My Paper Towel Problem


This is hard so I need a second. (Ahem.) Ok, my name is Adam Roberts and I have a problem. It started when I began cooking nine years ago and Sara Moulton said on the TV that you should blot your chicken before it goes into the oven to help the skin crisp up. I’ve been blotting ever since. But not just blotting and not just chicken. Paper towels are a constant in my kitchen–I use them to swipe the counters after cooking something messy, to pat vegetables dry after rinsing them under the sink, to line a mesh strainer when draining yogurt or ricotta–you name it, paper towels can do it. And I’m addicted.

The thing is I know it’s really bad for the environment to waste paper towels. With specific tasks, like wiping the counter, I often try to use kitchen towels so as not to waste paper towels. Only, more often than not, and no matter how many kitchen towels I buy, the dirty pile grows faster than I can keep up and the paper towels are there calling me: “C’mon, just use a few sheets. No one’s gonna see.”

And to be honest, I prefer using paper towels. They’re so absorbent. And because they’re disposable, you don’t have to worry about wiping up red wine or chicken grease or other things that’ll stain or funk up your kitchen towels. With paper towels, all your mistakes go out with the trash; with kitchen towels, they’re there to haunt you forever.

I know, I know. There’s no excuse. Trees are dying, forests are being depleted, Nancy Walker is dead.

But damn it all, I like using paper towels. They make kitchen life so much easier.