It took me about 18 hours of not having a kitchen sink before I found myself looking at a fork and wondering if it was too dirty to use again. I mean, I’d only eaten a fruit salad with it. Fruit was clean, right? Cleaner than, like, soap in a way?
A few hours later, I found myself staring at a water glass I’d used the day before. Water glass water is pretty germ free, yes? Germ free enough to be able to hold out washing a water glass for, like, a week?
My answer to all of these questions ended up being a convenient yes. So I could get out of washing dishes.
The loss of our kitchen sink is a result of a kitchen reno that we, and the rest of America, have been undergoing for the past few months. It’s been a truly wonderful experience, in part because our designer/contractor (from London, Ky.!) is brilliant anyway and in part because she’s been extremely mindful of how much we cook.
As she’s slowly and strategically taken pieces of our kitchen away (we lost the dishwasher early on because it broke, not because she took it), the experience has allowed me to analyze the room in a way I never had before.
It’s made me realize that the heart of a modern kitchen is really not its fire. Almost all of us have a grill we can turn to if we really need the heat. Instead, the heart of a kitchen is actually its water. Without it, everything very quickly becomes complicated.
If you doubt me, I dare you to spend a week washing your dishes in your bathtub. While this vessel is often associated with lavender and bubbles when you’re lying in it, when you’re standing over it, it is anything but luxurious. I also invite you to give a pot a wash in a bathroom sink. Not ideal.
Our new sink is a giant, white, fireclay, farmhouse-style sink with an apron front. If none of this means anything to you, you’re in good company; it didn’t mean anything to me either until my husband and I spent a week looking at thousands of sinks.
The sink itself is about as high maintenance as it gets. It needs grates at the bottom to prevent it from chipping. Even with careful care, it is expected to scratch over time. And it’s possible it might stain.
Our old sink was stainless steel. And it was bullet proof.
Still, I am ridiculously excited about this damn thing. It’s now been installed and we’re awaiting faucet installation. I’m not ashamed to admit how much time I’ve spent staring at it. And, OK, yeah, rubbing it a bit too.
I’m also not ashamed by how opinionated I’ve discovered I am about faucets. I’ll tell you one thing, if that spray wand isn’t up to snuff, I don’t care how pretty it is or how much I don’t have to touch it to get it to turn on. All that matters is that wand needs to pull out like a Wild West gun out of a holster: quick and smoothly.
When I was a kid, my mom would painstakingly wash and rinse her kitchen sink so it was sparkling clean until morning. And what did she use? Palmolive, of course. Because why? Madge, of course.
Oh, that Madge. My god, I have some deeply embedded memories of her commercials, which I’m pretty sure came on during every single commercial break during the Days of Our Lives. I remember sitting in a chair at my grandma’s house (my mom was a no-soaps kind of mom), eating a Mirage bar, and watching Madge, who was giving a manicure to one of her clients.
“Oh, Madge, my hands are so chapped,” her client would complain. “What should I try?
“Palmolive. It softens hands while you do the dishes. You’re soaking in it.”
“In dishwashing liquid? Is it mild?”
“More than mild. Makes loads of suds that last. And, no kidding, softens hands while you do the dishes.”
I don’t know if it was Madge’s super-alto voice, her reassuring mom haircut or the fact that I desperately wanted a manicure, but those commercials had me sold from age 8.
And, to this day, I am still a Palmolive girl.
That bottle is going to look great parked beside our new beauty. And washing dishes in the kitchen is going to be the greatest treat. But before that happens, I need to have lunch. I wonder what dish I can re-use …