I have almost run the dishwasher more in the past 15 days than I have in the past three months. I’m certain of it.

You see normally, my boyfriend and I play the dishwasher game. You probably play this game too, although the rules require that you never admit it, so your secret is safe with me. You pretend not to notice as the racks fill up with dirty dishes throughout the week. Instead, you rearrange plates, bowls, mugs and glasses to squeeze just one more sticky container inside. You reason so long as there’s enough room to put one more cup inside, then technically you don’t have to be the one to fill up the soap and run the dishwasher.

Come on Down, You’re the Next Contestant on the Dishwasher Game

And then the game intensifies once one of us breaks down and drops the soap in the compartment. How many days can we go without one of us breaking down and emptying the dishwasher so we can refill it again? Since neither of us is about to accept chore assignments, and since we eat out so much, we usually only need to run the dishwasher once a week, sometimes less, occasionally more. But now, since I’m clearly the one making the mess, I have to take responsibility and load and unload the dishwasher every time and it really sucks.

The present state of my dishwasher.

Hello, Kitchen, It’s Nice to Meet You

But since I’ve started this project, I’ve been cramming the dishwasher with Tupperware containers, knives, forks, spatulas, plates, bowls,┬ácolanders and pots almost every day. I’ve never done so much chopping, slicing, dicing, marinating, mixing, sauteying and stirring in my entire life. If I want to eat, I have to prepare something. No pulling a box out of the freezer and popping it in the microwave. No takeout. No downtown dining. The Farmers’ Market Project requires spending a lot of time in my kitchen for food prep and clean up. And that leads to a lot of dirty dishes. I hand wash many of them, and still I’m filling up my dishwasher constantly.

Now Serving: Surprises

Is it worth it? Yes. I’m remembering that I love cooking. I cook so rarely, that I don’t think I’ve ever truly known that cooking is something I love to do. I’m also learning that, like my mom, I’m good at whipping up tasty concoctions with whatever ingredients happen to be in my fridge. I’ve followed few recipes since I’ve started this project. I just add a dash of this and a spoonful of that and it always turns out delicious.

I’m certain some of my shopping, cooking and dining habits will change at the end of Day 30. But I know what’s not going to change, once this project is over, I’m going back to playing the dishwasher game. And I plan on winning, over and over again.