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Monday, December 12, 2011

Culinariphobia

     Everything in a kitchen is either blisteringly hot or wicked sharp and is worth being scared of.  That’s what I tell every dishwasher on their first day – sometimes even before I introduce myself to the puppy eyed newbie.  I don’t have the time to drive them to the hospital because they grabbed a red-hot pan handle with a damp rag (everybody does this once in their career) or they decided to thrust their hand into a silverware bin that a distracted server accidentally tossed a steak knife into.  If I remember anything from earning my swimmer’s merit badge, it’s “check the water first”.  There’s hazards everywhere in a professional kitchen and plenty to contend with In the home environment as well.

     My goal isn’t to have you cringe and tiptoe by your kitchen each day in fear of a disgruntled vegetable peeler.  Nor should you be walking on eggshells because you’re afraid of cutting or burning yourself on any one of a myriad of surfaces.  The best way to avoid getting injured is to have confidence and a little bit of foresight.  Teaching your fingers to curl themselves when holding something that you are slicing is the best way to avoid cutting off the tip of a digit when you are surprised by a ringing phone.  The confidence part will come from the fact that you know your knife is razor sharp and thus requiring less pressure to julienne that red onion.  Turn your pot handles away from the edge of your stove so that you don’t bump them.  Just don’t position them over an open flame ( everyone does that once too – never twice).  Keep a towel or pot holder on you at all times and assume that if it’s metal, it’s hot.  Try to get into the habit of looking the direction that you are going to turn your body before you make a move.  This will keep you from accidentally stabbing or burning an unsuspecting kitchen helper.

      Another benefit to creating these new habits is improved efficiency.  And, you’ll look like a pro. 

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