Monday, March 6, 2017

How To Avoid Dishpan Hands

How to avoid dishpan hands.
Use oven mitts!

I was born with dishpan hands. It’s embarrassing, especially when I shake hands with other people. I’m sure it feels like rubbing against coarse sandpaper. 

I cook a lot, which obviously doesn’t help.

I’ve tried to improve this uncomfortable situation using various therapies through the years. This includes slathering on expensive ‘rejuvenating’ ointment at night and wearing white cotton gloves to bed. Not only did I feel foolish sleeping with white gloves but my rough hands never did rejuvenate.   

I’ve tried using Vaseline, olive oil and various hand-crafted creams, all with no positive results. When I was told by a dermatologist to apply hand cream 6x’s a day, I started keeping little tubes in my car.  I diligently applied it when I waited at stop lights. I thought this was a brilliant tactic, but it only left me driving with a greasy steering wheel. 

To be honest, I continually give up on all treatments after a few weeks because, well, if my rough hands didn’t transform and become velvety and baby-bum soft in that time then, in my mind, it doesn’t work on my cement-like hands. It is kinda like going on a diet. It gets boring, tedious and bothersome after a few weeks if there aren’t instant amazing results. 

The problem with my dry skin, weathered hands is not only with cooking. It’s in the hot soapy water they are constantly immersed in while washing the dishes. Plus, I also have the knack of constantly burning myself. I’ll pull something out of the oven and, in my excitement and anticipation of looking into the pot, I’ll pick up the lid with my bare hands. Ouch! Of course the lid is hot, it just came out of a 350 degree F oven!  I have many burn scars from my distracted cooking.  

Another peril are the oven racks. I forget (or can’t be bothered) to wear oven mitts with the extra large cuffs when I’m pulling out a sheet of cookies or muffins. Instead, I just grab a flimsy dishtowel and, well, I think you can guess what usually happens.

So, after 30 years of cooking I’m, pretty qualified about what not to do in the kitchen if you’re trying to have queen-like hands.  

How to avoid dishpan hands

1.  Water and hot oil in a pot do not mix. Be Careful.

If you have hot oil in a pot on the stove, and water accidentally drops into it, then the  oil will bounce out of the pot and leave a nice round flesh wound on your hands that will turn into a lifelong tattoo. Given this, remember to dry off any food before you add it to hot oil.   

2.  Buy thick oven mitts and use them.

3.  Buy decent rubber gloves and use them whenever you wash dishes.  

They need to be quite thick. The thin ones don’t protect your hands from the heat and I find they tear after a couple of weeks. The more expensive pairs are worth the money. 

4.  Use vinyl gloves when prepping food.

When you chop, cut, or peel any type of vegetable, I like to use disposal vinyl gloves, kinda like what the dentist uses. I buy a big box and keep them in the kitchen. This protects my hands from drying out (and smelling like garlic and onions), when prepping vegetables.

5.  When you do burn your hands, stop what you are doing and attend to yourself (the food can wait).  

Run cold water over your burn for 10 minutes.  You want to cool off the skin and ease the pain.  If you don’t want to waste water or your hand still hurts after the 10 minutes, then wrap your hand in a clean towel that’s been soaked in cold tap water.  When the burn warms up the towel,  refresh it with cold water.

6.  Use aloe vera cream on burns.

I once ended up in a hospital emergency and was told to use aloe vera cream, which really did help relieve the pain.  They also told me to keep my tetanus shot up-to-date (which is still on my to-do list).  

In summary.

I suggest trading in the white cotton cloves for the vinyl, rubber and oven mitts. Of course you could always try convincing others in the house to do all the vegetable chopping and dishwashing!  

As for me, I’d like to see a robot invented that will wash all my dishes and chop the veggies, and then I won’t have to worry about protecting my rough, dishpan hands.

How To Avoid Dishpan Hands
Wear oven mitts and rubber gloves

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