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The side-towel topic


Fat Guy
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Here are 2 side towels from 2 different restaurants. I also apologize for the poor quality and large ugly size as they were taken with my Blackberry in the basement while holding up boxes. lol

This is what we used at The French Laundry. (as well as El Dorado Kitchen, since we used the same linen service.)

gallery_47876_4493_40725.jpg

This is the side "towel" from Fleur de Sel in NYC. I use the term "towel" loosely as it is a linen napkin in reality. It is also the most colorful side "towel" I have had the pleasure of using. And since the light is terrible, the towel is actually LAVENDER. :hmmm:

gallery_47876_4493_6844.jpg

As for home use, I also use what are labeled as "shop towels" in Target. Just plain white cotton.

-Chef Johnny

Edited for IMG re-direct

Edited by ChefJohnny (log)

John Maher
Executive Chef/Owner
The Rogue Gentlemen

Richmond, VA

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I'm sorry, bu t I use oven mitts most of the time. I'm used to them and it's not an issue for me. I do have a stack of side towels I use, but oven mitts are my go to.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Target has a 6 pack of those white cotton towels, the shop towels Johnny mentioned for about $6.They are called flour sack towels. I have them at home and use them for everything.(They now come in colors to, so you can color coordinate if you so wish.I only know this cause I work at Target stocking at night til I finish school.) It is much easier to use a side towel rather than grab the potholder, ( which Target has some great silcone potholders and mitts that withstand very high heat.) unless of course it is something coming out of the oven. Always keep a side towel thrown over my shoulder when I am working. Of course they do burn if you get them to close to the flame, as I have done a couple of times, but they are fantastic. Lint free too so they are great for drying glassware.

Edited by kristin_71 (log)
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I was talking to a manager tonight at a restaurant that uses the NYC-blue side towels. He said he thinks that the blue towels are actually white bar mop towels, and that what happens is that after several hundred washings they flatten out and become useless as bar mops but acquire superior properties as towels for kitchen use. So they dye them blue and they become the side towels for cooks. I haven't yet confirmed this, but this guy says he's going to connect me with the laundry service. We'll see where it goes. If you never hear from me again, check in Long Island City.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I just finished folding laundry, which included the eight dish towels I went through this past week--and it wasn't a busy cooking week. When cooking I always have one draped on my shoulder (a habit inherited from mom) or tucked into apron strings around my waist. I do have a few potholders that I like, but mostly give me towels for handling pans, drying dishes, cleaning up...When I find myself cooking at a home without them, I'm always at a loss, and have been known to give those friends a stack of towels the next time I see them. I don't know that I've converted anyone, though.


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So I was at a Spanish restaurant the other night and they brought out a big stainless platter of garlic bread. We were admonished not to touch the platter, because it was very hot. Indeed, it was very hot (any time I'm told not to touch a plate because it's too hot, I touch it to see how hot it is). However, it was a long table, so it was impossible for the people at one end to reach the platter. I folded up my napkin -- a red cloth napkin -- and used it to grab the plate. Everybody was alarmed. "Careful!" "That's not going to work!" etc. Of course it worked fine. Indeed, everybody conveniently forgot that when the waiter brought it out he was holding it with an identical napkin, folded. This was not the eGullet Society crowd, but the fact that they didn't even believe a folded cloth napkin could function as a viable alternative to a pot holder reminded me of how very young and fragile the revolution is.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Evolution is fragile also

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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If you wish to purchase side towels, the cheapest solution to go to your nearest Auto Parts store and purchase a pack of white utility towels (same kind for waxing a car, etc) They're often in a 10 pack averaging less that a buck a piece. Just about identical to ones I've used in bars and seen in restaurant supply places (save the classy blue or orange stripe of course)

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I usually use pot holders, because with 4 other people in the house using dish towels to dry their hands I always pick the damp one to take stuff out of the oven.

So I have been conditioned to use pot holders (no one uses them to dry their hands). I will use a dish towel and in a pinch a bathroom hand towel if I misplace the pot holders.

Lisa

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They're "tea towels" where I come from (northern England). Now I think about it, I'm not sure why...

Anyway, I have used them on occasion when I couldn't find the oven gloves, but I've usually felt the heat coming through them a lot quicker than the gloves. Am I being amateurish in my folding or do you just have to move quicker when using a towel when getting roasts out of the oven?

Anyine got any top tips on folding? Do you tend to go for just one fold (ie two layers of towel between your hand and the hot thing) or two folds (4 layers)?

Cheers,

Philip

PS

Edinburgh

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At work I use towels and at home I use mitts, both out of habit. At work I have an apron to put my towels in and no mitts, but at home I don't wear an apron and I actually like my mitts.

Also, my children will use a mitt, but I would have a hard time getting them to use a towel (if you think you're unhappy when you figure out a wet towel isn't a good idea when taking a hot pan out of the oven, try it on a nine-year old future member of the Academy).

At one place I worked we had mitts that hung on the deck oven vent knobs. We all used them, no one used towels for hot stuff.

I'm afraid the revolution will have to go on without me.

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Tonight a manager at a restaurant I frequent scored ten blue side towels for me. Apparently the guy from the linen service was so amused that somebody was asking questions about side towels that he just threw in some extras. Anyway, now, in addition to a nice supply of side towels, I now have the name of the place they come from: White Plains Linen. I'll try to learn more.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I have tried to use the side towel many times and it just doesn't work for me. For moving pans around the stove, maybe. For taking a cast iron skillet that has been preheating in a 550 oven for half an hour? No way. I use these gloves exclusively in both the kitchen and around both my charcoal grill and smoker.

I can even pick up a preheated grate directly off the grill without feeling the heat. Try that with a side towel.

Edited by Taboni (log)

Get your bitch ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!!!

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Those rags are a way of life. There lightweight, heat absorbant, and totally malleable. I am a horder myself. When I get a new bag of them I'll take the bag of 40 or so and neatly fold them all and place them in piles in the corner of my saute station. I have one that I use as a wet rag (usually soaked in quaternary ammonia) to clean everything off, one for both sides of my station. One to grab the handles of my pans. One to dry them off when I'm done cleaning them. And one that I hang one the back strings of my apron that I reach around to use to dry off my hands or clean my knives. So at least 4 working towels and pile of them to go through.

I surprised noone has mentioned that there are many cooks out there can snap these things so hard that it'll make you bleed. I work with a few guys that can snap them so hard it sounds like a freakin gun going off. They'll get angry sometimes and snap the hanging dinner order tickets and blow them to pieces. I actually did get snapped in the calf once so hard that it bled. When the testosterone really gets flying, guys will compete by going 1 to 1. One guy hits the other, then they switch. Usually hands or legs. It's really pretty stupid.

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We were admonished not to touch the platter, because it was very hot. Indeed, it was very hot (any time I'm told not to touch a plate because it's too hot, I touch it to see how hot it is).

Okay, why do I do this too?

With a dry side towel folded properly (at least a double fold), I can easily remove a cast-iron dutch oven from the oven after it's been preheated to 500 for an hour. I have no mitts, oven pads or anything but side towels in my kitchen.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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We were admonished not to touch the platter, because it was very hot. Indeed, it was very hot (any time I'm told not to touch a plate because it's too hot, I touch it to see how hot it is).

Okay, why do I do this too?

Because you're insane.

Also, whenever I touch a plate in violation of a command not to, I make sure to look injured and gasp "Aaaaaah!" The less hot the plate is, the more pained I'll pretend to be.

There was some contention on the Making your own kitchen towels topic that cloth diapers make good kitchen towels. For those who are unfamiliar with cloth diapers, they don't look like Pampers at all. They're just squares of cotton. In order to make them into actual diapers, you have to fold them a certain way, pin them, etc. You'd never know they were diapers otherwise. And they have a million other uses, for example you put one over your shoulder when you burp the baby.

Anyway, today I compared a blue side towel to a white cloth diaper. I was amazed at the similarities.

gallery_1_295_46107.jpg

The dimensions are slightly different: the cloth diaper is a little bit larger (by a couple of inches in one dimension). The fabric itself, though a different color, is extremely similar when you look at and feel it close up.

gallery_1_295_30735.jpg

So, for those of you looking for a New York-restaurant style side towel, you can always grab a pack of Gerber "birdseye weave" cloth diapers for about US$14/dozen.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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We were admonished not to touch the platter, because it was very hot. Indeed, it was very hot (any time I'm told not to touch a plate because it's too hot, I touch it to see how hot it is).

Okay, why do I do this too?

Because you're insane.

Also, whenever I touch a plate in violation of a command not to, I make sure to look injured and gasp "Aaaaaah!" The less hot the plate is, the more pained I'll pretend to be.

There was some contention on the Making your own kitchen towels topic that cloth diapers make good kitchen towels. For those who are unfamiliar with cloth diapers, they don't look like Pampers at all. They're just squares of cotton. In order to make them into actual diapers, you have to fold them a certain way, pin them, etc. You'd never know they were diapers otherwise. And they have a million other uses, for example you put one over your shoulder when you burp the baby.

Anyway, today I compared a blue side towel to a white cloth diaper. I was amazed at the similarities.

gallery_1_295_46107.jpg

One of my favorite threads. Too funny!

Umm, and something vaguley remniscient about the perfectly situated spot on the blue cloth and the talk of diapers...hmm...can't quite place it...

:laugh:

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We were admonished not to touch the platter, because it was very hot. Indeed, it was very hot (any time I'm told not to touch a plate because it's too hot, I touch it to see how hot it is).

Okay, why do I do this too?

Because you're insane.

Also, whenever I touch a plate in violation of a command not to, I make sure to look injured and gasp "Aaaaaah!" The less hot the plate is, the more pained I'll pretend to be.

Yes, I may be... :laugh: - but at least I haven't feigned injury yet - thanks for the idea, though!

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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