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What's Your Shirt Sleeve Length When You Cook?


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Until recently, I have preferred to wear t-shirts whenever I cook, and with long-sleeved shirts I've absolutely had to have my sleeves above my elbows. However, with the colder weather here, I'm cooking more in thicker long-sleeve sweatshirts and so on, and it's weird to have a thick roll of fabric up above my elbows.

After seeing Ratatouille and watching Colette lecture Remy on sleeve length, I started folding my cuffs up twice, bringing them to my forearms. I have to say, it works like a charm -- and I feel a bit like James Peterson on the cover of Glorious French Food, which for a man of my age and self-image isn't a bad thing.

Where are your sleeves when you cook? Why there? Were you told "That's the way we do it," or is it a feel thing?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Long, short, three-quarter -- whatever I'm wearing. Interesting. I've never given a thought to sleeve length.

Sleeve width I think about. I set fire to a pricey silk blouse a few years ago because the corner of a floaty Stevie Nicks-style sleeve swung its stylish way into a gas flame. Now I make sure my sleeves are tight or cuffed.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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As a woman "at that time of life", I always wear short sleeved shirts, even in the dead of winter. Sleeveless, if I'm in the kitchen with both ovens going!

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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I definitely prefer short sleeves, too. I can do long-sleeve T-shirts, as the sleeves don't seem restrictive nor do they get in the way. Other than that, I'm rolling up the sleeves. The oven and/or stove normally keep me warm enough (besides, here in TX, how cold can it really get?).

Tim

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Short-sleeve all the way - and by that, I mean a t-shirt. Two layers is far too much for the kitchen. Since it gets warm, I prefer to wear as little as possible. No more elaboration on this point, lest anyone become frightened/disturbed.

Yes, spatters are painful on bare skin. Hasn't stopped me yet.

David aka "DCP"

Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

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When I was wearing chef's coats I had the two turns of the sleeve. Depending on season I wore T shirts in summer and Henleys in winter if there were no uniform reguirements.

I can't stand long sleeves to the wrists at any time so the long sleeved Henleys were pushed up almost to elbows.

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My chef jackets were custom hemmed with 3/4 sleeves. Next time, I'll change the sleeve pocket to accommodate business cards instead of a pen or thermometer... or maybe one pocket on each sleeve?

When I don't have to wear a jacket (i.e., no clients or guests to be seen...) it's short sleeved t's or rolled up long sleeves in the winter; sleeveless t's in the summer.

Karen Dar Woon

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Rolled up because it's freezing in Manchester--not quite, but I'm a tropical flower here.

I think it's more 'my thing' than just a 'cooking thing.' I don't like doing stuff in general with long sleeves either; I roll or push them up. I may have to adapt just because of the cold though.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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If I'm cooking a simple meal for the family I just wear whatever I'm wearing and make adjustments for comfort (roll up sleeves, whatever). But if I'm doing a serious cooking project -- e.g., frying potato latkes for 30 people -- I always try to wear long sleeves so as to protect my forearms. I also prefer long sleeves whenever I cook in someone else's kitchen where I don't know the exact position of everything -- for me that's how most injuries happen. Just the other day I seared a nasty line into the sleeve of my shirt when I was taking something out of a friend's oven and my forearm hit the next grate up. That would have been my skin had I been cooking in short sleeves.

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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Who wears a shirt when cooking?

I do since my kids' friends started wandering randomly through the kitchen (the kitchen sliding glass door is the de-facto front door) and I decided that the picture of a hairy, no-longer-svelte middle aged guy swilling wine and frying like hell was traumatizing either the friends or the kids. Count me in the short sleeve camp.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Who wears a shirt when cooking?

The other night I got home from work before my husband and started stir-frying some tofu while the rice cooked. As soon as the tofu hit the wok, I realized it was going to spatter all over my nice new top, and it was too late to stop the stir-frying, so I whisked off the top and threw on an apron, which happened to be a really cute, vintage floral one, very June Cleaver. My husband walked in, dropped his briefcase, and in hushed tones said "You are the best wife ever!" :laugh:

Anyway, I normally present a much less exotic picture when doing any serious cooking. I try to wear clothes that I've already ruined with oil spatters, and unfortunately I've got plenty.

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Personally, I can't stand sleeves past my mid arm when I am cooking. Short sleeves if it isn't cold, long rolled up if it's a little chilly. It bugs me to watch people like umm Rachael Ray with sleeves that go all the way to her wrists. I can't imagine how gross that has to get. I am constantly rinsing my hands off, get my hands into the food, depending on what I am cooking, and that would bug the crap out of me.

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Definitely long sleeves with tight cuffs for sauteing. Goggles or even a plexiglass face mask wouldn't hurt sometimes either! For cooking without the threat of flying hot oil, an apron over whatever sleeve length is appropriate for the temperature in the kitchen works just fine.

KathyM

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My kids get sick of me, when I'm cooking and going to need to do frequent hand and wrist washing, of hearing "Diana or Peter, I need help!" They know that I'll need my sweatshirt sleeves pulled up.

I tend to wear whatever the weather dictates -- tanks, t's or sweatshirts.

But, last year, I did score a really nice thick sweatshirt with really long sleeves that pull over my hands very easily, negating the necessity of grabbing potholders to pull something out of the oven.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Wow--- fair question. When I'm in production mode... short sleeves. When I'm frying long sleeves turned back two folds. When I'm doing grilling or hi-temp wok work- frequently long sleeve cotton tee shirts all the way down and soaking wet. When doing butchering.... I've been known to just wear an apron and old short pants. Go figgure. The real question is more along the lines of... what keeps you safe, comfortable and keeps the food from getting contaminated? One thing is sure... I don't wear a toque... it's a flame hankie/hat that's been bleached a couple thousand times.

hvr

"Cogito Ergo Dim Sum; Therefore I think these are Pork Buns"

hvrobinson@sbcglobal.net

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Short sleeves for sure. I have tried long sleeves and just end up making a huge mess of them. I prefer a few burn scars on my arms to a blazing shirt sleeve which is what I might end up with! Now, when someone comes up with automatically retractable long sleeves....... :laugh:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I always cook in a T-shirt. Once I'm done cooking (ie eating time), it goes into the laundry bin and I put on something nicer or at least a fresh T-shirt.

The only exception is when we have guests and even then I might change into a T-shirt if there is any heavy cooking to do.

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My kids get sick of me, when I'm cooking and going to need to do frequent hand and wrist washing, of hearing "Diana or Peter, I need help!"  They know that I'll need my sweatshirt sleeves pulled up.

I tend to wear whatever the weather dictates -- tanks, t's or sweatshirts.

But, last year, I did score a really nice thick sweatshirt with really long sleeves that pull over my hands very easily, negating the necessity of grabbing potholders to pull something out of the oven.

Ditto on asking the kid for sweatshirt sleeve pull-ups, and the serendipity of using the stretched out sleeves as potholders.

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Usually short sleeves. I used to wear a chef's coat when we did a lot of catering - but I'd always fold the sleeves up to above the elbow. It gets hot when you're cooking.

If I wore long sleeves to protect myself, I wouldn't have all the lovely scars that are such great conversation starters.

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Breaking down duck for confit and stock this morning, I realized that I don't like shirts down to my cuffs because I wash my hands and wrists about ten times an hour.

Same here - I'm a chronic hand-washer (knives, too) and if I have long sleeves rolled down I just end up soaked. I generally wear long sleeves that get rolled up most of the time, but let down when I'm frying (if I think of it...).

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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