The reversals as I age include lessons from my adult offspring. After some 70 years of not
discriminating against plastic in dishwashers, I now learn from my youngest daughter that plastic causes BPA, Phthalates and other chemicals to leach in the dishwasher.
What does that even mean? Plastic coating the four everyday (though not cheap) dinner plates I bought on the Ile St. Louis after marrying my second (now ex) husband? (Was I prescient that our dinner table that became five would decline to four?)
Don’t get me wrong about melting plastic. I’m totally on top of avoiding it—I spent months searching for an all-metal electric hot water kettle. And I’ve yet to discover an automatic coffee maker no part of which my steaming morning brew would come in contact with plastic.
All that said, I draw the line on plastic angst when loading the dishwasher. (Fun fact: my dad washed his hat on the top rack.)
My mom, an enthusiastic re-user—and diswasherer—of cottage cheese containers lived to be 92 ½. So I figure, like my mom, I’ll dodge the risks posed by invisible BPA on my tableware. (She died from COPD no doubt caused by the second-hand smoke from my dad’s two-pack-a-day Camels habit.)
This has me veering off to dark ruminations about all the melted plastic I served my kids in microwaved deli containers. Does ignorance excuse my guilt?
Getting back to less disturbing dishwasher musings, I have never shaken my childhood training that dishes get washed before being lined up in the dishwasher. My older sister’s job was rinsing them and mine was loading them schmutz-fee into the dishwasher. My brother’s job was being the only son.
Recalling our Fifties dishwasher raises a question: How is it that that in all these years no one has figured out dishwasher fittings for bowls to line up efficiently? (It’s parallel to another design question: Why can’t we find a way to make Miss America’s crown sit squarely on her head and stay?)
Oh dear, I’ve veered again. I could go on (forks, tines up or down?). Instead, I’ll leave you with a comment from my friend K, “Do you wash or rinse your clothes before putting them in the washing machine?”
Answer, “Yes, if my clothes have food on them.”
I welcome you to weigh in.