More Old Habits Dying Hard

Since I’m living with my parents I don’t cook as much as I used to, and while I’m not completely heartbroken over this, I do miss cooking some of my favorite dishes. Yesterday I decided to make a peanut sauce chicken dish that tastes pretty close to one of my favorites from a Thai restaurant in Chicago. I washed the veggies, chopped them just so, and reached for a paper towel to get clean water and rinse off the cutting board.

That’s when it hit me. I don’t need to use the special water to clean the cutting board. Or the vegetables, for that matter. Here in the US the special water comes RIGHT OUT OF THE FAUCET. You just push the lever and out it flows.

I’m feeling like I’ve shared these revelations here before, but I’ve been here over six months and it still caught me off guard how much EASIER it is to prepare meals when the water that pours into the sink can also touch your food.

On a side note, I discovered the red onions here in Michigan are a gazillion times stronger than those in Mexico. My eyes never once teared up in all the meals I cooked there, but yesterday I had to leave the room just to clear my eyes. If only it’d occurred to me then that I could have just stuck my head under the sink.

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


  1. I barely have plumbing at all. Our plumbing leaks, so we turn it off outside and only turn it on when absolutely necessary. Since our cat kept knocking over the water bowl, we turned the sink into a big water bowl. It’s amazing how rarely I actually use running water. Maybe once a week?

    If we get a new RV today, I’m going to be floored at having a functioning sink, not to mention an oven and burners inside! It’s amazing what you get used to. I can’t say I miss it–you just sorta get used to it–but when I have it again, it sure will feel like a luxury! Oh gosh! And a potty inside my house, too! Now that will be something!

    • It is crazy how you learn to adapt. We ran out of water so often that I definitely know how to get by with only a little bowlful. Although I will tell you it KILLED me to leave dishes sitting dirty in the sink. I’m a compulsive rinser.

      Good luck with the RV! Does this mean you’ll travel a bit more?

      • Probably not. For one, we’ll probably get a fifth wheel and then the truck to pull it will have to wait until spring.

        For two… well, you know. In which case I’m feeling in more of a “hunting” mood than a traveling mood.

        For three, I love it here. I love the desert. Seriously, I love it so much that when I’m driving, I stare at it and wish I could roll in it like a horse rolls in hay or a dog rolls in grass.

  2. kevin

    I will add that I too have been amazed at what, and how much the human spirit can ‘get used to’. I feel that while ‘suffering / going without’ is not a good thing, the healing / aftermath can remind us how rich our everydays are. And by the by, I love red onion and as such tend to chop a couple per month and store them in the freezer for salads and marinades… A fan in the area will help the tearing issue amazingly!

  3. JLC

    Ugh! I try to cut my onions as quickly as possible and then stand back out of the ‘burn zone’. It never bothered me when I wore contacts, but now, ouch!

    Glad you are enjoying your clean water!! I still use Brita water for broths and coffee and stuff I consume but I use tap for rinsing produce and boiling pasta. Its funny, because when I lived in So. California, the water was/is hard and tastes nasty, so when we visited my family near Sacramento, we always stated how great their water tasted. The last time I visited them, my aunt handed me a glass of tap water and stated that Sacramento water is great. I tried to hide my expression, took a sip, and dumped the rest down the drain when she wasn’t looking. Sacramento doesn’t hold a candle to Oregon’s water!! But I don’t have the heart to tell her that. πŸ˜‰

    • That’s funny about the water. I drink a ton so I always notice the water in the different places I visit. And I swear I could tell the difference between the different bottled brands in Mexico.

  4. Carole

    Silly wabbit. Cut onions under running water or in a bowl of water. No more tears, just like magic. Then run the blade of the knife over your hands to get rid of the smell. I’m a wealth of potentially useless information πŸ™‚

    • You know, the entire time I was cutting I kept thinking that there was something about water that would make it tolerable, but I didn’t actually try. πŸ˜›

      Rubbing a knife on myself is just asking for trouble.

  5. Allen

    The sharper the knife, the less “crushing” you do to the onion and the fewer drops of onion juice float in the air. Keep the knife sharp and cut in a slicing motion. It won’t end the eye problem, but will make it tolerable.

    … from the desk of Chef Allen in the naked futon kitchen. See me next week for frying bacon in the buff.

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