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Question About Clearing/Dishwashing After A Meal

14 years ago

In the "Are You Thanked For Cooking" post someone spoke about thanking the host and asking to be pointed to the sink to do the dishes. This brought to mind a discussion DD & I had last week.

While I appreciate someone's offer to help clear the table and help with diswashing when I've hosted a meal (& always sincerely extend same offer when I'm a guest), the truth is I prefer doing it myself.

If it's late and it's been a long evening and everyone is ready to call it a night, I much prefer seeing my guests off and taking my time, organizing my clean-up and letting my thoughts drift back to the pleasant evening we had.

If the gathering/visit is still ongoing, I prefer having the guests relax and continue conversation while I put away perishables and quietly stack or load dishes & set pots in the sink to soak. I don't mind if they want to keep me company sitting at the island while I do it. I just know the lay of the land - how everything works, where everything is, and like doing it myself.

The only time when this doesn't apply is when it's a big family gathering when everyone is full and eager to get up to do something. Then, the whole brigade of washers & wipers - at least at my Mom's - ends up creating another little party of its own.

One of the downsides, I find, of people stepping in to do dishes in your home is that it ends up being more work to manage people than it would have been to do it yourself. And there's always the next several days when all of your favorite spoons/knives/spatulas, etc. cannot be found because someone put them in the wrong drawer.

This came up with DD because she had just served a birthday dinner and wanted her guests to move into the LR while gifts were opened so she could clean the table & reset it for BD cake, coffee & dessert. Her MIL was insistent on "helping" and set about opening and slamming cupboards and drawers, clanging dishes & silverware and tossing things into the disposal that shouldn't have gone in, etc. - generally causing stress and disruption.

DD said no amount of of explanation or persuasion could stop her from "helping." She kept insisting it was what you were supposed to do when you went to someone's home for a meal.

Do any of you prefer doing your own clean-up after serving a meal to guests (not immediate family)? Or are DD & I off base?

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