This post is part of our 'This Is Fire' series, where our editors and writers tell you about the products they can't live without in the kitchen.
I bake and roast food a lot. Part of it is my job, constantly developing recipes and writing about food. But part of it is because I genuinely enjoy making food. I love the comfort of making something that my loved ones (and myself) take pleasure in. And I love the peacefulness I get prepping and making the food. It’s why I am constantly on the search for the best kitchen tools and equipment. A well thought-out piece of equipment or a perfectly designed tool makes working in the kitchen all the more pleasurable.
But sometimes you have to look outside the typical kitchen tool to find the right tool. That’s when I discovered welding gloves.
Rapicca Welding Gloves
Gloves makes it easy to grasp hot pots and dishes
Heatproof to 2360 degrees Fahrenheit
Long length covers forearms
Leather gets dirty easy
Can’t use with wet hands
I used to bake as a hobby, but once I began working in the food space and baking became a living, I needed another hobby. So, I took up ceramics and pottery. And though there’s quite a lot of idealized romance of working on the potter’s wheel (thanks to the movie Ghost), there’s a lot more to ceramics than just spinning clay on a wheel. The most dangerous part is firing the clay, where the temperature of a kiln like the one I use can get up to 2360 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Yes, that’s not a typo, 2360 degrees. And you know what I wear when I fire the kiln and have to make adjustments to it? Welding gloves.
It never occurred to me to start using welding gloves in the kitchen until one of my silicone oven mitts finally split open. I was never super happy with any silicone mitts, as they had a tendency to get a little slippery if they came into contact with any oil or fat, a major issue when you’re roasting a big hunk of meat or a large bird. But I’d been using them for a while and I just thought all oven mitts were a little cumbersome and awkward. But when I went to replace them, I realized that I could get a pair of welding gloves—the same ones I used when dealing with a ceramic kiln that reaches quadruple digits temperature—for roughly the same price as a new pair of oven mitts.
I’m not the only person to think of this. Reading the reviews for welding gloves will tell you that a lot of wood-fire pizza oven users also use welding gloves when making their pizza, as they allow folks to navigate the 800-degree oven way more comfortably than regular oven mitts. This is due to welding gloves being made from heat-resistant leather. Since they are designed for welders (as the name implies), they are comfortable to wear, have individual fingers that allow you to hold smaller items like metal rods and plates, and are longer than traditional oven mitts, which means more protection from the heat and potential burns all the way up your forearms.
I realized that I could get a pair of welding gloves—the same ones I used when dealing with a ceramic kiln that reaches quadruple digits temperature—for roughly the same price as a new pair of oven mitts
The downside of welding gloves is they do get dirty quicker in the kitchen, though you can clean them with saddle soap, a specific type of soap designed to clean leather. Splashes and grabbing roasting pans carelessly might mean the fingertips of the gloves will get stains on them. But it’s a small price to pay for being able to comfortably hold a heavy roasting pan in your hands or being able to carefully take out a soufflé, and not have to rush to put it down because you can feel the heat through the glove.
Once I switched over to using the welding gloves in the kitchen, I questioned why I ever used the silicone oven mitts for as long as I did. The welding gloves are comfortable, affordable, and durable. And they make me love working in the kitchen even more, which makes them an ideal piece of kitchen equipment.
Material: Leather, Kevlar, cotton, aluminum foil | Length: 16 inches | Care: Hand Wash
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Irvin Lin is a writer, recipe developer and photographer based in San Francisco. His cookbook Marbled, Swirled and Layered was picked as one of the best baking cookbooks of 2016 by the New York Times. He writes the nationally recognized blog Eat the Love and his work has been featured in the Washington Post; O, The Oprah Magazine; Serious Eats; Simply Recipes; and more.