Cascade Blogger Day #CascadeShiningReviewsSunday, September 07, 2014
During the summer, I received one of those special invitations that are hard to decline. I was asked to join a select group of seven bloggers from across North America for Cascade Blogger Day in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a member of the P&G mom team for the past two years, I couldn't think of a good enough reason to say no. I was home on summer vacation, my mother-in-law was available to watch the kids and I would be granted exclusive access to the P&G archives. But more than that, I would be able to speak directly to members of the P&G Research and Development team to ask them questions that have been hovering about in my head and gain a better insight into why there's a sticker on my dishwasher that recommends Cascade dishwasher detergent. Plus, it was the perfect excuse to buy a new red tote bag at Guess. (What? It came with a free wallet.) So there I was, sporting my new handbag, admiring the views on board a Bombardier CRJ, and saying, "Good-bye, Toronto! Hello, Cincinnati!"
Shortly after our arrival, Kitchen Dish Council members checked in at the contemporary 21C Museum Hotel. We later met up with fellow bloggers and the Cascade team for dinner and a fun team-building activity at The Art of Entertaining which involved designing movie-inspired pizzas. The following morning, we boarded a shuttle to P&G headquarters which houses the P&G Heritage Archives. This was just one of the highlights of the trip for me because I got to learn about how it all began, with the P&G origin story.
And who knew that it would all begin with Ivory Soap?
Given Cincinnati's prosperous pork industry in the 19th century, it wasn't surprising to learn that tallow, a raw material, was available in large supply during that time. As an apprentice, James Gamble learned how to use tallow to make soap and candles from William Bell. At around the same time, William Procter was busy making candles as well. On the suggestion of their mutual father-in-law Alexander Norris, they went into business together and signed a partnership agreement in 1837. With the invention of electricity, the need for candles eventually dwindled and so P&G focused on the branding of their white soap, which was labeled Ivory Soap.
Little did they know that the science of soap-making would lead to so many different technologies that can be found in hundreds of products nearly two hundred years later. The main reason for our visit, however, was to learn about the history of Cascade which was first launched in 1955 with a pine scent, at which time 11 dishwasher manufacturers endorsed the brand.
After watching a series of old (I'm talking, really old) Cascade commercials, we were invited to browse the rest of the products on display. The one that left the biggest impression on me was this really, really old Gilette Khaki razor set from 1918. I had no idea that the U.S. Army enlisted P&G to make razor sets specifically for use by their soldiers. They wanted a hollow handle in which they could hide local currency, an inner lining behind which they could hide a folded map of silk and a magnetic razor blade that could be used to indicate true north by placing it on a leaf in a pool of water. Imagine that!
While I could have stayed in the archives all day admiring the vast quantities of vintage items and century old products, I was eager to head over to the P&G Research and Development facility to learn more about the science behind Cascade, specifically Cascade's new Platinum Action Pacs which I currently use at home. Truth be told, I have been using Cascade as my primary dishwasher detergent ever since we purchased a dishwasher for our new home nearly ten years ago. A sticker next to the buttons on the front panel clearly indicates that they recommend Cascade but I never really knew why. Nor did I understand why they use Dawn in their action pacs. Speaking of which, did you know that Dawn products are sold in the UK under the name of Fairy? And in Argentina and Chile, it's called Magistral? Yes, we modern languages teachers excite easily.
What I learned over the next few hours was enough to make your brain hurt. So many fascinating facts about the inner workings of a dishwasher, how to properly load your dishes and how much more effective it is to wash dishes in a dishwasher than by hand. As representatives of the Canadian P&G contingency, the lovely Christine and I donned our personalized Kitchen Dish Council lab coats, adjusted our glasses and delved into a world never before open to the public - the world of the Cascade Lab. (Insert ominous music here.)
Neither Christine, myself nor any of the remaining bloggers were prepared for the frightful sight that lay waiting inside the lab. The horrifying pictures still play vividly in my mind. What did we find, you ask? We found our disgustingly dirty bowls from the previous night's dinner. Ick! Many of them still contained large remnants of the sticky gourmet mac and cheese we all enjoyed the night before. Left to dry out and harden for about 18 hours, these bowls were then placed in one of the many dishwashers used to conduct studies in the lab. Stay tuned for a follow-up post where I will share the before-and-after results, the nitty gritty on dishwashers and tips on how to properly load your dishes.
In the meantime, if you would like to meet the other members of the Kitchen Dish Council, you can check out their blogs here:
Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own.