The Hand That Rocks the Ladle


Who loses an oven glove in a pandemic? 

Is there anyone who gives two figs about losing an oven glove in a pandemic? But there is something very lonely about a single hand; I’ve never even like one-armed bandit machines, because they seem like amputees.

My oven glove’s sister is 16 x 6 inches, black, and, until today, I would have said as unlikely to be lost as a haystack in a hayloft.

And yet, five minutes ago, when I opened the kitchen drawer where both gloves have lived for a year, the identical twin sat silently, slightly flour-stained, bemoaning the loss of its sibling. How can this have happened?

One of the good things to have transpired from self-isolation (and there have been, surprisingly, a lot of positives) is that I can no longer lose my iPhone. I can mislay it, certainly, and have done, many times, but it always turns up – under the duvet, on the toilet floor, in the fridge – because I haven’t been anywhere that I have to phone at 2am, begging the few staff left to track down the dodgy guy I am convinced has it and who was sitting at the end of the bar (this actually happened and I successfully retrieved it, Poirot style, by the way).

My keys, phone and jacket are now always in my apartment, and the absence of thieving venues has made my life considerably less stressful. Ovenglovegate has changed all that.

Last year, when I packed up my belongings from Los Angeles, after a brief attempt at being bi-coastal, I moved back to New York and had to make major decisions about what to take. I remember the oven gloves very specifically. Packing up my kitchen stuff, I thought: what person, in their right mind, keeps two pairs of oven gloves, one of which they have never used? I gave one pair away. 

The black ones I kept (I cannot tell you how difficult it was to decide; it was the culinary equivalent of Sophie’s Choice) and they have served me well ever since; given how much cooking I am doing during the current crisis, I really need them. Only if I lost an arm would one glove be of any use and I am now at a loss as to how to solve the mystery.

I’ve cleaned out and reorganized my fridge/freezer (not there), tidied my china cupboards (not there), double checked the washing machine and dryer (not there). My apartment is under 650sq ft, so there really are very few places it can have gone. I know I won’t have thrown it out because the bin I keep under the sink is barely bigger than the glove and I would definitely have noticed it amongst the potato peelings (okay, wine bottles, but you get my drift).

In the large scale of things at present, it’s not important, I know. I mean, it’s not like I’ve had a ransom note asking for money, or an ear sent in the post. I’ve even become quite adept at lifting dishes with one hand, a bit like last year when I broke my humerus and adapted quickly to opening wine bottles with my knees and one hand (and we’re talking corks, not screw-tops; yes, I’m that good). 

But I’m someone who knows, and who likes to know, where everything is in my kitchen, and I thought that my newly acquired butcher’s block unit that makes my pots and pans more accessible, had changed my life. It has, and I love it; but now the glove has gone. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

Was God angry because I had shown so much pleasure in the acquisition of a material object? Quite frankly, he could have cut me some slack. I’ve been banging on long enough about His great sunrises and sunsets and how much joy we should take in nature; was it really too much to ask that He spare me an oven glove for my troubles?

As I write this, I am looking over the Hudson at a glorious sunset and, out of spite, I’m not going to give it any publicity; I can be mean like that, God. If you return my oven glove, I might reconsider.

LIVE UPDATE: As I am writing (honestly!), I suddenly think that maybe I inadvertently put the second glove in one of the lower cupboards when I was reorganising my plastic and glass sections (come on, people; these are stressful times). 

Lo and behold! There’s glove number two! 

I am happy beyond belief. I’m like Joseph opening his technicolor dream coat (before his brothers threw him into the pit, obviously).

You’re still not forgiven though, God. 

The gloves are off. 

Both of them.