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Look, I realize it probably doesn't matter, it was just a staged photo-op.  But that is not how you wash dishes in a commercial kitchen.  Any chef worth his salt would cringe at the way he went about cleaning.  And that totally makes sense, I mean Paul Ryan has never had a real job other than Congress in his whole life and his "summer work" is about as suspicious as his sub 3 hour marathon time.  But it still says something about a person who thinks there is no skill or technique in something like dish washing and just assumes he can do it correctly because it is a skill set he believes is beneath him.  Harsh you say?  I ask you this, have you ever volunteered or worked in a kitchen?  If you have you will know you didn't just go up to a sink and start washing dishes.  And if you did you probably got yelled at by the dish washer for not doing it right.  That is why the first thing you do is ask questions.  For one, why are there 3 sinks?  Why is the soap in a giant gallon sized bottle that is not very easy to pour?  Why is there no brush?  The answer is because you don't wash dishes in a professional kitchen like you do at home.  And the fact is if you watch that video, you see that Ryan was washing dishes like he does at home.  Which makes it clear he doesn't know how a real kitchen works.  And that is okay.  He doesn't have to.  But the fact he thinks he knows how is why he is so dangerous.  

If you really care how to wash dishes in a kitchen I'll do my best below the fold...

Here is a link to the video from CBS' website

First and foremost, no one should be in a kitchen without a hair net!  I suppose you could make the argument that there was no active food prep going on, but that is a bit like saying you don't need to use a condom because you plan to pull out.  Not the most elegant simile but I think you get the point.  Just because there is a low chance of getting hair in someone's food doesn't mean you don't wear proper protection.

Moving on to dish washing.

So basically all kitchens are set up with 3 sink systems.  If it is a small kitchen you can have 2 or ::gasp:: 1 sink, but the principals are still the same.  One sink is filled with soap water, one sink is filled with rinse water and one sink is filled with sanitizer water.  

The first sink is the soap water.  That is why the soap is in that giant bottle in the video, because you don't use it like Dawn and pour a bit on each dish, that would take forever and waste soap, which is money.  Everything in a kitchen, especially a soup kitchen, is about saving as much money as possible.  The amount of soap Paul Ryan pours on that scrub pad for one chaffing dish is all he needed to wash all of the dishes in that kitchen.  

So you fill sink one with at least 110 degree water.  Why that hot?  Because that is what the FDA requires.  The water should be uncomfortably hot.  Which is probably what the hot water heater is set to, so you wait until the tap is as hot as can be and then fill your sink.  You then pour a small amount of soup, as much as Paul Ryan used on one dish, into sink one.

Sink two you fill with warm rinse water.  No soap or chemicals.  

You fill sink three with 75 degree water and however much sanitizer as the directions call for.  You don't want the water too hot or else it messes with the sanititzer.  If you don't have sanitizer you can use 1 teaspoon of bleach to 1 gallon of warm water.

You then soak your dishes in sink one for awhile, using the scrubber pad to remove excess food.  Note, you do not use brushes or anything else like that because they are super expensive compared to a scrubber pad and not any more effective.  Which is why I cringe when Paul Ryan asks where the brushes are.  Oh man, what a tool.  It's bad enough the dishes were clean to begin with, but I digress.

You move the dishes between sink one and two until all food is removed and it looks clean.  You then dip in sink three and let the dishes stay in the sanitizer for at least a minute to reach all surfaces and kill all remaining bacteria.

Then, and this is the most important part, you put the dish on the rack to air dry.  This is super important.  You don't dry dishes in a restaurant with a towel.  That towel is filthy and just puts bacteria back on your clean, sterile dish.

This is why the metro racks that are used in restaurants have metal grate designs.  So you can just put wet dishes back on the rack with the clean dry dishes and not worry about them not drying.  Besides, a kitchen is like a million degrees anyway, a damp dish will dry in no time.  So when Paul Ryan has his children dry already clean and sterile dishes with a filthy rag he is making those dishes less clean than they already were.

Lastly, all restaurants and soup kitchens are inspected by the health department and while the possibility is small, if someone were to complain they got sick from that soup kitchen and there is video evidence of Paul Ryan and his children, without hair nets, trapsing into the back and washing dishes the wrong way, the owner can get in trouble.  Especially since Paul Ryan wasn't SafeServ qualified, which is the basic minimum required certification that says you know how to handle food and wash dishes without getting people sick.  He wasn't certified and no one else in that video clip is either.  Except I suppose the volunteers but they were not supervising or helping.  Probably because all the dishes were done and there was no need.

So yes, I realize I am being anal.  Or perhaps nitpicky, after all this was just Paul Ryan playing a role of dish washer.  Just like my mom gets mad at TV hospitals for not following proper surgical procedure.  But the idea behind this photo op is that Paul Ryan washes dishes for soup kitchens all the time, or at least has in the past, as part of his charity work.  And I'm sorry, but anyone who had ever really volunteered for a kitchen would know better.

Plus I just hate seeing people treat a kitchen without proper respect.  And the fact that no one had hair nets on was just the straw that made me have to write this.  

Rant over.


Wow, thank you guys for sending me to the rec list.  I honestly never thought all those years washing dishes would be relevant.  Ever.  For anything.  But this has shown me all those burns and chaffed skin were not in vain.  And for that I am sincerely grateful. :)

Originally posted to hematuria on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 11:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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