I never thought of paper towels as equipment--merely a convenience. Now I have found two new uses for them. The first is in the microwave. I had run out of plastic wrap and wanted to cook some cauliflower in the microwave. I layered three sheets of colorless paper towel and wet the thoroughly and proceeded to microwave as usual. Perfect result.
The second trick--usage--was shown me by my assistant, Clara Park, for the forthcoming book, The Opinionated Palate. When putting a hunk of meat to marinate in the refrigerator, cover it with paper towel that hangs into the marinade. The towel wicks up the marinade keeping it moist without turning.