Sunday, December 26, 2010

Your garbage disposal: Your friend, even when it's your enemy

R.I.P #1M.

The garbage disposal and I have a history.

When I was growing up my mother drove me nuts always telling me what not to put down the disposal. Why? I wondered--wasn't that what it was for? When I moved out on my own into a tiny, one bedroom apartment and had my own disposal, I put everything--banana peels, carrot scrapings, potato peelings--down my disposal (can you see where this is going?). By the end of the first week in my new place my kitchen sink was completely backed up. I called my landlord and he sent a plumber out to fix it.

I chatted with the plumber as he worked on the sink: Yeah, I'd just moved in; Wasn't it crazy about the sink; I couldn't imagine what was wrong. Then he started pulling out handfuls of potato peelings, muttering to himself about stupid people and the things they put down their sink.


I'd made a big pot of clam chowder for my first meal in my new place and I'd used lots of potatoes.

I was shocked. And horrified. And mortified. It was a good thing the plumber had his head under the sink because if he could have seen my face he would have known instantly that it was me, and not the previous tenant, who had shoved a bucket-load of potato peelings down the garbage disposal. Of course I didn't admit to anything--I was 19, on my own for the first time, and couldn't begin to pluck up enough courage [maturity] to admit that I was the guilty potato-peel party. After that episode I was very careful about what I put down the sink. When treated well, your garbage disposal is most definitely your friend.

A year later I married my first husband. He was in the Army, and 8 months later we were transferred to Germany. He went first, got himself situated and found us an apartment, and I followed a little later with our household goods. I remember him giving me a tour of our new apartment. The kitchen was so tiny, with just a fridge, a very small counter and a few cupboards, and a very small sink. I looked closer at the sink--no garbage disposal! What?! What are you supposed to do with all the stuff?!

When we were transferred to North Carolina three years later, one of my apartment requirements: GARBAGE DISPOSAL.

It's now almost 20 years after my potato-peel incident, and I'm the mother carefully guarding the garbage disposal, one of the VIPs of my kitchen: "Hey! Don't you peel that carrot/potato into the sink unless you're going to pick every one of the peels out and put them in the garbage!" But even with such close watching accidents do happen; the occasional spoon gets chewed up, and just the other week my 3 year-old dropped my earring down the sink.

And then there was this, our most recent garbage disposal casualty: my beloved decorating tip #1M. The #1M is a giant, partially closed, rounded star tip, and it's what I use for piping swirls of frosting onto the tops of cupcakes (because frosting cupcakes with a spatula takes 10x as long and doesn't look nearly as pretty). The partially closed star creates delicate, fluttery, ruffly ribbons of icing, but when pitted against the raw power of our disposal it became a bent, mangled mess.

I forgive you, my garbage disposal, because that's what friends do. And the next time I have to clean out a container of something that's been in the back corner of the fridge for too long and is no longer recognizable, I'll have payback.


  1. Ugh....I've done that to a tip before! But not to my 1M, so if you need to borrow until you get a new know where I am!

  2. Potato story is very interesting, That one incident made a complete makeover towards garbage disposal, Good post.

  3. I've had more than a few tips get chewed up in the garbage disposal! My husband once put egg shells down our sink which clogged it. When he used industrial strength liquid plumber to try and fix it, toxic fumes formed and we had to call the fire dept.!

  4. So funny. I've done this MANY times. I was informed many years ago, by a very serious plumber, that a garbage disposal is NOT for garbage. Allrighty then.

  5. I had a garbage disposal, but it was always breaking as the kids will always put something down it they shouldn't put down it, then I would have to call the repair man, and each time it cost me money to fix. But do not get a whirlaway, they do not honor there warranty!


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