Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Tub in the kitchen sink

All three of R's sisters use a plastic washing up bowl in their kitchen sinks. I washed the dishes once at Sister 1's and I tipped the stale water out and removed the bowl. It was much easier. The are reasons I've read on the net, but none of them seem very strong to me. I don't believe it was a custom in Australia. 

It really makes little sense to me and the younger members of the family don't use one in their kitchens.

Look at the size of bowl. It is not going to save much water.

I've never broken or chipped crockery or glass in a sink, whatever material the sink was made of.

Before I fill a sink to wash dishes, every glass or cup is emptied of dregs and poured down the sink, and plates scraped. 

An anecdote I read today was from a woman who always cut a bit off the end of a roasting joint, because that is how her mother prepared roasts. Her mother died while her mother's mother lived on and the woman asked her grandmother about cutting off the end of meat. Ah, I had a very small roasting dish and I always had to cut the end off to fit the roasting dish. 

Maybe one of you can give me a good reason why the bowl in the sink, and do you use one?

47 comments:

  1. I have read about it, but not seen it. I will be interested in any answers you get. Mind you, one of my sisters in law often breaks glasses in their sink. Usually 'good' glasses.

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    1. EC. some, like us, have a good excuse for breaking things with our less than steady hands, but I've become extra careful and I don't break or drop things. What is your sister in law's excuse?

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  2. I have always disliked plastic washing up bowls in the kitchen sink. I know that they can be useful if you need to tip out dregs etc before dunking things into the soapy water but the downside is they always seem to get scummy and grubby on the bottom if you don't turn them upside down and scrub them after use. I chuck everything in the dishwasher now but do hand wash wine glasses ... very carefully!

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    1. I might have guessed support for washing up bowls from you, but clearly I have misjudged, lol. Unless your wine glasses are crystal, stick them in the dishwasher in the place they are meant to go without contact with another item.

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  3. Our farmhouse sink was porcelain cast iron base. that thing was a monster! We used plastic basins too, was easier for me. Lots of memories from there.

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    1. Anon, I may have done the same with a sink like that.

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  4. My friend in England does the same thing. I hope you get some answers.

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    1. They are flowing in Pat but not really conclusive yet.

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  5. There are studies that the dishwasher is three times more efficient than handwashing. Mum is still a believer in handwashing though. Old habits die hard.

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    1. Roentare, people washing dishes by hand when they have a dishwasher so annoys me, but given your mother's age, I can understand.

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  6. The only time that I used a plastic basin was when I had a long one basin sink. I would wash the dishes in the basin, rinse them under the tap outside the basin, and then put them in the strainer to dry. The basin actually becomes just one more thing that needs to be washed. I have no explanation, but will say that sink is TINY.

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    1. Debby, the sink would be not be a far off size for any older English kitchen sink.

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  7. The Stalker
    it is disgusting and unhygienic. We always rinse our dishes before putting them in the dishwasher but then I am a hygiene freak . Water cannot be so scarce so you go to those measures. Our last dishwasher lasted 15 years. I aml a great one for cleaning all the filters in all the appliances.I am sure that’s why they last so long .

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    1. Stalker, although we are told it is unnecessary, I do still rinse solids of dishes before they go into the dishwasher. In the last two weeks I have cleaned the dishwasher filter, the aircon filters and the range hood filter. Filters to be clean for whatever to work properly.

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  8. You've doubtless found https://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-7940,00.html .
    My own feeling is that it dates from a time when hot water was less readily available and people only had a single sink - not necessarily as petite as the sink in your picture.

    As the first two commenters on that link put it:

    "If you have a single sink it is useful to have a space down which one can spill detritus from plates without making the washing up water murky." and
    "if you suddenly want to use the sink for some other purpose you can lift the whole lot out, because you can tip cold tea or vegetable water down the side of the bowl rather than all over your crockery ..."

    Whilst on this topic I can offer an observation from my own experience which is that Chinese-background people (not just the one Chinese person I live with) tend to wash with running water, generally cold. My own theory is that this is because a big part of Chinese washing-up is rinsing away grains of rice.

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    1. "If you have a single sink it is useful to have a space down which one can spill detritus from plates without making the washing up water murky."
      This makes NO sense to me. Surely people now and even then didn't start washing up without first scraping and rinsing everything?

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    2. Have you never been doing the washing up when some "helpful" housemate arrives with an extra item?

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    3. MC, I will wear that saving hot water was a reason in the past, but that is history. I don't get this single sink thing. We've had double sinks in the past. Now we have one and we don't miss a double sink.
      As I said, organise your dishes before you wash them, so no detritus to worry about.
      Yes, I know about Asian people washing under running water, but I didn't know they did so with cold water.

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    4. River, I think you are quite correct.

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    5. MC, that can happen if you are washing up after parties I suppose, but for that has never been day to day.

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    6. Obviously you are domestically very well, maybe too well, organized. The story you once told about you and R both rotating plates when stacked into the cupboard and so cancelling each other's efforts out comes to mind.

      I've only seen the dishes washed in a bowl in an even more traditional set-up in the countryside in the former East Germany where the bowl was metal/enamel, which is what leads me to suspect the habit starts from scarcity of hot water.

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    7. Ah yes MC. The double rotation meaning two bowls were never used. I've stopped doing that and trust R rotates them.

      Lack of water led to a custom, which carries on, now without reason.

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    8. No. ALL dishes are collected before washing up starts, including any from kids bedrooms etc.

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  9. I read that same anecdote many years ago about cutting off the end of a roast. This makes me smile, that we share so many such stories. Best wishes to you and yours.

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    1. Darla, I thought the roast story was quite funny. That is how my mother did it, so I do it the same.

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  10. I don't use one and never have, but I remember cookery class in highschool, where there were only two sinks and on the first day we were all lined up waiting our turn to clean up mixing bowls etc and the teacher actually laughed at us for not knowing the purpose of the stacked large plastic bowls. We were supposed to each fill one and take it back to the shared tables and wash up there. I don't know how the other girls felt, but I felt humiliated. She'd laughed at us for something we hadn't known, when she should have told us at the very beginning.

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    1. River, cookery at school caused me great distress when I was awarded 3/20 for my cookery effort. I know the teacher did not like me, especially as I think I was one of two boys in the class, but even so. I did try really hard. Perhaps there is a reason why R cooks and I don't. Your school teacher sounds a bit mentally cruel to me.

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  11. i smiled at the story of the roast.
    It seems to me from comments that everything in UK is smaller than in Australia. It makes sense, I suppose, when you've got huge tracts of land and we're all squashed into (mainly) the south of the country. Thinking small has an effect on the psyche.

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    1. Yes, possibly JB. But I saw where the great nephew and great nieces live and their homes are not so different to ours, aside from staircases and less than ideal bathrooms. Having land available for an increasing population here is a nightmare of urban sprawl. We need to live in more compact housing, without it feeling cramped.

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  12. Cooking a roast and it not fitting in the baking dish makes sense.
    The dish in the sink - my grandmother used to wash up that way because at that time she didn't have a kitchen sink, she would throw the remainder of the water on her roses and other flowers...maybe the dish in the sink stems back from those days...just a thought.

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    1. Margaret, that is fair enough. I think you are correct about those times, but that is history now.

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  13. My grandmother used one, and thinking back to that kitchen she had one sink, about twice the size of the "dishpan." With a couple of exceptions, if it does not go in the dishwasher, it is not in my kitchen.

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    1. TP, it is helpful to know that it was a custom in the US too. I agree with you about the dishwasher. And if it doesn't fit in this dishwasher load, it will fit in the next.

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  14. Interesting, that was the custom in the Ireland I grew up in along with a plastic corner unit for the tealeaves poured out of the pot. Never made any sense once I hit the New World. Unwieldy and unnecessary. Whenever I've broken anything it's off the faucet.
    XO
    WWW

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    1. WWW, you broke an important Irish tradition. You are supposed to take your culture with you when you emigrate.

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  15. We do indeed use one. I've always thought it helps keep glasses from breaking on the hard surface of the sink itself. Plus, even if you regularly clean your sink, it's not as clean as a bowl made for washing -- which gets washed out by default every time it's used!

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    1. I should add, though, that the MAIN reason we use a basin is that there's no stopper to the sink drain. So we don't really have a choice if we want to keep water in the sink!

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    2. Steve, I hope people do turn their bowls over and wash the underside. I did read the lack of a plug is one reason for using a bowl, but that is not hard to remedy.

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    3. Steve, buy a stopper! How is a regularly cleaned sink not as clean as a bowl, since the sink also gets cleaned by default when washing up? I have never broken a single glass by washing in the sink and I've been washing dishes for almost 60 years.

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  16. Hmm. Never heard of a washing bowl in the sink. Interesting.

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    1. Sandra, just one of those queer little things in life.

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  17. i guess it uses less water, and the food scraps dont go down the drain, then you can toss the water on the garden

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    1. All quite possible Ian, but at the end of the day, I think it is a case of 'what my mother did'.

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    2. agreed! those Brits love their traditions!

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  18. In my grandmother's time I remember her using a bowl in her sink, but the sink was bigger that the one in the photo, so could have been to save water?

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    1. Sami, in Portugal there would be a need to save water at times, so that makes sense, as does the bigger sink.

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