Sometimes, as they say, it’s the little things. Every time I open a kitchen drawer to find a neat stack of clean white flour sack towels, I smile (at least inside).
They’re just humble squares of white cotton gauze, but they’re perfectly adapted to life in the kitchen. Folded into a small square, they’re great for wiping down countertops or sponging up spills, making wasteful (and expensive) paper towels and potentially unsanitary kitchen sponges almost unnecessary. Folded into a larger rectangle, they’re a perfect soft and absorbent kitchen towel for wiping hands (and toddlers’ faces), drying dishes and handling hot lids and handles. (My collection of flour sack towels also did hard duty as spit-up cloths for baby Julia.) Opened to full size, they’re a soft, lint-free cloth for drying glassware. They hold up to years of heavy use, but when they’ve worn thin, I cut them up and use them in place of cheesecloth to strain liquids and to make packets for herbs and spices that infuse flavor into sauces. (To see the flour sack towel starring in this role, check out my post on Turkish Coffee Creams.)
They’re not cut from old flour sacks anymore, of course, but you can buy organic cotton flour sack towels at Williams Sonoma (and at www.williams-sonoma.com) for $14 for a set of three. Nearly every time I go to a store, I pick up a set to keep the drawer full.