This is the first in what I hope is a series of threads. What I’m asking here (and hope to continue for other cooks’ tools) are:
What do you consider the best tool for the job? Why?
Do you have it/them, or do you just covet?
What did you use before, that you stopped using?
Do you consider the item a bargain or a luxury?
How would you improve it?
I’ll go first, but please, anyone feel free to chime in with a WB#2
Pot holders… For something so simple, this is not an easy choice. I’ve had small ones, big ones, leather ones, silicone ones, terry, canvass, Nomex, Kevlar, quilted, waffle. I’ve tried Ov-Gloves, fireman’s gloves, welder’s gloves, slip-on handle sleeves and side towels. Round, square, oblong. Even those weird “Muppet Mouth” silicone grabbers. I can’t say I’ve tried everything, but I’ve tried a lot.
Mostly, the pot holders I’ve tried fail in at least one aspect. I find the silicone ones slippery, and they crack. The leather ones won’t wash, and most fabric ones don’t last if washed [Thank you, Sampson for enabling emphasis]. Gloves and mitts are hard to get on and off, get separated, take up a lot of room, etc. Cheap fabric ones are too small and often too thin.
After making numerous mistakes with pot holders, I’ve settled on the Ritz Royale Collection Pocket Mitt, like these: http://www.amazon.com/Ritz-Royale-Collection-Pocket-2-Piece/dp/B0067HFRM6
I like these better than anything I’ve tried for the following reasons. They’re relatively large, the terry is rugged and durable, and it’s double-thick. I use them mostly as a conventional potholder, but they’re thick enough to also use as a mitt. They’re presentable at table as trivets. They wash up beautifully without much fading. They’re sold in a wide variety of sensible colors (I like the beige and black). The hang loop is not a joke like on most pot holders, and I’ve never had any stitching/piping come loose. Strangely enough, I also find them to be quite scorch-resistant–I have dropped them onto active electric oven coils with surprisingly little damage. Some smart designer also offset the entry into the “mitt”, so you can slip it on one-handed.
At $6 apiece, considering their functionality, ergonomics and durability, I think these are a steal and a luxury.
The only improvement I can think of would be to lengthen the “mitt” length dimension by another inch; this would help protect cooks’ wrists when reaching deep into an oven.
So… what pot holders do y’all like?
Sampson, how do I add photos?