In the Kitchen with OCD

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.

5 Comments In the Kitchen with OCD

  1. Scranus July 11, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Firstly, I love you. (still)

    Ok, next, try a good plastic one maybe. I have no trouble cleaning mine (I reserve the metal one for other stuff that won’t stick like pasta, etc.)

    If that fails, maybe try a coated one (coated preferably with transdermal clomipramine).

  2. Meg July 11, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    “Transdermal clomipramine,” eh? Sounded like a sexually transmitted disease, so I looked it up. OCD medication for cats? Hah!

    I (still) love you, too, Scranus. :)

  3. Miss-Black July 12, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    Be a man! Pull that pasta out of the boiling water with your bare hands!

    If it’s any consolation, Mr. Black shares your pain. Every time he’s sees the colander sitting in the sink he moans and groans about it. The only genuine advice I can offer is to try is to try installing a dishwasher. That’s what I’ve decided to do.

  4. MuckThatGuy August 9, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    My mother is batshit crazy. However, she’s well-learned in the vocation of home makery. This probably isn’t the silver bullet that you’re looking for, but it does make things easier.

    When you strain your pasta, drain the boiling water into a pot only slightly larger than the colander. Serve the pasta to wherever it’s final destination may be, and then drop the colander into the hot water you strained out.

    The hot oil/water mixture helps work the tiny pieces out a little quicker… at least from my experience. When I pull it out, I just spray it (concave down)… and I rarely see anything left behind.

  5. Meg August 10, 2007 at 8:48 am

    Thanks for the tip, MTG. It sounds like it would work. Although I’m tempted to somehow wrangle Miss B’s suggestion (buy a dishwasher). It would mean enlarging the kitchen, but what the hell.


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