How to condition my hands to the heat?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by iliketouching, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. iliketouching

    iliketouching

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    Can't boil water
    Hello, this is my first post on the forum :)

    I thought i'd ask what to me is an essential technique in the kitchen, I basically want to know if there are methods that I can practice and go through to have my hands better adapt to handle hot foods, my father (48) still works as a chef at a Chinese restaurant/takeaway and on days i'm reminded of how much of a pussy I am compared to him. He handles food (which are blazing hot to me) like its bloody frozen  and just goes in without a seconds thought. I mean i'm at least able not to turn or run away when oil spits but when things like plates are microwaved for an extended time I can't hold it and same goes for plastic containers which explodes with steam as soon as you open it. Any exercises any of you can recommend (personally trialed?) would be a great help!!! 

    Thank you for your time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
  2. gunnar

    gunnar

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    A: hold everything by the edges. B: If you don't work the line you can't do it as well they can.  Sorry, cause I have made "Chef" now, heh, I don"t have the "Hot Hands" for everything I used to have. No more snatching baked potatoes barehanded or pulling a hotel pan out of 200F barehanded and putting in a chafing dish. I need a towel.
     
  3. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Working a hot line and or cooking should not be a pain tolerance contest. Just let nature take it's course. Extended exposure over a regular basis will naturally evolve into your desired goal. Short cuts will probably lead to unnecessary discomfort or worse. Remember, your pain receptors in your fingers are your friends. They know what they are doing.
     
  4. statscook

    statscook

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    honestly when I worked a line, everyone had a small dish towel with them and used it for just about everything, the guys who had the tolerance (usually the ones fresh off dish or the ones who had been doing it for a a LONG time) would occasionally grab it barehanded, but using a towel you'll be kinda surprised how after the first week it really becomes part of your hand just take a dish towel fold it once and it works amazingly. just my advice/experience
     
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  5. siduri

    siduri

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    I never cooked in a professional kitchen but this is something I noticed. 

    I was at a friend's house and her mother was visiting.  She picked up something that was (to me) incredibly hot, that i would have used a potholder to take.  I said "watch out, you'll burn your hands" and she said no she wouldn't - it wasn't that hot. 

    I think with experience you get an idea of how hot is too hot.  If you blister or even if the skin stays red it's too hot to handle.  But our pain receptors will set off alarms before that temperature.  Curious about what that older woman said, I began to try to pick up hotter things than i thought i could handle, and in fact, they felt hot but didn;t burn me. 

    Have you ever felt something frozen, not knowing what it was, like a dish that had been in the freezer, and you touch it accidentally and pull your hand away because it seems to be burning hot?  That's because we have a sensation (which is the neuological aspect of the feeling) and then a perception or feeling, which is the mental aspect - the interpretation of the sensation.  Perception is governed by experience, sensation is always the same.  So the more you find that things that seem too hot are not, the mroe your perceptive areas of the brain (still the brain but the "higher" areas) will register them as "uncomfortably hot but not dangerously hot". 

    But, as Cheflayne says, the pain receptors are your friends, and nature tends to work on the "better safe than sorry" principle.  As time goes on you'll be able to decide what will burn you and what just feels very hot.  So protect your hands! Don't buy into the macho kitchen attitude.  You could permanently damage yourself if you're not careful with hot things.  And for what?
     
  6. chefross

    chefross

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    This all begs the question......and it is directed towards the Chef's on this thread.

    Do you wear this ability to handle hot pans with your bare hands as a badge on your chest?

    Do you feel you are not "with it" or "cool" because you have to use a towel or hot pad?

    Please.

    You will find that as you gain more experience from handling hot items that your hands will adapt.

    Nothing more.

    This is not the Professional forum.

    This is simply questions from people who cook in the homes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I find that calluses help.  I get calluses on my left hand because I play the violin.  Thus I handle most hot things in my left hand.  Find a way to build some calluses in your hands, maybe yard work would do the trick.  Or just use kitchen gloves, what's the big deal?

    If plates are getting hot in the microwave then 1) those plates are not microwave safe and 2) why are you using a microwave in a professional kitchen?
     
  8. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    It never ceases to amaze me, the multitude of interpretations that will crop up due to all the different individuals on this forum. I should have figured it out by now that interpretations and reactions are like snowflakes, but for some reason it still fascinates the simple mind.
    I don't see this in any of the responses posted
     
  9. iliketouching

    iliketouching

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    I understand but there are tons of situations where I don't have the time to pick up a towel and pick up or chop up what I need too in the kitchen, an example would be as soon as spring rolls are taken out of the fryer and placed on some cloth, I'm expected to place those rolls into a bag and I can manage it but only barely. Fastest and expected method is to use my hands, I guess if it were any other sort of kitchen i'd be able to have a tong to pick it up just not this one haha.

    Thanks for your advice though.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
  10. iliketouching

    iliketouching

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    Not necessarily, I help out during the times I can at the place but a part of me wants to take this as a career into other types of cuisines. Trying to keep up with the fact that I can't handle hot foods will either make me send out the food slower or having someone else help me and I hate to slow others down just because of my simple inability to handle what they do for XX years... Honestly it makes me depressed that I can't do such a simple thing. Also I couldn't post in the professionals section because I 'can't boil water', didn't know that would affect my posts.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
  11. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    We are working with hot ovens, boiling pots of water, pans out of the oven, hot steam, hot oil.......

    Where are your towels ? The damp cloth (which I don't work without) ? Hot pads .....

    No job is worth getting burns over (except the ones that happen by accident) . Common sense comes first in the kitchen.

    Petals.

    ps. The other day , someone was not paying attention , they pulled a very hot pan out of the oven, got busy with something else for a second, he went to grab the handle, all he said heard was a sizzle of his hand caught on the handle. Obviously this was an accident.
     
  12. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Think of ice cold. condition finger tips first.
     
  13. iliketouching

    iliketouching

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    Haha well those last two questions don't help with my situation, it just questions how the establishment works. I edited my OP and added 'takeaway' hopefully making it understandable why it does have a microwave. :D

    I guess calluses might help since my hands have never been worked to the point to develop them (too spoiled in terms of hard labor). Thanks :)
     
  14. iliketouching

    iliketouching

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    Ouch

    We don't use towels or at least they don't, the only time I see them use cloths are when they take the roast ducks out the oven. As far as I know they worked in places in the past without much safety or regulations so burns were plenty back in their days.
     
  15. statscook

    statscook

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    have you tried wearing gloves? just simple non latex gloves? When I started out washing dishes we put two gloves on each hand to hand the dishes cause they came out of the machine screaming hot especially the metal items. Just a suggestion, because whenever the preps called me to assist them in portioning and bag stuff I had to wear gloves anyways, you'd be surprised how much it helps. Just see if you can get a box of gloves to put on when you start your shift
     
  16. ordo

    ordo

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    The rice bucket baseball exercise is great. Use hot rice and in a month you're done for any kitchen in the world. Of course, forget about any finger's sensibility.
     
  17. durangojo

    durangojo

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    why in the world would you want to 'condition' your hands to heat in the first place.....heat hurts...burns hurt, steam hurts, frying splatters hurt, oven burns hurt,picking up hot pots hurt...if you don't learn to always have a towel on you (bring inyour own if you have to), you will have a very,very,very short career in the kitchen....no excuses, just do it...

    joey
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2012
  18. ordo

    ordo

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    I have another option for the OP: work for one year in a tandoor kitchen.
     
  19. durangojo

    durangojo

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    one last thing...i noticed that your moniker is 'i like touching'...well that won't be happening if you don't use towels or hot pads or something between you and the heat! your hands will turn into lobster claws, you won't be able to feel your girlfriends hair or finer features..you'll be frankenstienish in your touch.....just because your father doesn't use them doesn't mean that you should follow...have you followed all of his ways, his advice? hey, maybe you will teach him someting new grasshopper!...anyway just a last thought...

    joey
     
  20. steelybob

    steelybob

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    to the OP: pull sugar. take it up as a hobby. you might even make a lot of money at it later on once you've learned how to do it well.
     
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