If I held a state secret and some spy agency wanted to get it out of me, all they would have to do is stand me in front of a sink filled with a dozen dirty colanders. That is my bête noire, my white whale, my nightmare. So horrible is it that I actually Googled “colander cleaning” to see if I could find any tips that would make it less stressful. I found plenty of links about using a colander to clean other things: breast pumps, chandeliers, “your delicates,” ancient dirty Roman coins. Nothing in the first two pages, at least, on how to really get a colander clean.
It’s the little bits of pasta that trouble me. They stick in the holes and once you free them, they find their way to the bottom of the colander where they get stuck again. They are in the crevices of the metal rim and handles. I had a fashionable blue mesh colander from a cook store that I had to throw away because I couldn’t take it anymore. I bought a sturdy stainless steel one to replace it, thinking the bigger holes would cause less anxiety. I scrub it with a Brillo pad and still can’t get the pasta out.
It takes me two hours to clean the bathroom but I can at least feel that I’ve accomplished something. And I’m not a neat freak by any account. I don’t worry about germs, really, and have no qualms about eating leftovers. But damn that colander: it stands drying in the rack, reveals a speck of spaghetti I missed, and torments me.
The colander from last night’s dinner is sitting on the stove. Even thinking about its dozens of scarred holes makes me feel manic. Most likely, thankfully, my husband will wash it because he usually does the dishes (because he’s the best husband in the world). Tell me that’s not love.