Scrubbing, Spraying, Sanitizing, and Sorting… Dish Crew!

Each Tuesday night and Sunday morning, my cabin mates from Gordy and I turn on our speaker to maximum volume in the dish room and start scrubbing. After every breakfast and dinner, a cabin is designated to be on dish crew. Dish crew consists of cleaning all the dishes, silverware, cooking supplies, and serving dishes. There are three different stations within the dish room; pot sink, dirty side, and clean side. My cabin of 8 girls typically has 3 at pot sink, 3 on the dirty side, and 2 on the clean side. In the small dish room, the 8 of us bustle around, the walls echoing of singing and laughter. 

Pot sink consists of scrubbing the larger pots and pans from the kitchen in 3 huge sinks. I am almost always on pot sink with my friends McKenna and Sophia. Me on the left, McKenna in the middle, and Sophia on the right. Every time we walk into the dish room, rolling up our sleeves and tying back our hair, we groan at the roof-tall stack of dishes and get started. Our initial dread is quickly overtaken by methodical scrubbing and passing of dishes. While we clean and clean, music blasts, inciting impromptu dance breaks between pots. With Cordelia on aux, we listen to either Billy Joel, Simon and Garfunkel, Lorde, or just hit shuffle on any of her playlists. Before we start playing, we all pitch in votes for what we want to listen to. 

Dirty side, consisting of Bec, the racker, Cordelia, the sprayer, and Kemi, the racker/pusher, is the engine of the operation. Cordelia gets all the plates and cleans them with a power sprayer. She multitasks with cleaning plates and cueing up songs that are recommended from across the room. Bec at first focuses on racking all the plates and bowls onto trays to give to Cordelia, then she makes her way over the pot sink, grabbing the clean dishes to put on racks. Kemi is usually walking all over, first to pot sink to grab dishes, then dashing to the Hobart to to make sure the trays are going through, and finally out to the coffee bar to mop the floor. They all work as one unit to spray the plates clean and rack them onto a tray to go through the Hobart. The Hobart is our industrial sanitizing machine. Each time you open it, steam rushes out, warming the room. 

After the dishes go through the Hobart, they make their way to the clean side. Our clean side typically consists of the kitchen mazes memorizers, Addy and Maya. They know where everything in the kitchen goes like the back of their palms. After waiting for the dishes to cool down a bit from the piping-hot Hobart, they gather as many dishes as they can to bring to the kitchen a room away. They know precisely what goes where, down to a science. Nothing warms you up from the cold Maine evenings like carrying a warm stack of plates over to their spot beneath the silverware. 

The moment we finish, we all make sure everything is done and gather our things with music blasting through the Wallace and smiles on our faces as we move on to our next activity. 

Cate Tracy, The Thacher School, San Francisco, CA

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