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My Dishwashing Relationship
You may already know from subscribing to the Kitchen Detail blog that I have a difficult relationship with dishwashing. One might call it a form of détente. So it should come as no surprise that not only do I have strong feelings about dish brushes, but I also have serious opinions about dishwashing detergents as well.
‘Tis The Dishwashing Season
The other person in this house who gets his hands wet in the kitchen sink is quite opinionated about dishwashing appliances, whereas I just want to see the button go on. But hand-washing dishes and I go a long way back. I actually learned a lot about dishwashing liquids by going to food and kitchen trade fairs. In the 90s (I started going in the 70s when I first opened La Cuisine) companies that made air purifiers, detergents and hand care products began showing up. I brought back samples from every company. Absolutely nothing stood out. Then a few companies that were beginning to weigh in on the interest in organic and non-petrochemically produced detergents began to show up. I tried them all, too. And this little company in Quebec, Canada bubbled up as superior to all the other competing brands.
A Quebecois Start Up
Fruits & Passion, including its Cucina division, with its sourcing of organic and environmentally friendly ingredients, was a small independent start-up founded in 1992,
later purchased by the employees. Their Cucina line of kichen soap, hand cream and dishwashing soap was introduced in 2001. And even though it is now under the umbrella of LGH&H, which has a stronger distribution profile, all its products are still made in Canada with an adherence to ethical and sustainability standards. They currently offer their dishwashing liquid in a small selection of flavors. Frankly the Cucina fragrance profiles are quite refreshing. None of that wretched artificial plug-in air freshener smell. The male dishwasher in the family prefers the Olive and Coriander, and I am partial to the Sea Salt and Amalfi Lemon, but they also have a Lime Zest and Cyrpress, Sanguinelli Orange and Fennel and even Grapefruit and Rhubarb. All smell delicious and do a superb job.
What’s The Difference
So, what kind of difference could this make for all of us dishwashing prisoners? For starters, it’s a top-of-the-line degreaser that’s also eco-friendly. There are no petrochemicals in this dish detergent. This is a big deal. Instead, the manufacturer uses cornstarch-derived cleaning agents and coconut oil. And, since I often forget to wear gloves, their PH-balanced formulas truly do not leave your hands dry, red and itchy. With your KD approved dish brush or without, Cucina dish detergent is really good at removing dried food from your dishes and pans, plus the grease-cutting is phenomenal. A little bit will make a lot of suds, too. Even the somewhat stodgy and fussy Good Housekeeping Institute had to admit that Cucina dish detergent was pretty cool. They also liked that Fruits and Passion bottles were recyclable and that they offered refills – which I buy by the case. And, yes, it is more expensive than Dawn — but when you count how little you use and that all their ingredients are listed (which is not done by many of the traditional brands), I think it is worth the extra cost. And something else I noticed on bargain-priced detergents when we have vacationed – and I don’t think it’s my imagination – but you have to use a lot of low-cost liquid to get the suds.
Once Your Dishes Are Dried
I use Cucina’s hand lotion and hand soap in the kitchen sink and for guests as well. And why not? The same thoughtful ingredients are used, the containers are recyclable and refills are offered. Cucina hand soaps are made with cold pressed olive oil and its derivatives. The difference on your hands is palpable. Again, it is a biodegradable formula, and you can get a large refill to use in their glass bottles or your own dispensers. I use the hand lotion once I have been released from the sink, but my husband doesn’t. He doesn’t know what he’s missing. An extra word about their little tubes of hand butter. I carry one in my purse at all times. And we had a hard time keeping them in stock at La Cuisine. Not exactly a cooking need, but in the winter, a dab on your dishwashing-harassed hands makes such a difference. Not to mention repairing the ravages of repeated hand-sanitizing these days. Think stocking-stuffers.
After owning one of the best cooking stores in the US for 47 years, Nancy Pollard writes a blog about food in all its aspects – recipes, film, books, travel, superior sources and food related issues.