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Kitchen Wear: Keeping Yourself Safe and Comfortable
When it comes to the kitchen, it’s easy forget about what you’re wearing. It’s a quick habit to throw together a small meal of a few low maintenance components in your everyday attire. But what about specialty cooking? What can you wear to save your nice clothing when it’s time to make a messy red sauce? And what kitchen wear is appropriate when it comes to a marathon cooking session?
Let’s face it, some clothes just aren’t made to be worn while cooking. Lucky for us, kitchen wear is becoming more technologically advanced to keep you safe and stylish at the same time. Let’s take a tour around your kitchen and think of ways to keep you safe and comfy while cooking, baking, and grilling.
Tying on the Apron Strings
Your apron should be an easy-to-reach staple in your kitchen. Aprons are important for short cooking sessions, as well as long dinner preparations. Your ideal apron will be well-fitted to protect you and your clothing from ingredient splatters. Depending on the type of day-to-day cooking you’re doing, there are a few main types of aprons to consider.
Aprons for Women
Women’s aprons are primarily styled as baker’s aprons. In most cases, these will tie as a halter behind the neck, and the strings will tie behind the back. To make this tie extra secure, it is common for bakers to wrap the strings all the way around the body to tie the bow in the front. This gives the baker a line to dangle a small rag or another useful tool.
Most women’s aprons are made of lightweight cotton, and many have designs, prints, and patterns on them. These designs are useful to disguise and hide stains and splatters. These aprons are primarily designed to catch messes like spilled flour and other splatters.
Keep in mind that these loose-weave, lightweight aprons will most likely not protect you from flames. In addition, many have ornamental lace and frills that could catch fire if you are frequently operating a gas stovetop or grill. If you are frequently cooking with an open flame, consider purchasing a more durable apron.
A good apron should hold up to frequent washing. Depending on your clothing preferences, you might be interested in synthetic blends with stain resistance.
Aprons for Men
Men’s aprons tend to be made from tighter weave cotton that is capable of deflecting possible flare-ups. These aprons use the same basic design as the women’s aprons, with a strap at the back of the neck and strings that tie in the back. However, they are made to cover a broader area, and they frequently feature pockets to hold tools like a meat thermometer or cell phone.
While densely woven natural fibers are capable of deterring flames, they are not altogether flameproof. If you are a frequent griller or expert on the barbeque, you might consider an apron that has been treated for flame or heat resistance.
How to Choose an Oven Mitt
Good oven mitts are one of the best ways to spoil yourself when selecting your kitchen wear. Standard cloth oven mitts will have enough padding to bring a glass casserole pan out of the oven and hold a cookie tray with confidence. But when it comes to retrieving a cast-iron dish that’s been baking in your oven at 400+ degrees Fahrenheit, that cloth oven mitt will not be able to protect your hands.
Recently, rubber and silicone oven mitts have been dominating the high-end oven mitt along with specially-developed heat-resistant oven gloves that allow you the dexterity of using all of your fingers to grip and manipulate your dishes in a hot oven. Heat-resistant gloves are a must-have for anyone who likes to cook in high-heat situations, and especially for pizza making and bread baking.
You might also consider the length of your mitt in your search. Serious bakers often find themselves with burns on their wrists and forearms. For some, gloves that reach all the way up your forearm will be a good investment.
Oven Mitts with Fingers
Also known as ‘oven gloves’, oven mitts with fingers are made of special heat-resistant fabric fibers that are treated with flame retardants. The fabric allows for a better fit to your hand and easier movements. Most have rubber grips. These can be thrown into your washing machine with your kitchen towels for easy cleaning.
Neoprene mitts are a synthetic rubber glove that can resist heat up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Neoprene Mitts are durable, and the rubber makes it easy for them to grip any surface. They are also easy to clean and wash along with your other dishes.
Silicone Mitts and Gloves
Silicone mitts and gloves can provide the highest heat protection, ranging up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Silicone versions will allow you to quickly grip and transport anything in your oven or on your stovetop. These are highly recommended for anyone trying to bake bread on a hearthstone in the oven.
Safety at the Grill
When you have a griller in the family, the outdoor patio becomes an extended part of the kitchen. Grilling safety tips usually focus on the grill usage itself, but there’s a lot you can do with kitchen wear to keep yourself out of harm’s way.
A pair of grill or barbecue gloves beats using tongs any day. Grill gloves give you the chance to handle your meat right off the grill so that you can place it in the best spots for the evenest cooking. And, even when tongs and spatulas are your favorite grilling tools, these gloves will allow you to approach a hot grill with confidence.
Grill gloves are often made of the same materials as the oven mitts above, but they are more frequently treated for fire-resistance, and they always allow your fingers freedom of independent movement. In addition, grill gloves are insulated to not just cut down on heat but protect your hand inside of the glove.
Grill gloves come in synthetic fabric, silicone, and rubber. When choosing grill gloves, make sure that they are non-slip, heat resistance for 400+ degrees Fahrenheit, and water resistant to protect you from hot juices and caramelized marinades.
Fabrics to Avoid While Grilling
There are a few varieties of synthetic fabrics such as nylon, acrylic, and polyester, which do not catch flame but instead melt at very high temperatures. It is best to avoid grilling in these synthetic fibers, because when they become very hot they can melt into your skin, causing very serious burns.
Also avoid wearing any natural fabrics with loose or shaggy hairs or threads, like loosely knit sweaters. Loose threads make it much easier for your garments to catch fire.
The Grades of Fire Retardant Fabrics
Flame resistant fabrics are made from materials that designed to be non-flammable, or, in other words, to prevent the spread of fire. These materials, while synthetic, will not melt or drip when exposed to flame. These fabrics might burn slowly, and can be self-extinguishing.
Flame retardant fabrics are chemically treated to burn very slowly or be self-extinguishing when exposed to flame. These fabrics can be made from any material but must be chemically treated to achieve this classification.
De-Accessorizing for Safety
One of the best ways to keep yourself safe and comfortable in the kitchen is to remove your jewelry and make sure to wear clothes that are appropriate for operating kitchen equipment. While it can be fun to feel glamorous in the kitchen, you will find the work easier if you don’t have to worry about working around your jewelry and outfit.
Cute jewelry bowls can be easy to find and keep in your kitchen. Many people keep them by the sink so that when they wash their hands before preparing a meal, they can remember to remove their rings and other bulky jewelry.
You might think of removing large or bulky earrings and necklaces. Small earrings won’t a problem in the kitchen, but anything bulky or dangling can get caught when you bend down to retrieve something from the oven.
Be aware of long necklaces when operating something like a hand or standing mixer. And check that your watch is water-resistance before subjecting it to repeated hand washing. Watches with leather bands can go in the ring bowl for protection as well.
Finally, be aware of long draping sleeves, sashes, scarves, and wraps with long ribbons. Any of these things could easily drag through food cooking on the stovetop or get shut in the oven, increasing the risk of fires.
As technologies improve heat resistant fabrics, it is becoming easier to find kitchen wear that treads the line between stylish and practical. To pick what you need for your own cooking habits, identify what works best for your routine, and don’t forget to leave room for growth and culinary exploration!