There seems to be two camps in the cooking world: potholders or no potholders. I am in the second. Tradition, notwithstanding, I find them cumbersome and, frankly, dangerous. My husband, on the otherhand, believes that they will, somehow, protect him from every conceivable hot surface within a 10-mile radius, and without them, will surely send him to the nearest metropolitan burn unit. Besides, it’s what his mother taught him. (Too hot to touch, you realize. Although, am tempted.)
I choose to use tea towels. The same ones I have hanging nearby for drying my hands, dishes, and anything else which needs drying. Within reason. Just like the master chefs you see on foodie networks around the globe, I, too, fold them in such a way as to fit over any pot opening, or stiffly (and safely) grab onto an awkwardly designed handle, or even pulling out a super-hot oven rack in the middle of basting a lovely meat. If you fold it correctly, you won’t need to worry about flames attacking your dutiful towel, or burned fingers, which somehow manage to occur while using potholders, no matter how large or thick they appear.
One caveat: Do not, ever, use a slip (while still on your body) to grab hold of a whistling tea kettle early in the morning, while Kaukab is asleep. The gas flames don’t care that you are an innocent 10-year-old child, who has watched her mother, several times, use her own daysmock to do the same. Only, her’s never caught on fire. With no one in sight. All this child wanted was a nice cup of tea. Luckily, the washbasin, used by Kaukab to pre-wash dirty laundry and being only feet away from the evil stove, (Can’t explain now why the stove and washbasin share the same cooking space; there’s an innocent child on fire!) said child tore off scorched slip and ran to her bedroom to change for school. The tea would have to wait. Moral of the story: Potholders are dangerous.