Monday, November 14, 2016

Politically Erect

What a week.  I’m not going to touch it. 

Maybe I will.  You know how on a Viagra commercial they always say call your doctor if you’re experiencing an erection lasting longer than four hours?  Well I think we need to call our fucking doctors for our election lasting longer than 24 hours.  It’s over.  Maybe you think we shot a blank, maybe you’ve never been more satisfied-- but we have an early morning and really can’t try again.  In short, we have too much blood rushing everywhere except our heads.  I’ve snapped, you’ve probably snapped, we need a cold fucking shower and some kumbayah. 
I missed the moon by about 23 seconds this morning.  


I’ve cried, argued, resigned, resumed, and eaten a lot of carbs.  What I haven’t done is written off entire swaths of my family and friends.  I know a lot of people who voted for Trump.  We disagree and that’s okay. I don’t hate them, wish to banish them, or think they’re stupid.  This is Ohio, for fuck’s sake.  If I excommunicated everyone who I’ve disagreed with politically, I would need to reset my circle every four years. 




I’m currently in my deep-cleaning phase of Thanksgiving prep.  I try and get everything as clean as possible so that my house is easier to work with during the holidays.  The most important part of this phase are the dishwashers.  While we’re on controversial subjects, let’s talk about dishwasher theory.  I clean my dishes with soap and water before I put them in the dishwasher.  I think of dishwashers as autoclaves, not garbage disposals. I think that because dishwashers are autoclaves and not garbage disposals.  Dishwashers do not have blades in them to mince things into manageable little pieces.  Therefore, if particles are left on plates, they will likely build up over time.  Many have box grater like lined cones that do mush food particles with water pressure and gravity, but that is not the same as a big ass garbage disposal. 
I used to have a wonderful guy who fixed my appliances.  He is kind of like a lot of other technical geniuses in that he is really fucking weird.  His shirt is always dirty and half-tucked in, he farts freely, and he opens the refrigerator and asks hey what’s this? Can I have some? Now in the interest of full disclosure, I feed everyone.  So he probably wouldn’t do that everywhere
I would die if I ever did any one of these things, let alone all of them all the time.  But he’s so sincere I can’t help but like him.  I open the windows and make him a plate.  He hates all the appliance companies because they’re not what they used to be, but he especially hates Viking. 
I used to have Viking dishwashers.  So, so pretty.  So, so awful.  So one year I had Thanksgiving on Thursday, of course, and then was catering a dinner party the following Saturday.  I did pretty much all my catering out of my house.  It was going to be tight, but I could handle it.  Until one of my dishwashers wouldn’t start.  What?! NO! Okay, thank god I have two.  Redundancy! Wait.  WHAT?! NO! Fuck.  They were suddenly both suffering from different maladies.  I wasn’t surprised as of course I was running them nonstop in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.  I can easily do ten loads of dishes a day.  Granted, sometimes one load means only two BABs (that’s Big Ass Bowls if you’re new here).  I put everything in the dishwasher unapologetically.  Here in the land of political discontent, we have plenty of rain so I don’t feel guilty running them constantly.  The only things that don’t go in the dishwasher are my Le Creusets, a few precious plates, some silver, and my knives.  Other than that—from gold rims to dainty crystal—they all go in.  I have freakishly strong hands so I’m much more likely to break stemware drying it by hand than letting the dishwasher handle it.  I have broken many more glasses in the cold, sober, morning light than I have in tipsy tumbles. 
Anyway, I called my appliance whisperer in a panic Friday morning.  He was out of town until Tuesday.  Not exactly an epic hardship, but a fucking pain in the ass. 
This is how I got very rigid and compulsive about dishwasher care.  Between farts and refrigerator raids, my appliance guy chided me for not diligently keeping up on my jet-dry/rinse aid.  In a dishwasher with heated dry, this chamber should NEVER EVER be empty!  Keep an extra bottle of it always! NEVER LET IT GO EMPTY.  Okay, okay I’m sorrrrry.  These drains are all clogged! Are you putting dirty dishes in here?  Isn’t that kind of the point?  NO! Dishwashers are to automate and streamline sanitation! How often are you running it empty?  How often do you run a cycle with Lemi-shineHuh?  UGH!

Nowadays, I pamper my dishwashers all year, but especially leading up to Thanksgiving.  There are so so may dishes and I just don’t want to tempt fate.  About two weeks before, I run an empty cycle with Lemi-shine in the detergent compartment.  Then I run an empty cycle without Lemi-shine to ensure a solid rinse.  Lemi-shine not only leaves the interior of the dishwasher sparkling, but also ensures the drains out of the dishwasher are clean.  I get the impression it’s kind of like a scrubbing bubbles/drain-o combination product.  I don’t know much about it other than my guru says to use it.  I comply. And knock on wood, I’ve had great success.  I also refill the Jet-dry chambers frequently. 
Ready for the holidays
Forgive me if this is dreadfully boring, but I’m sure you’ve read plenty of controversial things lately. 
I’d love to hear your prioritized lists for holiday cleaning?  Of course, I think the kitchen should have top priority because clean kitchens are the key to holiday joy and efficiency.  But for beauty, I focus first on glass.  Light is so important and often you don’t realize you have bad light until you have good light.  Clean windows make for clean light, dirty windows make for dirty light.


Barbie turned 4 on Sunday! She had a fabulous day. 
I spent a lot of time cleaning my windows last week and through the weekend.  I figured this week of all weeks was a good time to wash away all the dust and grime that collected through the late summer and fall.  A chance to see things a bit more clearly—in good light.

74 comments:

  1. Happy birthday Barbie!!!

    I always wondered about people in Ohio, florida, PA. You guys must feel so much pressure to vote unlike say CA or AZ. I know "every vote counts" but in the states - it obviously doesn't. Well Ohio picked it again - stupid question but does Ohio have the most lottery winners as well? Is it a gift or just the crossroads of geography and demographic I wonder. Not being facetious - we are really discussing Ohio and Florida a lot over here.

    You are soo taurus. simplistic statement but my husband is so particular about the dishwasher that he has banned me. Only thing I am allowed to do is unload it. but he washes his dishes before he puts them in and he seems to use the dishwasher as some sort of steriliser. He,like you, has back up salt and rinse aid but because he just feels it intuitively and I don't think any plumber told him. He also does empty cleaning loads but only because we have a lot of lime in the water here. I am used to it now although I now love going to friends houses and filling the dishwasher for them bc it seems like a bit of a naughty thing to do. Ahhh, middle age.

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    1. Hahaha a naughty thrill loading the dishwasher! Oh yes a dishwasher is truly the epitome of the Tahitian experience because it combines theory, domesticity, control, and beauty all in one. I don't think I could ever trust anyone to load my dishwashers. God forbid someone try, they are quickly tranquilized and never left unsupervised again.
      No idea about Ohio's lottery stats! I feel like California and New Jersey always win the lottery. My favorite quote about Ohio is from Louis Bromfield "It is the farthest west of the east, and the farthest east of the west, the farthest north of the south, and the farthest south of the north. It is probably the richest area of its size in the world".
      Ohio's culture is so neighborhood by neighborhood that there are so many constantly conflicting points of view. And Ohio has always been diverse in industry so while one industry booms, they may sway right to protect their wealth-and while another may plummet they swing left for help. Those fluctuations are hard to peg because they are often questions of do those paying high taxes trust their money does good and do those receiving benefits have faith it will make a difference. I think that's why there's so much emphasis on the northern "rust belt" counties where manufacturing has not been viable for decades.
      Also because Ohio has 88 counties, compared to a much larger state like California that only has 38, we have a lot more day to day interaction with government. and taxes can vary dramatically driving up and down one street. So tax fluctuations matter a lot here. Not that they don't elsewhere, but I think our small counties make us feel like we have more control. It's all a bit more microscopic here. Not sure if that sheds any light or intellect on it. We also have distinct social zones that are always in limbo based on the passion of different issues. My area is generally socially moderate but turned out in droves 15 years ago to ban gay marriage. Just south of me is aggressively pro-choice and just south of them is aggressively pro-life. I think the hundreds of little variances are what tend to make Ohio an accurate sampling of the rest of the non-coastal country.

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    2. Explains it clearly! Pure microcosm. Will tell my mates - thanks SAJ

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    3. I absolutely love this description of the Buckeye State. You really are brilliant.

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    4. I agree-- as someone up here in Cleveland-- you nailed it! Thank you for another wonderful post.

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  2. Where do you get Lemi-Shine? My poor old dishwasher could really use a cleansing. I used something like vinegar or baking soda last time, but a commercial product might do better. I never use Jet Dry and didn't realize how important it is. Also, I wash my special glasses (especially wine) by hand because I have had the dishwasher etch them or make them cloudy. And I have a love affair with glasses. And I found the caramel pumpkin pie recipe in a Paula Deen holiday magazine- I finally remembered it today. Will let you know how it goes.

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    1. Oh yes! Let me know! Look at the grocery for it first, it's usually cheaper there. If not, Amazon! Jetdry isn't important for dishwashers that don't have heated dry, I don't think it's necessary at all actually. But if yours has heated dry, start using it! I've had such good luck, knock on wood, that my dishwashers treat my stuff very well! No knicks, clouds, or stripping of gold.

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  3. LOL- I have two Boschs and they are work horses and I have never had a problem with them. I rinse but don't soapy wash dishes before I throw them in there. I have never used the Lemi-Shine but I will take YOUR MAN'S word for it that I need it. lol I see you are also a fan of BarKeeper's friend. Me, too. I have a copper sink and it keeps it shiny bright.

    Like you, I throw everything that will fit into the dishwasher. I even do the globes and glass shades of my light fixtures. It's a sickness, I tell you.

    I am hosting the gang here this year but don't dare think about it this week- I have too much going on. xo Diana

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    1. Ooooh I love copper sinks! Hammered or smooth? I don't know how you live without heated dry! Although everyone I know with Bosch LOVES them.
      Oh I keep BKF in business. I use so much of it. It was like the happiest day of my life when I discovered liquid BKF because the powder always gave me terrible headaches.
      You're a pro, you can pull it out next week without much planning!

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  4. Got to get some of that dishwasher cleaner...ours is making a terrible sound and I wonder if it is on its last legs. I love doing dishes by hand and I am rubbish at cleaning windows.
    Everyone should have a repair person that they can trust...so many things break down and we tend to just replace them.
    I like how organized you are with your household chores and dinner party planning and prepping. You really could write a guide book!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, give it a try! I know that rumble you're talking about, always a cause for concern! I've never been particularly fond of washing by hand. Except when I first bring something home from a thrift/antique store. I love washing the grime off and examining the new piece up close!

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  5. The laugh I needed SAJ, thank you Darling. I'm all about cleaning, most especially in strained times. I mean why not, it's win-win. I'm meticulous about my dishwasher which is a Miele and a Champion. I clean the very fine filters religiously, no garbage disposal this. I had the Miele repairman teach me how to take apart the filter and the pump-thing, he couldn't believe I wanted to learn. Why wouldn't I, he bloody well charges $200 just to park in the driveway.
    My rascal kids are terrible at loading the dishwasher despite my lectures. Clearly they will never learn. That one, I'll have to let it go (grinds teeth).
    My windows, ugh they're terrible, I have to get at them this week while the weather is still good. But I've been busy walking Scout, it's been such a gorgeous fall- and look at your girl now 4! XOX

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    1. Are Miele appliances big in Canada? Or do you guys have them due to your Euro influence? I don't think anyone I know has Miele here. I love my Miele vacuum though. Except for it's ridiculously short cord. Love that you know the workings of your appliances! I try to but I'm just not mechanically minded. It has been an amazing fall!

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    2. Miele is the best! They're based in NJ

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    3. Really?? I had no idea! I haven't shopped for appliances in a bit but I haven't seen them used here.

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  6. Wow I have never heard of LemiShine, but I will give it a try just like I recently tried the Original Bakewell Cream that I read about on your blog and at the King Arthur website. I made biscuits from the King Arthur website this weekend and they are in the freezer for Thanksgiving. You can bake them frozen. Nice. I am trying to make in advance as much as possible and by the way, my husband and I tried the biscuits in advance and woozaa. Delicious. Now I just have to find a recipe for a sweet potato dish that I can do in advance and just reheat. I am not a fan of the ultra sweet of the syrupy sweet sweet potato casseroles. This weekend I will be making a pumpkin roll and will freeze it for Thanksgiving. I like to do as much in advance. Maybe it is a Tarus thing. Love your post and your silver. Got to go polish my silver now. See ya.

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    1. I am all about advance prep work too!! I think biscuits are better when baked from frozen. I think the freezing helps take away that slight metallic taste biscuits can sometimes have from the baking sofa/powder. Haha yes, piece by piece I'm getting all the silver ready! Enjoy your prep! One thing you could do if you don't want dessert sweet potatoes is slice them in discs and season with some ground mustard, black pepper, salt, thyme, honey, and apple cider vinegar. You could slice them on tues and then put them in the fridge on their cookie sheets and they'd be ready to pop in the oven Thursday. Give them some butter at the end!

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  7. Yes! Let's move on from hand-wringing and protesting to what's really important....Thanksgiving and related topics! Holidays are a candidate I can always support with no reservations. I am with you on the dishwasher issue, I went to a party last night where the hosts loaded up their dishwasher after barely scraping the plates and thought, "you're gonna be sorry in a few months or years." And I don't even use the garbage disposal for anything consequential, because on septic you're not supposed to. So the trash gets 80 percent of my food waste, and the rest goes to the chickens.

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    1. Yes yes! Oh isn't it hard to watch people load their dishwashers incorrectly?! Brutal! I'm sure the chickens are thrilled you're on septic. I always think how desperately I need chickens when I have mounds and mounds of vegetable scraps going down the disposal!

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  8. There are some great photos here Stephen Andrew! Happy Birthday Barbie...was it a big celebration? Yes, it has been a wild week with all the political crapola going on. I'm with you. Dishwasher? We don't have one (how many do you have?) I'm the cook, Gary is the dishwasher. Not only that, we don't have a microwave. And believe me, when we have a big group over, it takes a LONG time to clean the kitchen....before and after. We are going to have Thanksgiving here at the farm this year. Small...but it will be sweet and I will finally have some pictures to share. Of course it will seem primitive compared to yours.

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    1. Oh I can't wait to see your Thanksgiving! What could be better than Thanksgiving at a family horse farm! I could do without a microwave pretty easily. Dishwasher...no way! You and Gary must have an incredibly strong marriage if you can trust him to clean your pots and pans! I trust no one to do that!

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  9. I loved this post, with the mix of politics and domesticity. Dishwashers! I have two, and love them. But, my husband has discovered that he can essentially cheat on dishwasher loading (which he really doesn't do frequently anyway) by just stacking stuff 4 deep so no water can reach them, and not scraping plates first. You would go mental. I end up unstacking and rearranging things as he's really uneconomical with the way he actually puts things in space wise at any rate, plus I have to rinse everything off as well. To me, dishwasher stacking is like playing tetrus, and I find it really satisfying cramming everything in. I tend to discourage him from putting stuff away as it's more irritating for me to have to unload it all. As for unstacking, he is equally poor at this. On the odd time he does it he doesn't seem to know where anything goes, so will just stack it on the benchtop, or stick it in places it's not supposed to be stored. So I'll spend an age looking for my grater, for instance, which I'll find on top of china in a random drawer. As you can see, we have issues. I won't even get into the whole discussion that has lasted 17 years about what exactly is recyclable and can therefore go in the recycling bin....
    I had the windows cleaned this week, and am so happy now!! I had a massive purge about a month ago, and have taken loads of stuff to the charity store, still more deep cleaning to do, but I don't think I'll get to it now. I'm aiming to do the silver this weekend in readiness for Christmas, and that's about it...

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    1. Oh I think you should tell your children to watch closely because they are experiencing a marriage that can weather any storm! Haha the overstuffed dishwasher drives me insane! I know exactly what you mean, I am so satisfied when I arrange everything in perfect order and everything fits! Though it never fails that I've forgotten one spoon or pair of scissors. Cleaning the windows at your house is a huge job! How wonderful to have that done. So excited you're hosting Christmas this year. Can't wait to see how you set your table!

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  10. Love how organized your cabinet is. What is the item between the finish and dawn? Just ordered the lemi-shine from Amazon. I have never seen it in the stores in Alabama. You have inspired me to do a better job with my dishwasher. Happy birthday Barbie!!!
    Karen

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    1. Thank you! Oh you will love it! Those are dish scrubbers. Kroger often has them 10/$10 so I buy them en masse.

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  11. Is that your home?? *love! OMG Stephen I think you'de never visit my blog again if I showed you the interior of the land of "What's Under My Sink". TWO DISHWASHERS!!! Lucky dog. Again, I won't appall you with my dishwasher maintenance skills (I don't have any).

    My family and I are in a bit of Thanksgiving shock right now.. my SIL has invited us over there as she'd like to do it... but... it's always HERE. And.. they don't really conform to the traditional foods of Thanksgiving, not exactly. AND.. someone ELSE is bringing a Pumpkin Pie... store bought!!!... GAH! I'm making (yours) anyway... with the new brown sugar twist.. and I'm making an apple pie and something chocolate too because the kids want chocolate. And I'm just like... WTF am I going to do the next day with no thanksgiving leftovers???.....

    Well the truth is I won't be clogging the dishwasher drain with all those filthy dishes.. I guess. *sigh. It's just not right.

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    1. Haha! okay I am sure you intuitively take very good care of your dishwasher! Oh my goodness what a late in the game twist we have here! She couldn't have decided this in March to give us time to reformulate? What time is she having it? I think you should still make your own Thanksgiving dinner so you and the kids have your own leftovers. It's so fun to cook Thanksgiving without any of the pressure!
      Not my house, I'm currently researching gambrel rooflines so they are catching my eye! Love that house.

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    2. OH, you have a brilliant idea there. Indeed, I will cook the meal in the morning into afternoon. ;-)

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  12. The Lemi-Shine went on my shopping list. I thought I'd have to wait for a trip to the US to pick it up but was pleasantly surprised to find it in one of our big Canadian hardware stores. I also found Barkeepers Friend there years ago.

    My husband does the dishes and doesn't pre-rinse much. Avocado is imperative.

    Do you find that your dishwashers are programmed to run for nearly 1.5 hours, even without the heat dry?

    Now I'm going to have to browse to see if you have ever written on a cleaner for your front load clothes washer.

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    1. So glad you found it! I run mine on the fullest extent of the cycle options and they take quite a while, I'd say about 2 hours. I'm always amazed how quickly they go on just the china cycle! Oh I'm sorry I have no real tips on front loading washers. I got rid of mine! It did give me comfort to know that the two best home keepers I know struggled just as I did with their front loaders! I think the big thing is to leave the door open. So annoying and messy looking, but it's the only way to stop that mold from growing! That and obsessively wiping the seal with bleach.

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  13. Fun post. I am a dishwasher junkie too. My biggest arguments with Jeff is how poorly and unorganized he positions the dishes and utensils when loading. Ugh!
    Happy Week before TG!

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    1. Thank you! Oh the utensils are so important to me too! I spend the most time arranging them!

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  14. The ITALIAN ALWAYS re-arranges my load up JOB!
    No, I have never heard of that LENU-SHINE!I will look for it!
    Check. Got BAR KEEPER and DAWN!
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY BARBI!I see she is wearing PURPLE!Very ROYAL or VERY HILARY...........lets drop THAT subject!
    So, is this nature ALL AROUND YOU or have you traveled a distance to FIND these beautiful snaps?
    I WANT TO KNOW!

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  15. Haha I would love to see la contessa loading a dishwasher! I can see how you couldn't be too bothered with it! Velvet sleeves aren't exactly conducive to dish washing! Barbie has worn purple every November of her life! It's a fabulous color against her black hair! She is in Christmas red now. These are all very typical Ohio scenes! People think of Ohio as all flat farmland but our topography is varied. we have a lot of rivers, streams, hills, and woods! And luckily all of the creatures that inhabit them.

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  16. I am going to say something that is not going to put me in the best of light...and no, it is not about politics...

    But I have been working my patootie off during six years of blogging to become a better photographer. And you waltz out one day (saunter?), buy a new camera and are instantly elevated to National Geographic status.

    You may have missed the moon this morning but I have been planning a series with that exact light in my head for years and have never arrived to anything close.

    And with that I close my bitter and scandalously jealous refrain.

    xo
    H

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    1. Hahaha thank you so much! National Geographic? Haha I don't think so! Not even Regional Geographic. I think I am more of a saunterer than a waltzer. I have so loved learning about photography. So wonderful to finally be able to actually catch things as I see them. Your photography is always so beautiful and evocative!

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  17. They'll be a lot of right-wing Uncles and Grandpas very happy at the Thanksgiving table this year. They won't be so happy in 2020 but okay.

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    1. Haha yes! But also a lot of happy aunts and young cousins! I think Trump's appeal goes beyond the fringe relatives.

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  18. well i don't have a dishwasher. but i do have a good cleaning schedule that keeps the house pretty much in tip top shape all year round. but i agree with you that the kitchen is first on the list for the holidays. all the subway tile must be gleaming and the chandelier sparkling. next the bathrooms have to be shining too. fresh towels or pretty paper towels if we have a lot of guests. i don't worry too much about the floors as they will be annihilated by kids. lots of fresh greens and flowers are at the top too. i love all your analogies here SAJ. you are brilliant. xo

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    1. Thank you so much! Your home and homekeeping inspire all of us!

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  19. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR BARBIE!!

    And she looks so cute in her lilac necklace {?!}

    I have a Miele DW, washing machine, and vacuum { that I bought thanks to Joan's advice, if you know what I mean}. My DW is my favorite appliance in the whole house. To HotFlashHomestead, we have wicked hard water {lime} and had to install a Culligan system for our entire house water system, if that makes sense. Otherwise all our appliances, faucets, water lines would be clogged with lime. I also must be very careful what cleaning products I use, as I also am on septic system.

    How can I bake a turkey? Husband suggested in the Weber grill, but reminded me that turkeys will not be available until before Christmas {Italy, and all}. I have a La Canche Cluny stove, with two ovens- one forced air electric, and one gas. Each is 20". A turkey will NOT fit. Can you imagine? Should I roast a chicken? I have never "done" Thanksgiving in Europe, after all these years, but you are motivating me. Please share your stuffing recipe. Have you ever used chestnuts? We have a bumper crop this year. I am trying to source ways to use them.

    If you can believe this, we do not have a clothes dryer; Europeans just don't. We also do not have a microwave. One just gets used to these things.

    You write so well, seriously. I love this time of year when you post frequently. Thanks,heaps, Robin

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    1. Thank you so much, Robin! Have you lived in Europe long enough to have "the touch" for roasting duck? Is duck as prevalent in Italy as it is in France? If you or your husband have the touch for duck, I would do that! But if ducks are not in your wheelhouse, I think a chicken would be fabulous! As you are in Italy, can you get your hands on some truffles? Or even better (and cheaper) truffle butter? A chicken slathered in truffle butter and chives and maybe a touch of lemon zest. I actually always like lemon zest with truffle, I think it introduces a much needed soprano note. Though you must be careful and use only like 7-10 little shards of zest.
      All of these flavors would go so beautifully with a chestnut stuffing! I have no real recipe for my stuffing but it's sautéed celery, carrot, onion, and leek. Plenty of herb butter, a little garlic, white wine, and turkey stock. I make all the bread for the stuffing on Sunday, cube it the next day, let it air dry until Tuesday. Then I dry it in the oven at about 300F. Let me know what you decide to do!!

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  20. i read every post and every comment and your every reply!
    i always feel as if i've been to a PARTY! LOLOL!!! YES!
    i don't relate to any of it. the bookish non cooking monk that i am.
    but OH HOW I LOVE HEARING ABOUT IT ALL!
    especially the farting fix~it appliance whisperer! HAHAHAHA BAHA SNORT!
    you are just the best. an elegant wit and a gifted chef. GOD what a combination,
    and i agree with every political thing you say here! and to think families have split over that nonsense.
    it's just all so not worth it. happy birthday little beloved barbie!!! a whole 4 years old! and always that puppy face! :) XOXO♥ hugs to you both!

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    1. Thank you so much! It really is tragic how many people refuse to speak to the other side over this. I just don't think relationships are worth losing over politics! What pisses me off most is how the voice of these protests aren't even people who voted for Hillary! Did you see the kid get tackled at OSU? He was wearing a hat that said "AMERICA WAS NEVER GREAT". He represents a socialist party and was tackled by a registered democrat. I found the tackle to be a bit satisfying if I'm being honest.

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  21. Ok so I went to Lowes and bought Lemi-Shine because if SAJ recommends it, it has to be good. The price was right too. It is now in the dishwasher on its inaugural run.

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    1. So glad! How did it go? Can you believe how much cleaner your dishwasher is??

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  22. Very eloquently said, sir. Thank you. Cheers, Ardith

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  23. Can someone please give you a tv show and a book deal? Your voice needs to be taken to the Masses of Swing States and the rest of the world too. Everyone agrees.

    Happy Birthday Barbie you glamorous creature. 4 was one of my favourite ages to parent, but if I'm honest every age is pretty much perfect. Wait til she's five and starts reading and going to school!

    I don't want to cause you to have a stroke but I couldn't care less how a dish washer is stacked. True story. As long as it's done I'm happy. I do have a talent of unloading the dishwasher at the speed of light though. Seriously I could join the Olympic team without training and bring home a gold medal.

    I am however all about the Cleaning.

    Before I go to the coalface everyday I wipe every finger print off every kitchen cupboard, every appliance and surface and every drip of water off the sink. And I vacuum. Because Standards. Our Mutual Friend Janet recently wrote about vacuuming inside her drawers and I tried it but I find just wiping the inside of them easier. My kitchen gives so much and asks for so little the least I can do is keep it as clean as if Vogue Living were coming to do a photo shoot. I just cannot handle or cope with mess or chaos at home because my work life is incredibly stressful and challenging, and the subject matter is not for the faint of heart, and it basically keeps me up at night. So home has to be sanctuary like. And finger print free.

    Someone once dropped a piece of cheese on my floor and picked it up and ate it- he said he wouldn't do that at his house but he knew I was an insane cleaner so he felt comfortable eating off my floor. Nice.

    In Australia everyone has Miele. I don't even know if you could get Viking. The (Miele) dishwasher broke last year and we had to wait 6, yes that's right, 6 weeks to get a Miele repair man out. Those were some Dark Days.

    During Difficult Times I think a lot of us find Domestic Minutiae very comforting. As in, I can't control the world but By God this Kitchen will Sparkle.

    xxxxx

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    1. So agree with FF about your posts! They're sensational - and so funny and informative at the same time.Also agree with Heather - your pictures are spectacular. I love/love your nature scenes!

      Our Miele has been going strong for over 15 years already and can't remember needing to have it fixed. Of course we don't use it as often as yours because in recent years mostly there's just two of us home. We do always (hubby too) scrape and rinse before loading though. I always wash crystal by hand as David Jones (an OZ slightly up-market department store) china and glass staff told me they'd get cloudy if I put them in DW. As they're Waterford - not a desirable outcome. Fingers crossed the Miele continues for more years yet. Haven't seen LemiShine here, maybe not available, otherwise I'd rush out to buy. Think loading cleanish dishes does preserve life of DWs. Also I don't cook with fat, other than butter or olive oil. So the range hood stays clean and easy to refresh as there's only a bit of oil up there, no congealed burned fat. But you should see my oven (sigh) from last roast. Best to draw a veil.

      Have a great Thanksgiving! We don't celebrate it here, I'm thinking thank goodness really. I'm too old to do both. Christmas is our big family - food time. But we'll be celebrating at our son's home so will probably be the usual Sydney Christmas summer seafood meal - prawns, oysters, maybe lobster or crab and barbecued fish with lots of salads. I bring home made traditional Christmas pud. Reminds me, better get cracking.
      PS I'm not a floor eater but can attest that I'd have the faith to eat something from FF's floor. I know how immaculate and beautiful her kitchen is. Don't think I'd eat anything off my own though. It has a bath every fortnight (when the cleaners come) whether it needs it or not. And sometimes in between. But the benches and sink are always lovely and clean and at this time of the year I have full blown roses from our garden in glowing pinks and apricots and yellows distracting and cheering all along windowsill and bench. Heavenly. Warmest wishes, Pammie


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    2. SIX WEEKS? Holy shit. That would have been the end of Australia for me and I'd be buying a Lincoln top hat and running to the land of political divide, 24 hour fast food, and same week appliance calls. Though we'll see. I have someone coming today to diagnose my refrigerator as it is misbehaving a bit. It's an old Viking so if it needs a new part it will likely take weeks to source. So my American appliance pride may likely forecast the fall if my main refrigerator is out of commission for the holidays.
      I am disciplined but you are super devout. I agree with you on wiping out vs vacuuming but with the drought state of California vacuuming is the superior chlife. Haha that is truly the highest compliment that someone will eat off your floor! Dishwashers must have rules!

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    3. Thank you so much, Pammie! I've had such good luck with crystal in my dishwasher! I think dishwasher drying has become much more gentle. But I don't know
      Your Christmas lunch sounds so fabulous!! Cleaning my oven is on my list this weekend, it's the last big thing. Would love to have access to your roses for the holidays! So beautiful all together!

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  24. Home Depot has Lemi-Shine and is the least expensive I've found. LOVE that stuff!

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    1. And what about the edge of the dishwasher door? It can get pretty funky! I love these housekeeping posts!
      Teresa

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    2. Thank you! I wipe mine with bleach diluted 10x in water. Does pretty well but not great. They're a weird material! Mine almost have like a steel wool mesh layer.

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  25. So...we are building a house that won't be ready to move in till March. In the meantime we are living in an apartment (the only one in town that will take German Shepherds). You would cringe if you saw the dishwasher. One day I decided to put Jet Dry in the dispenser. Took out the dipstick(?) and it was black goo. Quickly put it back shut the door and pretended it never happened. Now I'm wondering if I should put it in and do an empty dishwasher run and see what happens...WWDWW do? What would dishwasher whisperer do? Love reading your blog. Happy Thanksgiving! Looking for a great cocktail to serve...

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    1. Oh no! Like the little dial that locks into the chamber? I wonder if you could run one cycle with the lid off? I don't know though that might be a bad idea. But definitely try an empty cycle with lemi-shine. Congratulations on the new house! So exciting! Also I love GSDs. My neighbor just got a white GSD puppy and I am so in love. Do you need an elegant lah-tee-dah cocktail or a really good one that might be a little on the white trash side? My favorite, favorite thanksgiving cocktail is just Sprite Zero+cranberry relish+Bombay gin. Sooooo good. I'll post the recipe again in my next post. I'm also doing raspberry White Russians with dessert.

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  26. Crap, shit, bitch, now I have to go buy Lemi-Shine.
    I also just volunteered to do Thanksgiving, so I need to find a good silver cleaner and somebody who can cook and shop and serve and clean up.
    BTW love every detail of your holiday planning, maybe you can post a time line, shopping list for people like me who have no idea what the f*ck I am doing.
    MB

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    1. Yes yes go find it! Good for you! I'm so glad you're doing it! Do you need to polish your flatware or trays or all of it? I polish my flatware with the aluminum foil/baking soda method and use Wright'a silver cream for most everything else. I will post a timeline in my next post! It should be up tomorrow

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  27. My sister-in-law accused me of having my head in the sand, because I refuse to keep up with every minute detail of political bullshit that is published. Not gonna waste my time on other people's opinions. I voted, handed out blue sample ballots at the local polling place, visited with the neighbors, fell asleep before the returns were tallied, and found out the results the next morning. Americans will persevere. At least none of the states are making noises about seceding over this.

    Happy Barbie's Birthday, Stephen!!

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    1. Haha yes I've been accused of that! At least I'm in good company! I feel exactly like you. Did our parts and it's done.

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  28. So Stephen Andrew, I looked up Lemi Shine online and find that they make many different products. Which product is it that you're using? Thanks for any help.

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    1. Thank you for pointing that out! They've expanded their line since I bought a case!
      This is the one I use for machine cleaning.
      http://lemishine.com/products/lemi-shine-multi-purpose-machine-cleaner/

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  29. I love your Ohio! You could easily do a travel brochure to dispel the images we have of the state (only because there is no one like you taking pictures!). Just gorgeous. Since you asked (and not because it is a physical priority -mental one, yes, though as I age in my solo act, no) :), I have started cleaning with the mini blinds. Shoot me now. I can only handle one window in a day. But my, they do look nice when cleaned. I have been using Lemi Shine in my rinse aid compartment. Do I understand you correctly that you only use it as a cleaner for the machine? I notice when the rinse aid is empty from the spots on the glassware though I was unaware of its benefits for the operation of the dishwasher. Good to know. I wonder if you can help me with a cleaning issue - the rubber opening of the garbage disposal where the food drops through. It gets rather yucky and I have used Barkeepers on it though I'm not sure it's the best product to use on it. Another issue I have, which may just be a regional water issue, is the white residue that shows up everywhere on the sink and the faucet as the water dries. It's horrible. At times the faucet appears to be forming stalagmites so I surmise it is a mineral issue. How frustrating after I have scrubbed the whole sink to come back when it is dry and see it covered in white. I even resorted to dampening a paper towel and putting a little coconut oil on it and giving the whole sink a wipe with it. It works for a time. Still, I wonder if there is an easier solution. I've read about hydrogen peroxide for it but it doesn't seem to do much. Any way, let me reiterate how beautiful your photos are, and you set the holiday planning bar high, my friend. :) Cheers! ~Nicole in CA

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    1. Have you tried vinegar? I make a cleaner of mostly various negative with a bit of Dawn dishwashing liquid and a few drops of tea tree essential oil. It does wonders on soap scum and may be a great help on the "white".

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    2. Thank you so much, Nicole! The house I rent in HHI has that problem but we don't have it here. How annoying! For your stainless sink you could try the stainless wipes. Have you seen them? I think they're made by Weiman's. They have a little bit of solution on them that seems to hydrate stainless and then you buff it with a dry towel. Might stop the calcification or whatever it is from showing up so quickly!

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    3. Good grief - my comment should say mostly vinegar, a bit of Dawn and a few drops of tea tree oil!

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    4. Haha, thank you for clarifying, Jeannine! I could not figure that one out. Auto correct strikes again. I will try that as I have all three ingredients. And thank you, Stephen, for the tip about the stainless wipes. I have not heard of those. I'm curious what they're made of (i.e. safe for contact with food). I will check them out. We have a wonderful hardware store in town and whenever another store doesn't have something people are used to hearing, "Try Collier's." It's one of those hardware stores that carries everything you can think of. You would love the main aisle, SAJ, (along a rickety old wood floor) that is lined with shelves of Le Cureset, one with every color of Le Crueset mixers. It's a sight to behold!

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  30. SAJ! IYou are such a generous person, I wanted to let you know about a fabulous silver polish, kitchen jack of everything product. Sooo, get thee to QVC and order Bio-Clean. It polishes silver, stainless steel, everything including the kitchen sink. Tish Jett recommended the French version and then her readers shared that QVC sells it as BIO-Clean. It maybe my favorite product of the decade. Hope you love it as much as I do. Polishing silver is so rewarding using this product. Let me know what you think!!!! xoxo Karen

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    1. Thank you so much!! Never heard of this! I will try it! I agree, polishing silver is so lovely. It is so satisfying to see it come back to gleaming life.

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    2. I stopped by the local shop I mentioned and they had BioClean. I read online that it comes in different forms and this one is a tub of green paste, toothpaste consistency. I scrubbed my sink this morning and it is shining. It appears to be drying without residue, too! It's non-toxic, biodegradable and eco-friendly. Thanks, Karen! (And the shop couldn't believe how fast it is selling. I was told it was just put on the shelf yesterday and they already sold 3! Makes me wonder if they are fellow blog readers.) :)

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