Over the years of my time spent working in the kitchen, I have been trained and made habit of doing things a certain way. Old habits can be hard to break. I remember in my early days when applying for this one job, I told my boss that I did not have too many years of experience yet. He was looking for minimum of two years of experience. I barely had one. His response was, “That’s okay. Hopefully that means you haven’t picked up too many bad habits yet.” I now know what he meant by that. Not every kitchen runs the same way. Particular work habits and routines that have become second nature may not work in another kitchen. Adjusting and changing old habits may not always be easy. There may be times when you may not agree with everything in the way things are done. Sometimes I think that the stupidest people make the stupidest rules. And I just want to smack them.
From what I have seen, glove wearing seems to reduce hand washing. Hands are protected from the barrier of the latex, so it’s not uncommon for (ignorant) kitchen workers to think that gloves will keep things sanitary. They’ll walk around, open doors, take out the trash, mop the floors, and do all that while keeping the same gloves on for hours. The common mentality is that if gloves are (visibly) clean and poultry wasn’t touched, changing frequently and washing in between is not necessary. Yeah, not every kitchen worker majored in Microbiology.
Kneading dough – Really? This is like the most frustrating thing ever! That sensation you feel when touching and kneading the dough becomes hindered by the latex barrier. There really is nothing like getting your hands in dough. I almost want to compare it to a ceramicist working with clay. The feel of the object is vital when working with, to become one with. And gloves only get in the way, BIG TIME.
I don’t work with sushi, but I can imagine what a nightmare it would be to wear gloves when crafting an art that relies on sense of feel. Oh God and I can just imagine the rice sticking to the latex. Who are these morons to enforce such a stupid law that messes with such delicate art that has been around since God knows when?
It’s bad enough having to work with gloves that actually fit. But try working like this!
So when I walk into an unfamiliar kitchen, I can almost always expect that they are not going to have size Small gloves. My regular places have not really enforced the glove law. When the law was intact and the health department strolled by, we might have scavenged around for them. But glove wearing has never been a priority at most places I have worked (as a regular). Otherwise, I might have walked out on week one.
When picking up assignments through these agencies, more often than not, glove wearing was a requirement at most places. And so was using a cut glove….double suffocation!! A cut glove is used on the opposite hand holding the knife. So imagine being covered up with thick clothed material AND wearing another glove on top of that. Major suffocation! I want to smack whoever made this stupid rule.
The glove I am wearing in the pictures above is a size medium, the smallest size they had at this one kitchen. They were pretty adamant about glove wearing too. “Ya’ll are morons!” I wanted to say to them. It’s impossible for me to cut a vegetable without cutting a piece of the latex fingers off. I had to pick out pieces of latex from the food. Is this stupid or what? I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to be working with 2-3 inches of latex hanging from your fingers. I ended up cutting the latex inches. It didn’t help much, but at least it kept me from cutting off latex pieces into the food.
If it was my regular kitchen, I could ask for small gloves to be ordered. But when I do on-call stuff, who am I to ask them to spend additional money on smaller gloves just for little old me? I mean, I may not even come back after my duty ended there. Then they’d be left with extra gloves that no one uses. But in my opinion, kitchens should be stocked with at least a case of small gloves just in case, especially if they are prone to have temporary help on a regular basis. You never know who is going to come into your kitchen. It may be a person with kid sized hands, like me.
I actually went as far as purchasing my own set of size small gloves, out of my own pocket. I mean, what else could I do in such situations, right? They will come in handy for long term. But I think I will need to look into buying at least a box of them. And they are not exactly cheap. That is money coming out of my own pocket that I could be spending on IDK…gas?
When it is time to eat while working in these kitchens, I always feel iffy. Knowing what goes on back in the kitchen, I find myself cringing and barely able to swallow. I have to force myself.