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Do chowhounds prefer to cook or clean?

I prefer to clean because I enjoy tasting other peoples cooking. How about you?

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  1. Clean??? I don't know what this word means. Is it a French culinary term?

    Anne (guess which one I'd pick!)

    1 Reply
    1. re: AnneInMpls

      I'd much rather cook... Cleaning takes a back seat, but you have to look at it as your "reward" for a meal well cooked! Okay, maybe not... I'd reduce myself to Plongeur for access to a 150k BTU burner, though...

      My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

    2. I prefer to cook, but hate to cook if the kitchen is a mess...so no escaping the cleaning some times. If I were of an income where I could hire help, I'd happily let someone else fill the cleaning position, but would have no interest in giving up the cooking.

      1. this is chowhound, not cleanhound....hint, hint. At least for me. *grin*

        1 Reply
        1. I will happily cook til the cows come home, as long as someone is willing to clean. Thank God for dishwashers. I admit to running the d/w once or twice during several day long holiday or special event baking frenzies...just so i can have clean kitchenaid bowls, beaters, etc.....even when it's a teeny load. maybe i just need to buy an extra k/a bowl or two.

          I sheepishly admit that i would rather leave dinner party dishes until the next day rather than miss out on time spent with my guests.

          2 Replies
          1. re: im_nomad

            im nomad
            In this energy saving, global warming period it's a better idea to use the dishwasher for "full loads only". Partial loads waste just so much water and energy.
            Saw this on yesterday's Opera's Green Show at my doctor's office and passing along the tip.
            Americans using just one just one less paper serviette/napkin a day (The average is six a day) could prevent over 100 million trees being cut down.
            Makes you think.

            1. re: fruglescot

              this is something i rarely do, and believe me with the mess i make while baking three or four cheesecakes and mini wedding cakes over three days, most times it's pretty full each time anyway !!

          2. Sign me up in the "l Love to cook, hate to clean category". I could cook all day, but my husband has to do the cleaning. And heaven help him if the dishes aren't done by the next morning!
            Like Im nomad, I would prefer to do them the next day if we are having a party.

            1. We have the tiniest of kitchens so I tend to do a bit of cleaning as I go- popping things into the dishwasher as they are used. I also clean my knives and put them away because I have great respect for them. And, for the most part, I'll clean each pan as I finish with it. It has just become part of my cooking routine and frankly hot pans easier to clean.

              But, my husband and dining companion does the final clean up each night. He is also the resident "glass brat" and treats our stemware and barware to hand washing and polishing each evening.

              We do clean up after guest leave rather than face an inoperable kitchen in the morning. We are talking tiny, closet-size kitchen here.

              8 Replies
              1. re: BostonZest

                I have a rule: I cook, I clean--he cooks, he cleans.

                He leaves a bigger mess after making toast than I do after making a four-course meal.

                1. re: mamaciita

                  "He leaves a bigger mess after making toast than I do after making a four-course meal."

                  This makes me laugh, my dear husband is the same way, he'll grill a meat item and make one side dish and the kitchen has every pot and pan out and every bowl is dirty! Where as I tend to clean up as I go. This is another reason I would rather cook than clean!

                  1. re: SweetPea914

                    Mamacita & Sweetpea -- same here... what IS that about? I know men aren't known to be multi-taskers and all, but if I can wash up stuff while the food's cooking and doesn't need attending to, why can't the man do the same? Wouldn't that be an interesting thing to research? I hate cleaning as much as the next gal, but the more I do in the process, the less is left later...

                    1. re: linguafood

                      We have very hard water so tend to hand wash rather than dishwasher. Anybody got a DH who can fill an entire drain wrack with one bowl, three different sized plates and one pot? And then comment that there are more dishes to be done later?

                      1. re: linguafood

                        lol sign me up too! DH makes a stir fry for instance, and even with the screen on there's grease e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. Maybe it's gender related - I mean I was expected to know how to cook when I left home. DH expected to find someone who knew their way around the kitchen :)

                        Every time I cook it's the same thing I get my mise ready, and as I use something put it away...what's the saying: "If you have time to lean you have time to clean." I think it's engrained heh...too many restaurant gigs as a student. If I didn't clean as I went I can just picture the mess as DS (20months) pulls the open container of flour over and onto the floor(I'm still finding All Bran Buds here and there from when he got into the pantry before Christmas!)

                    2. re: mamaciita

                      I like that idea! I tend to clean as i go because I was trained do so in a culinary school. My ex was a fantastic cook but leaves a bigger mess afterwards.

                    3. re: BostonZest

                      I also have to clean as I cook because our kitchen is small as well. I hate cleaning but have no choice.

                      1. re: BostonZest

                        In my household, I'm the one who gets the food ON the table; my husband is the one who removes it. I'm happy to do all of the meal prep and cooking so long as he's there to clean up as I work, to clear the table, do the pots and pans and load up the dishwasher.

                      2. Is this a trick question? Who cleans when she can cook?!?

                        One exeption: my husband cooks beautifully, but since his mother prefers cleaning up after the cook, and at his day job he has kitchen staff who spirit away any (and all) messes, any time I want to eat his cooking at home, I am the designated scrubber.

                        1. Fortunately there are those who will clean for good food and those who will cook to avoid cleaning. Put me in the latter group. I started cooking in college decades ago to avoid the cleaning duty and haven't looked back since. And then there are those rare individuals (Moms?) who actually do both.

                          1. my wife and i have an agreement-i cook she cleans. although we both end up helping each other.

                            1. I believe that cleaning is an integral, and unescapable part of cooking and I think ALL Chowhounds know that. I live alone so I like to clean as I go along and then there is no overwhelming mess to clean up after the meal. Works fine for me.

                              Thank God for dirty dishes...
                              Author: Unknown

                              Thank God for dirty dishes,
                              They have a tale to tell.
                              While other folks go hungry,
                              We're eating very well.
                              With home and health and happiness,
                              We surely shouldn't fuss.
                              For by this stack of evidence,
                              Life's been good to us.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: fruglescot

                                This reminds me of a mistake I made in a recent dinner party we hosted at home. I forgot to empty the dish washer before the dinner party. Since the dish washer was occupied during the dinner party, our guests, who wanted to help out but couldn't place their dirty dishes in dish washer because it was full, had to leave the dishes, cups, bowls in our DEEP kitchen sink and on the countertop around the sink by the end of the party. The next day when hubby went to work and I was home (because I had the privilege of going on vacation next day!) alone, I ended up spending half day cleaning the kitchen and loading the dirty dishes in the dish washer (yes, half a day doesn't even include the time for actually washing the dishes).

                                What a valuable lesson - to empty the dish washer before party begins ... which I will surely never forget!

                              2. I love to cook and hate to clean, but I live alone so I have to do both. Cleaning as I go is vital, since I have a severe lack of counter space and dirty dishes lying around inevitably get in the way.

                                1. I cook and sweetie cleans up, and he generally does pretty well. I do try not leave a horrible mess for him. When the kids were little, they cleaned up. When they left home I cleaned up, but one day sweetie said, "I'll take over the cleanup," and it has been wonderful!

                                  1. i often bake cakes to sell, or for friend's special events, including a few for weddings. For some reason, i am really paranoid about digging around in the dishwasher with other dirty dishes and such to put things away as i go, so i pile pile pile up the sink, and once cake is safely in the oven, that's when i feel safe tackle the pile. During those times, i often have to clean right away, as i don't have enough supplies to move on to the next cake all the time, even though i have several cake pans, measuring spoons and cups.

                                    i'm amazed sometimes that even living alone, my dishwasher and sink seem to pile up awfully quickly !! I didn't think i cooked THAT much ! Guess i'm a messer. Sometimes though, living alone can have it's benefits. ....no one will get on my back if i make a pot of soup late in the evening and not scrub it till next day. I guess i'm also one of those people who can happily go off to bed and be able to sleep, while such an atrocity remains in my sink, lol. At other people's home though, i will jump up to help.

                                    My Dad does all the dishes in my parents place, ever since he retired...even when he cooks !! He's actually kinda territorial about it, hehe.

                                    1. I guess I am one of the few who to answer, "both". If I had to choose, it would be to cook, but assuming by cleaning you mean cleaning the post-cooking mess, than I would just as soon do both. In fact, in my house, when I see hubby doing dishes, I often ask him if he would mind if I did them instead: reason being: hubby thinks all cleaning is equivalent, and therefore doesn't mind cleaning the bathroom instead of the kitchen, whereas I find doing dishes to be very satisfying, but cleaning bathrooms to be pure drudgery! Result: thanks to hubby's flexibility, I can't even recall the last time I had to clean a bathroom.

                                      1. The rule of the house is: one cooks, the other cleans. However I often end up cooking AND cleaning. I find it quite peaceful & reflective to wash the pots/pans/dishes by hand (we don't have a dishwasher). I hope I'm not the only one feels this way...

                                        1. For the most part, I do both. I pretty much always do the dishes (which I rather enjoy actually: start with pile of dishes and cluttered kitchen, end with everything put away properly, the kitchen smelling clean and all tidy, immediate reward) regardless of which of us cooks. I do the "serious" cooking for the most part but my wife makes some wonderful things on a regular basis, too. She puts all of the dishes away, though (empties the dishwasher, puts dry items away from the drying rack) which I actually don't like doing at all for some reason. Works out well for us.

                                          1. Well, I actually like cleaning up after cooking, and its a good thing: DH says that I am a very messy cook (he's probably right) and has ruled that if I cook, I have to clean!!

                                            The good news is that he often cooks and cleans himself, so there is a relatively even division of labor....

                                            1. Clean? Are you kidding me?

                                              I hate to clean so much that it actually prevents me from cooking. I think for some people "cleanig" is no bigger a deal than brushing your teeth every day, but for me, I don't understand how people can go on about how roasting a chicken is just as easy as getting takeout--do they not grasp that it results in a greasy roasting pan you have to wrestle into the sink and clean?

                                              Anyway. Sometimes I think of writing a cookbook with all recipes designed to minimize the cleaning.

                                              1. I prefer to cook, but don't mind cleaning. Since I am single and live alone, I have to do both anyway. Doing dishes is wonderful, guilt-free thinking time. I also tend to clean up as I cook.

                                                For years I did everything by hand, as I never had a dishwasher. The house I bought does have a dishwasher, but I still only use it occasionally (such as after a dinner party or when I fill it up with 5 days worth of dishes due to time constraints). For the few dishes I dirty, it makes more sense just to clean them by hand.

                                                One time that I actually LOVE to clean up is after a dinner party. I enjoy basking in the glow of a successful party. Besides, I hate waking up to a completely messy kitchen--even if I'm very tired, I fill the dishwasher and I do what needs to be done by hand (knives, wooden boards, certain glasses, etc.)

                                                1. Cook. I hate cleaning up a bit mess, so I tend to work clean and clean up as I'm cooking.

                                                  1. I believe that cleaning is a integral part of the cooking process, so I have slightly modified my cooking style to make the cleaning process easier and faster. I never had to work the wash station in a restaurant, but I am truly anal about sanitation.

                                                    My kitchen has a dishwater, but I only run it once a week, as it seems just as easy to me to hand wash everything but tableware.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Kelli2006

                                                      I used to do much the same until I read about dishwashers and what they're good at. If you have a reasonably full load in the dishwasher it will use far less water than washing the dishes by hand and they will be far more clean and, in fact, sanitized than washing by hand. I don't know your situation at all, so I'm not advocating that you change what you do, but I was certainly surprised to learn that information and I pass it along.

                                                    2. Cook! I will cook for anyone, and all I ask in return is a little help in the cleanup. I try to stay organized and clean throughout so it's never that bad at the end.

                                                      My favourite person to cook for is my mother. She keeps me company throughout cooking and happily cleans the pots and pans at the end. My boyfriend is another story.. I'm lucky to get a thank you and god forbid he helps load the dishwasher ;)

                                                      1. i'm much better now than before, but my friends would call me pigpen whenever i cooked at their houses...i've now employed the clean as you go method, but i'm firmly on the side of prefer to cook.

                                                        this could be because my mom used to make me wash the dishes after a meal whenever we were invited to dinner at other korean homes. i think it is a korean/asian thing, can anyone confirm?

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: soypower

                                                          I noticed in Korea that at dinner gatherings all the women get together in the kitchen after the meal and do the cleaning, while the men get their beer/soju and have a smoke. I scandalized many of these women by rolling up my sleeves and diving in at the sink. Got chased out of kitchens a couple times by harmony and aujima wielding huge wooden spoons.
                                                          Doesn't happen as much here in the states, but it is still a general trend.

                                                        2. I live for cooking......

                                                          1. I clean as I cook. I am fussy about my kitchen, and can't enjoy my good food in the middle of a mess. No piles of dishes overnight in the kitchen for me.

                                                              1. I prefer to cook even though I'm not good at it! Cleaning always seems like the tedious job with no reward (until the next time you want to cook...)

                                                                1. I prefer cooking, hands down. Cleaning is just a necessary evil (especially dusting - seriously what is the point??? I like to tidy as I cook so as to minimize the amount of cleaning up afterwards.

                                                                  1. Does our answer have to be rational? I like my kitchen to be spotless and to have my things in their propoer place however, I am absolutely terrible about cleaning and don't enjoy it at all.

                                                                    I definitely prefer the cooking!!!

                                                                    1. deb's an outstanding cook. i'm a world-class eater. i gratefully clean-up after one of her meals. let the record show that she returns the favor whenever i take over the kitchen.

                                                                      1. i love to cook, but only in a clean kitchen.... so i guess both?

                                                                        1. Cook, cook, cook; my vote. And many dramatically blown kisses to my Hub who likes to do dishes. Well, likes it more during baseball season, especially, for the company of the radio play-by-play. How long is it until April? <g>

                                                                          I agree with those liking the clean kitchen in which to cook. Makes a big difference.


                                                                          1. Stay out of my kitchen , I have very sharp knives , I will cook , and I will clean . If you want to clean up after the feast , thats fine . Just stay out of my way while I am cooking . If you have a small kitchen like I do , cleaning and cooking go hand in hand . Interrupt my schedule , and your food will suffer . I would prefer people to come over , eat , drink , eat a lot more , eat even more , drink a little , and then go home . If I didn't want a mess , I wouldn't invite a whole mess of people over . I love entertaining , people in my kitchen at 10:30pm in not entertaining for anyone , that's why I have a dining room . In fact , really , thats why I have a fireplace , coffee or a cordial by the fire while I prepare a nice last nibble ( lagniappe ) , stuffed , happy , and ready for bed . Cleaning is an inevitable consequence of entertaining .

                                                                            1. Chowhounds prefer to eat.

                                                                              1. I cook, I have a dishwasher(wife) on staff to clean the kitchen, and to enjoy the food I turn out.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                  OOOOh, Jim; word to the wise, here. I have occasionally referred to my Hub as the Dishwasher, to no great kudos in my direction. Even less so if I flick a bit (of ick) off a pan and proclaim to him that the Dishwasher must be malfunctioning. Yep, I am stupid in my marital statements, but I wanted to share the caution with you! Dishwasher=helpmate/spouse/love-of-your-life/one-without-whom one-could-not-exist-in-this-plane, and so on. :-)


                                                                                  1. re: cayjohan

                                                                                    good advise,

                                                                                    but in my case when I jokingly ask my wife what she is making us for dinner, she says "nothing I am just the dishwasher, you are the cook". I guess we have both accepted our roles. Truth be told I'd rather do anything than wash dishes, and I love to cook, so its win win all the way around..