Monday, January 11, 2016

Getting Stuff Clean!


Can you believe we are almost done with sharing appliances with you?  I know, I know...this is the kitchen of a thousand appliances, and guess what?  I am neither ashamed nor disappointed!

So now that you know almost all about how we intend to sauté, braise, boil, bake, and roast, steam and warm, not to mention how we are going to keep all our perishables from perishing, it's time to talk about all of those dishes and pots and pans and utensils that are about to get dirty!

You know where we are going with this, it is DISHWASHER time.

There are a lot of really good dishwashers on the market, and once again, I refer you to our rules for appliance buying:

1.  Figure out your budget
2.  Figure out the actual needs of your family
3.  Research available models within your budget extensively, and ask people who have the units how they feel about them
4.  Buy the best quality product you can afford!

For us, we knew a few things going in:

We planned for two dishwashers for this kitchen.  We run our current dishwasher at least twice a day...we have two people eating breakfast at home, I eat lunch and snacks at home, plus I am usually testing recipes of some sort during the day, then we cook dinner.  When we entertain, the dishwasher runs pretty much nonstop for about three days, a day and a half of prepping and cooking mess, followed by a day and a half of dishes, serving pieces, and glassware.  We have it down to something of a science, we load all of the appetizer and dinner plates and flatware right in when we clear and set it to run.  Then, when our guests leave, we empty, reload with the serving pieces and dessert items and run it again.  In the morning we empty, reload with any remaining serving pieces and run it, and then one last time for glassware.  I don't love doing glasses after a party with dishes, invariably there are some little bits and pieces that get stuck inside a wine glass.  So I do all the glasses separately with an extra boost of finishing rinse agent so that they come out extra sparkly!

So you can imagine our delight in thinking about halving the amount of time we spend waiting for one load to finish so that we can reload!

Our current dishwasher is a pretty good model, and does a lot very well, but the one problem area has always been the flatware.  On a day to day basis, when it is just the two of us making a few forks and spoons dirty and they have plenty of room in the flatware basket, there is no problem.  But invariably for entertaining, some spoons get nestled, some things get stuck and at least 10-15% of the flatware pieces have to get run through a second time.  So while we wanted all of the basics that you want in a dishwasher, large capacity, different cycle options, excellent efficiency, a dealbreaker for me was that I wanted a separate tray level for flatware.

If you haven't seen these, they look like this:

All of your cutlery pieces get their own little slot, so everything gets clean!
And the minute you research a cutlery tray, the first brand that pops up is Miele.

For us, this was probably the appliance we needed to research the least, because we know about a dozen people who have them and every single one of them absolutely loves it!  They swear by the functionality, many of them have some older models that still work beautifully without a glitch, and they all agree that the cutlery tray is something they will never go without again.  So we were pretty sure going in that Miele was going to be our brand of choice.

When we went to the showroom at the Mart in Chicago, that choice was completely solidified!  These things are the end all be all of dishwashers.  There is amazing internal flexibility, trays that raise and lower to accommodate various sizes of things, and they are the quietest ones on the market.  This is really essential since we will be doing most of our dinners in the kitchen, and it will be great to be able to run them with people in the room and not make a racket.  They have four options for finishes, white, black, stainless, or panel ready so that they can disappear into your cabinetry.  And they have a range of models with various features so that you can find the one that best fits your needs.

We ended up picking the Diamond model.  It had all of the features we wanted, the 3D cutlery tray, 8 different operating modes, including one for china and crystal, and a huge capacity, able to hold up to 16 placesettings at once!  The trays are very flexible, so we can configure one for regular dishes, and one for pots and pans and large serveware.  It is panel-ready, since we wanted to match it to our cabinets.  It was the clear winner for us and we were very excited to have found it.

So much stuff fits in these things!

Fits right into your cabinetry.

And then Scott in the showroom said...."You know this one has the knock to open feature?"

What the what now?

He closed the dishwasher.  Then he rapped twice on the door.  And the door...POPPED OPEN.

Okay, in our life we spend a lot of time explaining why we are going low-tech in many ways...this is not a "smart home", we aren't filling it with the latest gadgets and features, they all seem to me like unnecessary complications destined to create potential for little things going glitchy all the time.  We are not putting in a garbage disposal in the sink (I hate them), or a garbage compactor, or any number of other non essential items.

But I have to admit, when Scott knocked on that dishwasher and it gently popped right open as if to say "Hello there, how can I address your dishwashing needs?", Charming Suitor and I were giddy as kids.

And no, that feature is not why we chose the model we did.  But yes, we did each knock on the dishwasher about 42 times before we left, giggling sheepishly every time.  And I can bet that it is one of the first things either of us will do when taking new folks on a tour of our kitchen!

The decision to do panel ready was a hard one.  Charming Suitor doesn't love kitchens where all of the appliances disappear into the cabinets, he feels like it is off-putting for guests, randomly opening everything in the room looking for the fridge or dishwasher.  But because we have so many appliances going in this place, Marcy, our amazing designer over at Poggenpohl, thought that we would want to consider just for the dishwashers to let them blend.  So we compromised by ordering handles that are definitively larger than the rest of the handles on the cabinets, so that there is a clear visual clue that these are the dishwashers, but preventing our kitchen from resembling an appliance showroom!  Thanks, Marcy :)

Never thought I'd say it, but I cannot wait to start washing dishes up in here!

Yours in Good Taste,
The Polymath


  1. I have two Mieles (in two homes, mind you--I don't have anything near your fabulous kitchen in size or amount of cooking!) and I love them. Especially the quiet. Now that everyone wants open flowing space, the need is dire for a dishwasher to shut the hell up and let everyone hear themselves think. I just wish the coffee maker and refrigerator were as quiet.

    I will say this, though: we in America have not managed to convince the Germans to eat cereal in the morning. There is a dearth of space for bowls. I suppose I should think about reconfiguring the innards.

    Oh, and the special salts additive. What's up with that? Do yours have that? I am baffled and have no idea where to buy it ... do I really have to drive out to Abt?

    1. The special salts are for the built-in water-softener, which is good if you live in a place where you have hard water. The rule of thumb is that if you have a water-softener for your home, use the feature in your dishwasher, if you don't , you don't have to worry about it! But for people who live in places where it is an issue, I think is it an awesome built-in feature!

  2. I am so excited to see this kitchen when it is done. My suggestion is you have a contest when it is complete and one of you followers wins a tour of your kitchen along with one of your fabulous meals cooked just for them.

  3. And for those who can't afford a Miele, Bosch makes a good second choice - with many of the same features - 3rd cutlery rack, adjustable racks, dead quiet, time remaining light on floor. Love it! Wish I had more space in my kitchen for a second one - such a great idea :)