When my daughter was a newborn we ordered from Target a stack of these cotton cloths that were marketed as diapers, but which were not diapers at all. They were these loose-woven cotton towels that no one in their right mind would use as diapers. They were very very useful, however, since they were perfect for mopping up all sorts of messes, and you could bleach the hell out of them, and I never regretted buying them. For the last five years I’ve kept them in the kitchen, where they stand in for cheesecloth, and I’ve used them to make cheese, to cover bowls of bread dough rising, and all sorts of small tasks. We used them when we attempted to clean 40 years of crud off of a copper-topped table we got last year — that meant that we poured ketchup, vinegar, and salt on a table top and scrubbed and scrubbed for about three hours. These towels have been filthy, but they always laundered completely clean and white, and I am very loyal to them.
Two days ago, I decided to make ginger juice, and so I whizzed a big piece of ginger in the food processor and then dumped the contents through a colander I’d lined with one of these diapers, and then I wrung out all the liquid. The cloth got a pale yellow stain on it and I thought nothing of it. Today I did laundry and when I took everything out of the dryer to fold, I noticed that the cloth still had a stain on it. What’s more, it looked exactly like pee. It’s taken seven years but finally one of these diapers has a pee-type stain on it, which isn’t even pee, it’s ginger juice, but — how would I explain that to anyone who was visiting us, and might grab this towel to dry their hands or something? (Not that they’re supposed to do that — towels for that are kept in a separate, more accessible, stack, right on our bread box.)
Ginger juice: I might make it again, but if I do, I better use this same cloth again, or come up with a different system.