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How to Wash Up, Italian Style

The subject of this small and insignificant entry is going to be washing up. A strange subject for a blog post, you may well think, and I would agree with you, as it’s one of those run of the mill everyday simple things in life that nobody every really considers. I mean, who would think that there could be different washing up techniques around the world? I didn’t, at least I didn’t before I came to Italy.

Back in the UK I was never what you could call the most efficient or enthusiastic washer upper, but then who is?

My ‘technique’, if you can call it that, would involve simply squeezing some Fairy liquid into a bowl, filling said bowl with hot water and, well, er, washing the dishes and leaving them to dry on the draining board. The washing up skill is something that I had picked up through a combination of close observation and on the job experience.  I would add that I would only become involved in said process if I had been unable to escape from the house, lock myself in the loo, or I had not managed to come up with some other devious little excuse for avoiding this odious little chore.

What I never really expected was to have to learn a whole new way of washing up in Italy.

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Here, more often than not, one does not use a plastic bowl, and the fairly liquid equivalent ( Fairy liquid is not sold in Italy) is squirted into a glass, into which hot water is duly added. Said washing of those dirty plates, unclean pots and pans, and other soiled items then proceeds in the following manner:

  • Dab your washing thingy, one of those green plastic abrasive squares, the name of which escapes me, into the soap and water mixture.
  • Then proceed to scrub the dirty stuff off.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, you should leave the hot tap running while you are doing this.
  • Next, you rinse each newly washed item individually under the running cold tap, and place it in the draining cupboard which usually drips over the kitchen sink.

Being of a curious nature, I once inquired as to the reasoning behind this, what was for me, curious, washing up technique, and was duly informed, by my Italian other half that washing the dishes and rinsing them in this way means that your food will not end up with a strange and unusual soapy flavour. Now, I can never recall having eaten soapy tasting food back in the UK.

I believe this washing up technique is common throughout Italy, with minor regional variations, of course.

If anyone out there considers that my observation is complete and utter tosh, then I would be obliged if they would tell me so, and I would be even more grateful if they could also inform me as to the existence of any other notable washing up techniques they have come across.

Maybe we could all combine our ideas and end up writing a world wide best seller on the subject. Otherwise just ignore my blatherings and go and do something more useful instead. Like dusting, for example.

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