Forget about oven mitts and pot holders. You know who uses those? Your grandma, who is a very nice lady and a fine cook, but she probably never read this article when she was learning to cook (exceptions: grandma time travelers). Why use the frilly trinkets of an average cook when you can use what the pros use? The pros use folded towels for just about everything, and using them will teach you more than your grandma ever did.
"You're a chef, dammit. Folded towels are the only family you need now."
How do you tell the veterans from the noobs? The former have a neatly stacked pile of cooking towels, crisply folded at the edges and tucked into their aprons. The latter have sloppy messes pushed through string. In a world of high-speed repetitive action, the little things are the big things. Suffice it to say, if you grab something hot with a single layer of a damp towel, your hands will be seared like strip steak. (Not to worry: It's easy to avoid.)
You won't find the little blue towels that the pros use in any kitchen or restaurant supply store, but you can easily find them online by searching for "lint-free surgical towels." Order a dozen from Amazon to start. If you want something close, but -- in my opinion -- inferior, the long, narrow IKEA towels with red stripes will suffice. If you do go to IKEA, get those meatballs in their food court, but only after you've purchased the towels. You're gonna need them to wipe all the shit off your face. Goddamn, Scandinavians know their meatballs. Italians, what happened? Amirite? Italians?
The TEKLA, seen here being substantially more durable than a BILLY bookshelf.