Thursday, 15 November 2012

Soaking is for Calgon

The husband is teaching the au pair, or the au pair is teaching the husband.

Either way, they need to be taken back to school.

Yesterday I came home to find four school drink bottles filled with clear liquid and the lids set beside.
Soaking containers of watery liquid to clean watery juice from the container? Nonsense. Just wash, dry, and put away the bloody things!

For why does a drinking bottle need to soak? I understand if there was four-day old milk in the container, but this is not the case. There is only one reason for soaking an otherwise cleanable item and that is laziness.
Further to my point, why then are the lids not cleaned and put away? or more importantly for the soaker, why are they not soaking as well? The lid is equally exposed to the contents of the bottle, which I presume is the 'reason' for the soaking in the first place.

If I soak anything, it is going to be all 618 pounds of my tired flesh. And, I will be calling for Calgon to take me away.

Any chef worth the salt in their boiling pot knows pots, pans, cups--EVERYTHING--is be cleaned without soaking. It is called forethought and/or hardwork.
It helps to clean as you cook. Some tips on how to do this:
1. Cook in a clean kitchen. Ie., have all dirty dishes cleaned beforehand and put away.
2. If necessary, place any dirty dishes to one side, the side you are least likely to use in cooking. This is the left of my sink, whereas the right of my sink is reserved for food prep. Obviously your kitchen is different. Figure it out.
3. Clear your sink.
4. Designate a pot, bowl, or even cooking sheet for compost or garbage. Just like at the parties, people, there is one responsible for driving home and keeping all the messy people safe. This garbage bowl is your responsible link in the chain. Toss all your peelings, chopped ends, whatever into this designated container. Your countertop stays clear and clean up is a quick emptying of the bowl.
5.  As you finish with an utensil, measuring cup, bowl, give it a spin in the sink. Whether it is sticky, oil, thick  or light and watery, I give it a splash to begin the cleaning process. If you have a mixing bowl or deep container such as a saucepan, begin to accumulate the odds and ends in there with some water for, dare I say it?--soaking, temporary at most. I keep my items easily rinsed, making repeat use possible. For example, if I bake with a cup of sugar, I will use my cup measurement. I either shake the sugar out entirely or a quick rinse means when I need 1/2 cup of oil, I simply reuse that cup. (Half filled, of course!)
6. This step is for all the soakers and their cooking pots and pans. If you, immediately after use, put the hot item into sink with a rinse, the cooked contents will be much easier to remove. It is a bit like soaking, only you stay in the room and deal with it. Anything with starch, such as rice and potatoes,  must be rinsed in cold water immediately. Otherwise starch hardens and leaves residue, giving you a clearly avoidable excuse for soaking. The hot gooey messes from fried meat, eggs, etc., well, deal with it. Applying warm water to the pan immediately after use will soften the caked-on food. Other than that, I recommend spending some time in your local five and dime shop and choose your favourite scrubbing utensil.

Face reality folks, all that soaking water and time does is get you out of the kitchen. You basically are saying, I'm too lazy to deal with this; someone behind me will finish it.
The worst offender is my husband. He soaks margarine tubs. He fills them to the brim and leaves them on the countertop for me to erupt. 1. anyone who is stupid enough to clean up THAT is in for a wet mess, because the water sloshes everywhere with plastic that has very little structure. 2. Butter is washable! Water is not going to make it come off more easily or quicker! What he needs to know is, the oily cleaning process is made better with better sponges. Unfortunately I get so irate, I toss the tub in the trash and forget to enlighten him. 3. All this is for recycling? I call baloney; can butter containers even be recycled?

Soaking can really get me worked up. I'm sure you can tell. Basically, people, if something is so caked on and your arm is sore from scrubbing, I say toss it and replace.
Afterall, isn't that why God made Ikea?