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Jewelry on chefs, and what about Naomi? ( and you' when you cook)

I don't have cable. I am an artless, unsophisticated heathen. I do watch a lot of cooking shows because here in Austin our PBS station has 3 digital stations and one of them shows a lot of cooking shows. One thing I am noticing, and this is beginning to bug me, is that most, if not all ( I like commas) leave on their rings when they cook. Even my favorite chef heroine girl friend ( from afar) cutie Sara Moulton does.

The reason it bugs me is that I consider it unsanitary. Think of food getting lodged under the ring, putrefying and then contaminating other food. Think of the ring, or whatever, coming off and choking someone to death who got the unlucky muffin.

Am I a worry wart or does anyone else see this as a potentially dangerous situation?

Do you cook with your rings on? and what about Naomi?

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  1. <The reason it bugs me is that I consider it unsanitary>

    Doctors wear ties are unsanitary too, and that is a real situation.


    <Think of food getting lodged under the ring, putrefying and then contaminating other food. Think of the ring, or whatever, coming off and choking someone to death who got the unlucky muffin.>

    Keep in mind that these are cooking shows. They are not in a real kitchen cooking for real people. USDA does discourage cooks from wearing rings:

    "Avoid wearing jewelry except for a plain ring, such as a wedding band.

    The foodservice environment is no place to wear jewelry. The only jewelry permitted is a plain ring, such as a wedding band. It is difficult to maintain clean hands when wearing rings because bacteria can hide on the finger underneath the ring and also in a ring setting. Jewelry such as rings with settings, bracelets, or earrings can fall off in food or get caught in equipment causing an injury to the wearer. For the use of medical information jewelry, follow the recommendations from the state or local public health department. "

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Health care industry is pretty much the same with rings for sanitary reasons & also to prevent puncturing gloves.

    2. I'm with you, but for slightly different reasons. I don't wear my rings much because I get tired of taking them off and looking for a safe place to put them when I'm in the kitchen. I don't like the wet underneath them or the junk in them that collects while cooking. I do wear two small gold chains around my neck and am always reminded of how conductive gold is when I lean into the oven and then stand back up. Ow!

      1. No, I don't cook with my rings on if I am a making or mixing anything with my hands. I will also take my watch off as well.

        1. I don't wear jewellery usually... but if I did, I'd take it off to cook because rings would get dirty!

          1. Having worked in labs, and now in kitchens, I've never developed the habit of wearing hand-jewelry. Not even a wedding band (although I have one).
            On the topic of cooking shows... I did a TV segment ONCE, after which some viewer feedback included criticism that I didn't wear gloves. It's TV; it's FAKE. But yes, I do wish that TV chefs would wash their hands on=screen, just once in a while.

            3 Replies
            1. re: KarenDW

              Cooks on the FN channel started making a show of washing their hands some time ago. I'm sure it was in response to viewer criticism.

              1. re: miss_belle

                I think it's a good thing. I myself wash my hands (and no, it's not surgeon washing-up caliber) about every 5 minutes when I cook.

                1. re: DGresh

                  Oh I agree. I always wash my hands while cooking too. Just kind of ridiculous that it took criticism from viewers for them to change their ways.

            2. Guess I'm the exception. I wear my engagement ring and wedding band, and the emerald ring my mother left me, *all the time*. I would never take them off (other than to clean them every once in awhile) for fear of losing them. That's a far worse thing than getting a bit of dough on them or whatever. I mean, other than mixing bread dough, I don't really get that much crud on my hands.

              4 Replies
              1. re: DGresh

                You do know that emeralds are quite fragile I hope. I have an emerald and diamond engagement ring, e & d wedding band and eternity ring. would never cook with them on and generally wear a plain gold wedding band day in and day out. I worked in a jewelry store and can't remember the number of times very sad people came in with broken stones (not just emeralds). I've seen broken diamonds. Yes they are breakable, if they weren't they could not be cut.

                1. re: Candy

                  I hear you but I'm not changing my ways. I'm no spring chicken and this works for me. I want to wear my mother's ring every day as it reminds me of her, and I think it's far more likely it would end up down the drain if I took it off and put it back on the number of times I cook in a week.

                  1. re: DGresh

                    Yup - I don't lose my rings, because I never take them off

                    1. re: DGresh

                      My aunt likes big rings, and she has lost many by leaving them next to various sinks. Me, I don't take them off unless I'm at home (and I certainly do take them off prior to cooking or any other work in the kitchen), but when I'm out, I leave them on when washing my hands. The only ring I've ever lost was quite old and had worn very thin ... I didn't realize it could break off my finger, but I believe that's exactly what it did.

                      Since I don't watch TV, I cannot be bothered by anyone's jewelry ;)

                2. I went to culinary school and the first day we were told - no jewelry, no nail polish, no fragrance. Servers also should not wear fragrance so as not to mask the taste of the food. But in the real world, well, we know what happens!

                  1. I don't like rings in the kitchen for sanitation reasons. However, my mother always wears rings. Not too long ago a beloved ring went missing. After several days of heartbreak and searching- it showed up- in a bag of shredded cheese!

                    1. So long as my wife's pearls do not break, and fall into the soup, I am not really aware of jewelry on chefs/cooks.

                      Now, considering that most seem to have over 100 piercings, that we can see, so long as one of their studs does not break, I have no issues.


                      1. I take off my rings only when I am making things with my hands. I cant stand the feel of meatloaf or dough getting stuck under my jewelry.

                        I keep a ring holder on the window sill so I have no worries trying to find a safe place to the put them or fear of them getting lost. Alas I get the sense that ring holders are close to being extinct. I alway give a Waterford crystal ring holder as a token engagement gift for the bride to be. When my husband's niece got engaged last year I had difficulty finding one except online. None of the better jewelry stores carried them in stock.

                        10 Replies
                          1. re: greygarious

                            <<I had difficulty finding them except online>>

                            Etsy is an online retailer.

                            1. re: foodieX2

                              Etsy is a community of online retailers, Etsy itself doesn't sell anything. (Sorry.... no offense intended at all... some of us with Etsy shops don't like people to think they're buying from Etsy while we work our butts off to build our businesses.)

                              1. re: weezieduzzit

                                Completely understood. MY BFF has an etsy shop that she works her ass over. I hear her pain, constantly, LOL. I often laugh with her that retail would be great except for the customers.

                                I was just amazed that someone responded with an online recommendation when I clearly stated I had no problem finding them on line.

                                1. re: foodieX2

                                  You did *not* write that you had "no problem finding them online". You wrote that you "had difficulty finding one except online". While that means you did find at least one online, it does not say if you found sufficient options. Hence my suggestion of Etsy.

                                  1. re: greygarious

                                    Except on line is pretty darn clear.

                                    The "one" I noted was a Waterford ring holder. Last I looked Waterford doesn't have an Etsy site though there are shops selling Waterford. But, whatever helps you sleep at night.

                                    1. re: foodieX2

                                      I think we were gifted that as an engagement present. It was heart shaped. I keep in in the kitchen.

                                      However I got another for Christmas and it was metal and cat shaped. Rings go on the tail.

                                      1. re: melpy

                                        very cute! I know a couple kitty people who would love that,

                            2. re: foodieX2

                              Designated ring holder is probably a good idea when taking off rings during food prep to keep them out of the disposal / drain.

                            3. When making things that you have to get your HANDS in... like kneading dough or mixing meatloaf... NO rings.

                              A little OT, but makes me a little crazy when a "chef" has LONG sleeves?? Can't think of many cooking chores that wouldn't result in schmutz on cuffs??

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: kseiverd

                                [Quote] When making things that you have to get your HANDS in... like kneading dough or mixing meatloaf... NO rings.

                                A little OT, but makes me a little crazy when a "chef" has LONG sleeves?? Can't think of many cooking chores that wouldn't result in schmutz on cuffs??[/Quote]

                                I am the same way about my college ring (the only jewelry I wear other than my St. Christopher, which I NEVER take off).
                                I really don't care if other cooks wear long sleeves, but I can't stand wearing them when I am cooking.

                                1. re: kseiverd

                                  I couldn't imagine working in a professional kitchen without long sleeves. When I did cook for a living, I would turn up the cuffs once so they didn't trail through things, but the long sleeves are there to protect your arms.

                                  When I see Ramsay with his short sleeved chef's jacket, I think he looks like a dentist. Definitely not someone who is actually doing the cooking (rather than just ranting at those who are cooking).

                                  1. re: Sooeygun

                                    Yeah, Ramsay seems to specialize in really drilling people out, so in that sense he reminds me of a dentist. I call his popularity the "pro wrestling effect" because so many people enjoy watching others get beat up on camera.

                                  1. I own no rings, even a wedding ring, because when I did wear them they always felt distracting. Metal, though, can be sterilized and washed. OTOH, my father was a chemist for a large food manufacturer, and he always left his wedding ring at home because it was too easy to get it caught in equipment.

                                    Jewelry doesn't bother me as much as hair, though.

                                    1. Lidia Bastianich has about a dozen bangle bracelets on her left wrist, drooping onto her hands when she lowers them. They must skim the interior of bowls and catch ingredients when she mixes with her hands. Just one of the myriad reasons why I loathe her. With the way she douses everything in olive oil, one day I expect them to slip off entirely.

                                      It didn't occur to me that all the camera shots of hand-washing were due to public pressure. I've always thought it's fine for TV cooks to mention/stress when the food-handling they've just done necessitates handwashing but it seems silly to show the footage of soap, water, and sink. A viewer may not know how to cook but surely knows how to wash hands. Often because of time restraints, they skip mentioning/demonstrating something that the viewer needs to know. I'd rather they talk about how to tell when the food is done, for example, than using those 5 seconds at the sink.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        Often these shows at least seem to be "real time". If I see someone handling raw chicken, and without a camera pause they start handing salad greens, I am going to be very creeped out if there is no handwashing in between.

                                        1. re: DGresh

                                          I think mentioning handwashing would suffice, and not waste screen time. They don't make us watch them washing the cutting board between meat and produce; they just say they've washed the board. It doesn't bother me that I haven't witnessed it.

                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            if it is "without a camera pause" IMO mentioning it isn't enough.

                                      2. I honestly don't see any issues keeping rings on your fingers while preparing daily dinners.
                                        I scrub my hands before handling food and I would think my hands/including rings are reasonably clean. Besides my rings wouldn't really be "submerged" here, if they weren't!
                                        I will however take them off, if I mix chopped meat and I don't wear them kneading yeast dough, simply because it would be very messy.
                                        I am always amazed at the "fears" people come up with....using words like putrefying - good grief.

                                        1. If I wear Liz Taylor or Sammy Davis, Jr, who had some fab baubles, I'd think about it more, maybe.

                                          My only adornments are my wedding band and my late mom's. They stay on 24/7.

                                          1. I dont really have an opinion on the issue, but the reference to Naomi made me laugh when I read it! I too had a 'love of chair'!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Fydeaux

                                              "What about Naomi" in the title is the reason I opened the thread. For those wondering (who weren't young kids, or parents of young kids, watching PBS in the '70s), the reference is to the recurring sketch on the Electric Company, "Love of Chair": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5cq2I...

                                            2. my rings always come off before I do anything in the kitchen - right before washing my hands, my rings (and any loose bracelets) come off. I've seen people prepping food with rings on, with manicured nails - I don't know if it's unsanitary; i just know that i'd prefer them to either be gloved or naked handed - no rings