Thanksgiving can be expensive, especially if it includes a plumbing service call. Bless their hearts for coming out on Thanksgiving. Still, those skilled tradesmen tend to charge extra for emergency holiday visits. Lots extra!
We learned this costly lesson the hard way, several Thanksgivings ago.
Thanksgiving morning, the whole family rose early. The fully dressed turkey went into the oven. The stuffing included plenty of chopped celery, with the leaves and clippings going down the garbage disposal in the sink.
Then the potato peeling began. We were expecting a crowd of more than 20 for Thanksgiving dinner, so we prepared two full bags of potatoes. Again, the cut-offs went into the in-sink disposal unit.
Trust me. That thing was working overtime.
And then it stopped. The sink filled up with a murky, slimy, mucky mess – about two hours before our Thanksgiving guests were due to arrive.
Then the real fun began. It started with Drano and a plunger and ended up with an emergency service call.
Can you say, “911-plumber”?
Fortunately, we were able to procure a plumber for a quick stop. Well, it wasn’t such a quick stop after all, although it did cost a small fortune. He replaced the entire disposal unit, poking his head out from under the kitchen sink, just as the third carload of Thanksgiving dinner guests arrived.
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Here’s what we learned about 20 foods that should never go into the in-sink disposal.
Generally, fibrous and starchy foods are not good for garbage disposals. Fibrous stuff can tangle around the unit’s blades, while starchy materials can clog up the drain and pipes. Here are several foods that should be tossed in the compost heap or the trash, rather than dumped into the in-sink disposal.
- celery stalks
- coffee grounds
- corn husks
- fruit pits and seeds
- fruit rinds (such as grapefruit, lemon, lime, or orange)
- onion skins
- potato peels, pulp, and skins (even mashed potatoes)
- shells (such as clam, conch, crab, lobster, or scallop)
Also, large amounts of animal bones, fat, grease, and skins (like turkey skin) are bad for the garbage disposal. Cigarette butts are a big no-no too. Oh, and remember those mesh nets and strings that are often wrapped around frozen turkeys? Those need to stay out of the kitchen garbage disposal unit as well.
And here’s another tip for using the disposal properly.
The plumber instructed us to use cold water when running the in-sink disposal, as this solidifies grease, so it can be properly chopped.
Whew. What was expensive.
Finally, we sent the plumber on his merry Thanksgiving way – along with a big payment, a nice tip, and an entire pumpkin pie. And, you guessed it: We never put celery, onion, or potato peels down the disposal in the skin – on Thanksgiving or ever.