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Oven Mitts or Side Towels?


Shalmanese
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I've informally observed that the cooking world is divided into oven mitt people and side towel people as the tool of choice when handling hot items from the oven.

I am, personally, 100% a side towel person. I have towels hanging on my oven, hanging on my apron when I cook and scattered around the kitchen. It's so engrained in me now that I couldn't switch to oven mitts if I tried.

What type of person are you? Why did you choose it? What are the pros & cons of each approach?

PS: I am a guy.

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Oven mitts - the big long heavy ones you get at a restaurant supply. Towels around me are usually wet - so if I use them I'm more likely to get burned.

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I do a lot of baking and I use the oven gloves (not the "Ove Glove") that I order from the UK.

I don't like regular oven mitts, they are too awkward for my preference.

I have scorched the backs of my wrists too many times to depend on towels when retrieving hot stuff from the oven. This was especially necessary when I had the Blodgett oven which was deep.

For stove top the towels are fine but I don't use them if I am working with high flame burners because they have been known to catch fire.

For skillets I have the slip on guards which work beautifully - the old-fashioned quilted ones that do just fine and slip on and off easily. The silicone ones have not been ideal for me. I have a couple, received as gifts.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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The health department here does not allow towels to be worn/carried as part of a uniform. They have to be either clean and in the supply container, or in a sanitation bucket with fresh sanitizer -meaning wet. So, it's oven mitts for me.

At home, I also use oven mitts because I find I get more even protection.

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Towels. Just couldn't work with mitts - and I always managed to put them down somewhere where I couldn't find them when I needed them! Now I have a great supply of towels so if I 'lose' one I can grab another. And my mitts, when I used them, became so gross, so fast that I was ashamed of them.

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

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I do use a pair of the Ove Gloves. I have found that as long as they are dry they protect against very high heat for quite awhile. I also have a pair of silicone mitts for anything that might be wet, but they are more cumbersome.

We lived in a temporary furnished household for a few months a few years ago, and they only had potholders. I was not used to paying attention to where I sat them down (the gloves stay on your hands until you take them off) and I set FOUR sets on fire. Bad renter.

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I use towels because I find mitts too cumbersome (I have really little hands)but of course have burned myself when I grab a wet one, and burned the tops of my hands on oven racks and even heating elements. Need to try some sort of oven glove, do an awful lot of baking like andiesenji. Which are the best? Anyone use ones made of silicone?

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Towels. Because I so rarely use my oven, they just more practical to have around the kitchen because I can use them for a variety of purposes. It helps that the oven is not big enough to burn my wrist on, though - I've done that several times working with full-sized ovens.

I have a small pot holder that I brought with me from Canada, but I can never find the thing when I need it, despite having always left it on the same hook. Kitchen gremlins are obviously using it for their own purposes.

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. . .

I have a small pot holder that I brought with me from Canada, but I can never find the thing when I need it, despite having always left it on the same hook. Kitchen gremlins are obviously using it for their own purposes.

See! I bet it's the same gremlins that used to move my oven mitts but towels defeat them because you can always have more towels than there are gremlins.

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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See! I bet it's the same gremlins that used to move my oven mitts but towels defeat them because you can always have more towels than there are gremlins.

This is, in fact, exactly the case. Which is why I buy my towels several packs a time at Ikea - to outnumber the gremlins.

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I have several pairs of Coolskin gloves, ordered from the UK several years ago. Two are the regular length - one pair are the extra long that I now use when working at the barbecue and another pair are the steam/grease proof.

These gloves are thicker than the Ove gloves I tried a few years ago.

More recently I purchased these non-slip Nomex gloves

which work nicely for handling glass or ceramic vessels that might slip in the regular gloves.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Mostly towels ... I always have a couple out that are pure cotton and dry (they only get used for handling hot things). most are scorched.

I also keep a pair of silicon mits in a drawer. They're handy for when I have to reach deep into a hot oven. And really handy for pulling out a sheet pan or roasting pan that's got hot liquid or grease in it ... anything that can splash around or soak through a towel. The silicon mits are easy to clean compared with fabric.

Notes from the underbelly

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I use towels because I find mitts too cumbersome (I have really little hands)but of course have burned myself when I grab a wet one, and burned the tops of my hands on oven racks and even heating elements. Need to try some sort of oven glove, do an awful lot of baking like andiesenji. Which are the best? Anyone use ones made of silicone?

I have a couple pair of the Coolskin gloves (gift) but they are only good to 350F which does me little good. I bake bread daily at 450F. The Ove Glove says it's good to 540F and that has also been my experience. The silicon mitt I have is good to 620F, I think, but if you touch anywhere that there aren't those little nubbins (like on the back of the hand) you get burned quite quickly. I like the Ove Gloves best of what I've tried--the ones with the non-skid silicon palm and finger grippies. With those stuff is easy to grip, a problem with the slide-y old ones.

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Towels - Anna N & nakji are right, towels generally overwhelm the gremlins. I think they dislike their flappiness (comes in handy when you set the smoke alarm off). Also, potholders tend to get all disgusting very quickly and need washing. And as far as using a damp one goes, the only time I've done that it was a d*&m potholder!

I have two silicon grip things, but find them very clumsy, so now they live in the deep drawer where kitchen gadgets go to die.

Although it doesn't seem to matter which I choose - I'll still get as many burn injuries as knife injuries.

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As Paul seems to be saying is his practice, I only use mitts for major things. For example if I have to deal with the Thanksgiving turkey I'll put on mitts. For most anything else, e.g. just grabbing hot pot handles or sheet pans, I use side towels (my preference) or pads (what most home kitchens seem to have). Mitts are cumbersome and slow to go on, so I only use them rarely.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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I have a pair of potholders that have a large pocket on top for my hands, sort of a combo potholder and mitt but no separate pocket for your thumb. I also have a pair of silicon pads but I find them kind of clumsy to use, so only use them when I need to protect my hands from very high heat and/or liquids.

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  • 3 years later...

I don't use tea towels for lifting hot things. I use welding gloves. Just make sure you don't buy safety gloves without first checking that, you know, they're the kind you can use for high heat work rather than the kind that just makes it a bit more difficult for you to slice off your fingers or get bitten by spiders.

Edited by ChrisTaylor (log)
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Chris Taylor

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  • 6 months later...

I picked up the habit of using side towels for grabbing pans from restaurant cooks. Now i won't go back. Pot holders feel clunky and are single purpose and don't easily stay on the handle of a pan. Oven mits, yikes. They gross me out ... has the inside of one every been cleaned, in the history of kitchens? Maybe some can be turned inside out and machine washed, but I've never witnessed it. The ones in my experience are petry dishes. I make an exception for a pair of silicone ones (the ones that look like sharks). These are borderline reasonable to clean/sanitize on the inside, they're waterproof (so you can grab hot things that could splash you, or reach into a hot sous-vide tank for something that you might damage with tongs). I mostly use them for reaching into a very hot oven when I'm afraid of bumping into something with arms, back of hands etc..  But that's like once a month.

Notes from the underbelly

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paulraphael, my oven mitten get washed every week , how ever I dont use it  that much.  I have  old fashion knitted  sleeves for my skillets that works great when I remember them. Otherwise it is  those Ikea Näckten I use and then wash them  every week.,

Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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I've never washed an oven mitt in my life and am unlikely to start now.  When they reach the point that they no longer stop the heat from reaching my hands - off to the bin and a new pair purchased from the restaurant supply (that's likely to be several years).  I've never felt the inside of oven mitts were a huge health hazard!

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Anything that comes in contact with the food must be washable, so  potholders,  handle covers, towels and all  textiles goes in the wash and no  softener, that isnt need for  towels and such that needs to be able to absorb stuff.

Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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I wash my oven mitts.  Not very often, but I wash my oven mitts.  One set as recently as last week.  I tend to spill alcohol on them.  Please don't hate me but I am not butch enough to shake my beverages as thoroughly as I might like with my bare hands.

 

When I was an undergraduate we used asbestos mitts but these days I understand asbestos is frowned upon.

 

I also sometimes wash my kitchen towels, both cotton and linen.  Which invites the question:  can microfiber be washed?  I thought you weren't supposed to get it wet?

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