Learn from my pain.
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Credit: Photo by Kat Kinsman

I occasionally forget that my hands aren't made of Teflon and burn the crap out of them while cooking. Not all the time—just often enough that it makes a serious impression right then and for a few days after. And then I'll forget and grab the piping-hot cast-iron skillet handle again. I'm not a flake or a masochist (at least not in the kitchen), but I do have plenty of other pans with handles that don't conduct heat well enough to smelt ore, so I forget and reach out and sear myself once again.

Or, rather, I did until I wised up and bought a handle sleeve. I'm gonna just say it and quickly move past—it's basically a silicone (or similar material) cover that slips onto the handle of a skillet, creating a barrier between skin and hot metal. It’s also usually textured with a series of ridges or bumps to prevent slippage while ferrying the heavy pan from burner to burner, or to the table. Mine in particular is made by Le Creuset and is specially curved to fit the contours of my treasured Le Creuset skillet. It's safe up to 482°F, but plenty of other brands, like Lodge, Williams-Sonoma, Orbille, and Amazon Basics offer their versions as well in a panoply of colors and girths, from less than $2 to about $16 at the top end.

Yes, I am aware that dishtowels and oven mitts exist, and that potholders are available for purchase or can also be crafted by a competent toddler in the course of an afternoon. But I’m allowing myself this indulgence. Unless it’s being washed (it’s dishwasher-safe, even!), it’s snuggled right there on the handle of my pan, and I don’t even have to think about it. Since its arrival at my home several months ago, I am happy to report a 100 percent reduction in the number of skillet-related burns that I have incurred. And if they could just make one that I could slip over my tongue before impatiently sipping my coffee while it’s too danged hot, I’d be all set.

This article originally appeared in Extra Crispy.