Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Tale of Two Mitts

I admit it.  I had a love affair with my oven mitts.  I'm a cook and a baker.  Oven mitts matter.  They do.  I realize professionals use towels to reach into ovens or to grab hot lids off the stove.  Not me.  I'm a home cook and I need good mitts.  I've tried using a towel and I'm not adept - and honestly don't care to be.  Give me good mitts.

My MIL and FIL gave us mitts as a wedding present.  At the time, I was young and stupid and didn't realize that the gray utilitarian mitts MIL bought at the barbecue store would turn out to be my favorite mitts - ever.  What did I know?  I was young and stupid and a newlywed and thought I knew everything about love and life and marriage.  What an idiot.  I digress.

Over the past decade, I've learned those ugly barbecue mitts are the best gift an experienced cook could give a fledgling cook.  They're the right thickness.  They stand up to 500-degree baking pans.  They're long and go up my forearms and I can reach into the back of the oven and not worry about burning my arms.  When I need coverage, they are perfect.  They are, in a word, brilliant.

But tragedy struck my love affair.  One of the mitts developed a hole in the tip.  Darling reached in the oven to grab a casserole dish and burned his finger.   His big 'ol man-hands couldn't dodge the hole as well as my delicate-flower-lady-hands.  He threw out the mitt.  I was left with one mitt. 

I asked for new mitts for Christmas.  Instead of getting a big, ugly, utilitarian mitt, I received a pricey, fancy Williams Sonoma mitt.  Lovely thought, terrible execution.  I hate it.  I hate it passionately.  Let me explain why:

It's too thick.  I can't get a good grip on roaster handles.  Pulling a 17 lb. turkey out of the oven is not the time to feel as if I don't have a grip on the situation.  The mitts are so thick I can't feel if I've picked up a pan or not. 

It's too short.  I can't reach to the back of the oven to retrieve baked potatoes without risking my delicate lady skin.  I constantly feel as if I'm dodging fiery hot racks.

It's ugly.  I don't like bright yellow.  The giver of said mitts loves yellow.  Me?  Not so much.  The above picture doesn't do the brightness justice.  A soft butter yellow is nice, highlighter yellow is not.

Okay, that last one was more petty than critique.  My bad.

The lesson here is that if you need good oven mitts, go to the barbecue store.  Just like if you want a good pair of working jeans, you must go to the men's side of the store, the same holds true for oven mitts.  If you need a good pair of mitts, go where the men get their mitts.  You can't go wrong.  Save the thick, fancy-label ones to impress your friends.  Maybe they'd be lovely on the wall?  If only I liked bright yellow... 

Before I post this I should add I've never tried the new-fangled silicone mitts.  Currently, I don't have the cash to buy a pair.  Should anyone like to send me a pair (or two) I'd be happy to try them and offer a pair as a giveaway.  Hint, hint.

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