My search for the best kitchen dish towel feels a bit like The NeverEnding Story — or maybe it's more like a twisted version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, in which none of the chairs or bowls of porridge or beds are just right. The point is, I am always looking for the dish towel to rule all dish towels — and I may have finally found it.
I have to credit Kristen Essig, the chef-owner (with her husband, Michael Stolzfus) of New Orleans' Coquette. Earlier this year I had the good fortune to eat at her restaurant (if you are in New Orleans, you must go) and visit her in her smart and artful home. She also shared her favorite neighborhood spots, including a tiny shop that specializes in Turkish textiles.
It's called Loomed and it's located in a little mall down the street from Commander's Palace and Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. It's a rather subdued spot for New Orleans (although they do offer pestamels and peskirs in the signature gold and purple) and the textiles are imported. I note this because I usually try to find souvenirs that are of the place — but these towels were too tempting to pass up.
Let me say, to stave off the comments I am sure are coming my way, that $30 is surely a lot of money to spend on a dish towel. But I will counter you this: This dish towel is the dish towel to end all dish towels. Here's why.
1. It is not white.
I have had a lot of white dish towels before. I am lured by their crispness! They are so pure looking! They will go so well with my minimalist kitchen!
The reality, however, is that they usually stay white for a day, maybe two. That's because I use them to clean coffee and red wine spills, grease splatter, and other things that quickly make white things look less than pristine.
The peskir comes in white, of course, but also in colors and patterns that will hold up to the regular kitchen stains. I have it in three colors: gray, green, and peach. Unless you're looking really closely, they look just like they did when I bought them.
2. It is the right size.
In my drawer of dish towels right now, I have dish towels that are too small (what is it with these handkerchief-sized towels?) and ones that are too big (I believe these are called "flour sack" hand towels). This towel, which measures approximately 20 1/2 inches by 36 1/2 inches, really is just right.
3. It's super absorbent.
Have you ever had a dish towel that just seems to move the moisture around? This is something I don't understand. These towels do not do that.
4. It's also super soft.
This isn't the most important thing, but there is something to be said for an easy-on-your-hands dish towel. This towel gets softer every time I wash it.
5. It looks nice, even after you wash it.
It's safe to say my towels have been through at least 20 cycles each. At first, I was super careful with them and hung them out to dry, but then I stopped doing that because, really, who has time for that? I'm happy to report they haven't faded, shrunk, or gotten over-wrinkled in that way towels sometimes do.
There's really only one drawback as far as I can tell: It's currently out of stock (because they're so amazing!). Luckily, I was able to find a few other options online.
- Large-Knit Peskir in Pink, $22 at Cuttalossa: This hand-woven towel is almost exactly the same dimensions and it comes in hot pink! If that's not your cup of tea, there are other colors too.
- Cotton Hand Towel, $25 at Indigo Traders: If you love stripes, these towels are for you. Options include pink and tangerine, red and navy, and navy and beige.
- Cacala PURE Series Peskir Hand Towels, $25 for 4: These are significantly cheaper than the others (you get four for the price of one) and while one commenter finds them a bit thin, they get high marks from most reviewers.