Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Peculiar Woes of the Recipe Developer:
Chronic Dry Hands

I envy people with soft hands. When I meet them, I don't want to let go of the handshake. I want to cling, lemming-like, to the incredible smoothness of their fingers and rub their knuckles against my cheek. It's true. I try not to let it show.

My hands are not smooth or soft. They are wrinkled and scratchy and constantly crying out for lotion. But thus is the peculiar predicament of a food writer who develops recipes for a living: no sooner do I rub lotion into my desperate, thirsty skin than I have to wash them again. Going from task to task as I prepare a recipe involves regular loops back to the sink to scrub away the dough I just kneaded, the chicken I just touched, the sticky honey I just dripped, and on and on and on.

And so my hands are sadly, woefully, abused. This is a situation I have come to accept, though not with any particular amount of grace. Lotion is both my ally and my jailor: my constant companion.

My dry hands have been bothering me more than usual recently. This is something that I've come to expect in the late-winter (even here in sunny California), but it's also no doubt been helped along by the huge recipe testing project on which I'm currently working. For no other reason than because it's on my mind, I give you my current lotioning regimen:

St. Ives Daily Hydrating Lotion

This is the lotion-equivalent to my bread and butter. If you're applying lotion hourly, you need something that a) works dependably and b) that you don't mind having to wash off five minutes later when you realize you forgot to dice the sausages for that soup. It comes in a huge bottle that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and it smells nice. Done.

L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

Oh, man, I love this stuff. I slather it on right before I go to bed and then fall asleep with my happy hands right next to my nose so I can breathe in its aroma as I drift off. What is that aroma?! It's like baby powder and soft meadow herbs and fairy dust. This lotion doesn't come cheap, which is why I only use it at night. I received some as a Christmas present a year ago and am amazed that it lasted a whole year. I am almost finished with the tube now and am torn between buying more or picking up a tub of my other favorite:

Lemony Flutter from Lush

Supposedly this stuff is intended for your cuticles, but I never stop there. Oh so soothing rubbed into cracked knuckles and that odd always-dry spot between my thumb and first finger. My only problem with this lotion is that it smells so much like fresh lemon curd that I have to constantly resist the urge to lick my fingertips.

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme

Speaking of cuticles, I just remembered that I have a little tin of this stashed away in my bedside cubby, though I haven't used it for months. Not sure why. I remember that it actually worked quite well for softening the cuticles and preventing hang nails (those inevitable party crashers to the dry hands party). Note to self: bring this stuff back into rotation!

Does your job also come with a side of chronic dry hands? What's your lotion regimen?

(The top image is mine [and my dry hands], see links for all other images)