The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

On The Table

May 29, 2013

Cheryle Finley: Dishwasher does more than just dishes

JOPLIN, Mo. — Though I don't mean to use my dishwasher for storage, I don't always use it for its intended purpose simply because I don't like to unload it.

I think it's all in my head. Reminds me of when I was a server at a restaurant some 40 years ago and the feeling I got when someone would order hot tea. It wasn't difficult. Get some hot water, a tea bag and a cup. But, for some reason, it was my absolute least favorite ordered item. Not a big deal at all, but I had it in my head that it was a pain, and I never got past that. Same with putting away clean dishes from the dishwasher.

While it does make a great hideaway for pots and pans or extra glasses, there are other cleaning uses for this kitchen appliance. Some are ingenious and others are kind of far-fetched, courtesy of

Needing to clean canvas shoes? Remove the liners and into the dishwasher they go, as can jelly shoes and crocs. Baseball caps come out clean and fresh. It can also clean your hair brushes and combs (remove hair first), makeup brushes, kitchen brushes, plastic toys (kids and pets), vent covers, cup holders from strollers and cars, switch plates, stove and cabinet knobs, trash-can lids, plastic faux flowers, refrigerator shelves, soap dishes and toothbrush holders, and plastic desk accessories such as pen holders and light fixture covers.

Some unconventional items you can clean in your dishwasher include hub caps, dustpans and sporting equipment such as shin guards, knee pads and mouth guards. Then there are those who say you can run your computer keyboard through a cycle. I'm afraid to try that one. The only items I have actually run through my dishwasher is potatoes; it's perfect for getting a large number of spuds ready for baking. But be sure to place them on the top rack and skip adding detergent. From looking at this list, it appears I am not using my dishwasher to its fullest potential.

Wanting to make some guacamole but the avocados aren't ripe enough? If you can wait just 24 hours, advises putting the avocados in a brown paper bag, add a couple of bananas and close the bag. The gasses released by the bananas should ripen your avocados in just a day, so your wait time is shortened considerably when compared with ripening the avocados on your kitchen counter.

Sometimes my typing doesn't end up as planned and a recipe is listed incorrectly. I assure you I try to get them right the first time. My apologies to those who tried the Vidalia onion recipe last week. After promising you how wonderful the onions would be, I mistyped the amount of vinegar needed, adding an extra cup. It's not as bad as the time a "/" was left out of a recipe that listed a 1/4 gallon of vinegar, which instead appeared as 14 gallons of vinegar for a pickle recipe. But it's wrong and I wish I had caught it earlier. I'm running this recipe again, and I'm sorry for any wasted ingredients that resulted in trying this recipe last week.

Just about anything can be put on a skewer and called a kebob. Chicken, beef, pork, lamb, shrimp, tuna, calamari, salmon, scallops, herbs, corn on the cob, onions, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, pineapple, mushrooms and just about any other vegetable. With grilling season officially starting last weekend, I want to share a kebob recipe from If you have ever had a shrimp boil and enjoyed it, this is the recipe for you. If you have never had this combination but like the ingredients separately, you will really like them cooked together. Pull the finished product from the skewers and put them on newspaper in the middle of the table and enjoy.

For dessert, the gooey chocolate peanut bars recipe is from Taste of Home. These are easy to make and are the perfect dessert bar. Hope you have a wonderful week and happy eating!


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