And now Saveur magazine's cool, annual top 100 list of "foods, restaurants, drinks, people, place, and things," has finally given hand-washing dishes its due:
"The table has been cleared, and the last of your dinner guests has been ushered out into the night. The previous days' tumult of planning, shopping, and cooking has yielded another evening to remember-- and a sink full of sauce-smeared plates and grease-smudged stemware. In the postprandial hush, you calmly take stock of the task at hand and begin your labor. Working unhurriedly from the top of the pile, your hands gripping the soapy sponge, you work rhythmically as your body warms to the task and your mind, stoked by food and conversation, quiets itself. Call us old-fashioned, ascetic, or even slightly masochistic, but there's something about hand-washing dishes that we find, well cleansing." (by David Sax)
In The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and Women's Work, Kathleen Norris explains how housework provides a perfect opportunity for spiritual depth and transformation:
"It is a paradox of human life that in worship, as in human love, it is in the routine and the everyday that we find the possibilities for the greatest transformation. Both worship and housework often seem perfunctory. And both, by the grace of God, may be anything but. At its Latin root, perfunctory' means 'to get through with,' and we can easily see how liturgy, laundry, and what was traditionally been conceived of as 'women's work' can be done in that indifferent spirit. But the joke is on us, and what we think we are only 'getting through' has the power to change us, just as we have the power to transform what seems meaningless-- the endless repetitions of a litany or the motions of vacuuming a floor. What we dread as mindless activity can free us, mind and heart, for the workings of the Holy Spirit..."