This is the first post in what I hope to be a weekly series about kitchen gear.
Up until about a year ago I didn't bother to wear an apron when I cook at home. Yes, I always wore an apron when I was cooking at medieval events, I can buy a week's worth of clothes for the money I spend on a complete 14th c gown, but my aprons would languish in the laundry room during the week. But I am now a convert to wearing an apron every time I'm doing things in the kitchen.
Why is an apron a tool? The best way to explain this is by detailing what I look for in an apron. Firstly, it should be a bib apron in that it should cover my front torso and calves. Most of the food splatter stains on my shirts are in the breast area and I want the length to protect me from splashing water when I wash dishes. Secondly, it must have pockets. Pockets...plural...not pocket...singular. A pocket is somewhere to put the timer, a bottle of water, tasting spoon/fork, notes, etc. Thirdly, I want the apron strings to be long enough to go around me and tie in the front. It's easier to tie an apron in the front and then you have something to tuck your towel into. I've tried tucking my towel into the tie on my hip when I have shorter apron strings and I don't find it nearly as convenient because I have to reach behind me to grab the towel. I also want my apron strings to tie in the front because I often tie my ring to the end and that isn't something that I want bouncing around behind my back. Finally, the neck strap should be wide and adjustable. Wide because it gives better distribution of weight and doesn't cut into your neck. Adjustable because everybody's torso is different and the apron strings should tie around the waist.
I've tried a few different apron styles and the above is what works best for me, your mileage may vary. The "mama-san" style apron offers very good coverage but there isn't anywhere to put your towel. The waist apron leaves the torso open to splashes and splatters so I'm not a fan.
How is an apron not a unitasker?
An apron can be stylish through customization and personalization so it can be viewed as an accessory in addition to protecting you and your clothing from splatter and splashes.You don't just have to wear aprons when working in the kitchen, they're also useful when cleaning the house. They've got pockets and you can hang things off your apron strings!
Happy cooking! - KP