I'm having trouble changing my habits concerning a few issues and would appreciate suggestions.
For many items, you're supposed to pat the meat dry with a paper towel before seasoning and cooking. I've been skipping this step because I don't want to waste paper towels, and I don't know what else could be used for patting the meat dry that wouldn't spread germs. As a result, my recipes aren't turning out right! I'm not cool with using a rag and washing it after getting fish or chicken bacteria on it. I think to get it sanitized, I'd have to use extra hot water and take extra steps, which would cost lots of time. What else can I do?
Also, recipes say to place something that has been fried in oil on a paper towel to drain the oil. (Such as bacon or crispy wonton noodles.) What can be used instead of a paper towel? I've used rags before, but I worry about the grease ruining my appliances or pipes when I wash them. The only thing I can think of is to use a rag but throw it away, which means I'd need a steady supply of throw-away rags on hand, and that still seems wasteful. Other ideas?
Finally, I have medical conditions that cause problems with my skin. All the handwashing necessary when cooking is causing my hands to be worse--cracked and bleeding. I used to use latex gloves when cooking, but I stopped that when I realized how wasteful it was. I've tried the reuseable rubber gloves, but I can't feel what I'm doing, and they're way too large and klunky. What would be a better way?
Thanks for helping me learn better ways of navigating in the place where we eat!
PS If this message sounds kind of funny, it's because I kept getting the error "Message contains common spam words." I had to guess what the "common spam words" were and edit it in weird ways just so it would post. This is ridiculous! If I weren't desperate for help, I would not have wasted my time. I probably won't post here again if this is the way it is.
Firstly, well done on changing your habits - it's never easy to make that change, so good for you!
Regarding your hands, what I have done is found a lady in my area who makes a very natural soap without all the harsh detergents that are present in all the commercial soaps. Failing that, you could consider making up a paste yourself from lemon juice and baking soda. (Or see http://www.ecofriendlylink.com/blog/homemade-beauty-products-lemons/ for some more ideas).
Regarding patting meat dry, I don't do this myself so I can't comment, (though I agree it's very wasteful). However, I found this on the internet: "cook the meat in a low oven on a rack until they reach an internal temperature of 32°C and then sear them in a hot pan for ~2 minutes per side, plus 30 seconds each for the thin sides. The initial oven cook will do a good job of drying the meat before the sear, so they end up being great, even without pre-drying"
I know that sterilizing can be done in the microwave. Maybe, after patting your meat you could wash the cloth with soap and water in the sink, stick it in the microwave for 5 minutes to sterilize, then launder.
As for you hands when cooking-- maybe washing and reusing latex gloves? My grandmother does it.