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.
Math and I have never been good friends. I can calculate a tip like a beast and do division instantaneously, but that type of simple equation in my head is where it ends.
After pastry school, measurement conversions should be second nature, but for me, they are not. I have always had to look up how many ounces are in a liter or how many tablespoons are in a pound. Forget about cups in a quart. Let’s just say baking my husband’s favorite strawberry layer cake with chocolate buttercream frosting tested my limits. Looking up measurement conversions on my phone with sticky fingers and clouds of powdered sugar everywhere was messy to say the least. Thank goodness the sticks of butter have measurements laid out on the packaging.
The days of struggling with measurements ended when I stumbled across a conversion tea towel in my local Williams Sonoma. It beckoned to me, hidden beneath a pile of other cloths. From that moment on, I knew my life was about to get much easier in the kitchen.
If you ask me for a recipe and we’re friends, you’re probably getting a set of these—it’s that good.
Williams Sonoma Kitchen Conversions Tea Towel, Set of 2
At home, I hung it right on my oven door for easy reference during recipe development or whenever I needed precision in my baking. Sometimes I even loop it on the cabinet door above the counter so I have everything right at eye level.
Who’s tried out a recipe that calls for a “dash” of salt or a splash of apple cider vinegar? It’s frustrating. This towel actually has conversions for those nebulous measurements—and they work. The cute substitutions at the top of the towel even saved a batch of homemade chocolate pudding when I realized I was out of fresh milk. I use it constantly and even bought a second one so I wouldn’t be without it when I put it in the laundry.
Cleanup is super simple on this soft cotton tea towel. I just throw it in the washing machine and tumble dry. No complicated laundering instructions. I also really love that it doubles as a pot holder when folded, a trivet for hot dishes, and a conversation piece when used as a serving towel.
Pretty soon our whole family will be on the kitchen conversion tea towel system.
Unfortunately, my original tea towel is no longer sold, but when I was shopping for a set to send to my daughter who loves to bake, I found a great replacement. The Williams Sonoma Measurement Towel features vintage illustrations that offer this towel utility as decor beyond its practical uses. It’s durable, sustainably sourced, and now comes in a set of two. I sent a set to my daughter along with my pumpkin pie recipe last Thanksgiving.
She loves the ease of just hanging her tea towel near the stove for quick measurement and substitution reference as she ventures into baking on her own. My son doesn't know it yet, but when he asked for my key lime and buttermilk pie recipes, he sealed his stocking stuffers for this year. Pretty soon our whole family will be on the kitchen conversion tea towel system.
Long ago, people used tea towels to cover a pot of tea to keep it warm. I use mine for this when I brew a pot, but their real value comes in the relief I feel at not having to do complicated math in my head or on my phone when I’m elbows deep in dough. If you ask me for a recipe and we’re friends, you’re probably getting a set of these—it’s that good.
Price at time of publish: $25
Dimensions: 20 inches x 30 inches | Machine Washable: Yes | Material: Cotton
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Carrie Honaker is a food writer, restaurateur, and avid home cook, who knows the importance of finding the right tool for the right job. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Basically, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.