cleaning something.

Use the kinds that are gentle on your hands–the price premium is negligible when compared to the cost of going to the emergency room.  Caution: just because it foams, do not presume it is a good soap or detergent. For example, scooping the head from a tankard of ale will not improve the final finish of fine glassware and crystal.

Many modern homes are equipped with a dishwasher. This appliance resulted from the collective research at several laboratories found in The Department of Redundancy Department at some of our finer universities.  Always hand-wash all utensils; pots, pans, dishes and silverware BEFORE placing them in the dishwasher.  If you fail to do this, you will face that task as soon as the dish washer completes its final cycle.

Not all paper plates are dishwasher safe. But even if they are, care should be taken to let them completely dry before removal.  The integrity of their shape should be addressed while they are still wet.  Paper napkins do not hold up well in the dishwasher.

Sammich bags are inexpensive, and you should consider replacing them after every third or fourth washing: paper towels after two.

Every efficient home economist knows that you can always throw in a double-handful of socks and underwear before turning on the dishwasher in order to save time and money on laundry day.

Always unplug electric skillets before placing them in the dishwasher. 

Thawing out a turkey in the dishwasher is not recommended.

Please keep all of these things in mind when dining out without your billfold.  You would not want the other employees and under-funded customers in the dish-room to think you uncouth.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mickey on December 18, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I have always thawed and cooked my Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys in the dishwasher, however, I do have to remove the top rack, and after, trial and error, discovered it best to not use the dry cycle,during the thawing process, unless one wants an extra crispy skin. I use a homemade marinade that I put in the soap container. After the turkey has thawed I use an extra rinse, then I fast forward to the dry cycle and hold it in place with duct tape for three and one half hours while my turkey cooks. The clean-up is quite simple, simply use a dishwasher safe detergent that has a cup of a commercial grade grease cutter included. So yes – the dishwasher is a very versatile appliance – one can even bake doughnuts with very small holes…


  2. Posted by little d on December 18, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Great tips Van, in addition I will submit another that you may have forgotten, or chosen to exclude…..

    What should one do if they somehow miss their in-laws during the Holiday Festivities ? Reload and fire again !!!


  3. Posted by C. Mack on December 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    I have discovered a great way to save valuable time AND get a few things accomplished, all in one fell swoop – particularly helpful at this time of year. I put a plastic sheet down over the back seat of the car. Then I put all my frozen meats (including the Xmas turkey) on the sheet, spaced out evenly with the turkey in the middle.

    Then I make the approximate one hour drive to Asheville. While there I do some shopping, take in a coffee bar and brew pub or two, participate in a drum circle then make the drive back to Sparkle City.

    Voila! The meat is then ready for the fridge or for roasting right away.

    Happy Holidays!


  4. Posted by Bonnie on December 20, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    This is absolutely fabulous advice dear brother!! You are sooooo smart!! 🙂 Love ya!


  5. Posted by Teri Salane on December 31, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    John once made a big show in front of his 12 yr old granddaughter of putting a dog-licked dinner plate in the cabinet “All clean and ready for breakfast!”


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