It’s a rainy Saturday morning. Good news is that I’m alive and I’m breathing! Best of all…there is bacon frying in the pan. I love the smell of bacon! (Hence the extreme importance of having inhaling capabilities.) I love the way it transforms from soggy white and pink strips to brown, crunchy, salty yumminess! (I was going to say “goodness” but I’m sure my pulmonary valve would slap me). As I move in closer to the stove top to flip the strips…ATTACK! The bacon fat pops out of the pan and onto my arm. Ouch! It burns! And yet, I stay there to complete the task. That got my mind racing and thinking about other kitchen hazards.
Over the many years of frying bacon I have built up a super-power immunity. My fingertips have also learned how to pick up hot cooked items and transfer them to other vessels. Again, it’s a built up resistance. Some days I feel like Wonder Woman …then again, I don’t think she could handle bacon grease, but I digress. Below are what I believe to be substantial culinary threats.
- Whenever you have hot oil in a pan or pot you are challenging the kitchen gods. You believe you will not be besieged by fiery oil droplets and yet they are laughing at you saying “Oh yeah? Bring it on!” Frying bacon (yes, I keep coming back to this deadly onslaught) can lead to either arm burns or grease on your clothes that for some reason will NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER wash out. Frying potatoes…a.k.a. french fries. If the taters aren’t dry you are looking at water going into boiling oil and this ultimately leads to the oil boiling over onto your stove. BEWARE!
- Welcome to knife-dom! I used to think that dull knives would be better to ensure I wouldn’t get cut. Those darn machetes always found a way to make me wish I had shares in “Band-aid”. I learned to sharpen my knives (and my skills). Using a dull knife on a tomato is what led me to the divine art of honing my knives. It also guided me to new lessons in advanced first aid. I could cut myself, yelp in pain, get an adhesive bandage unwrapped, apply first aid cream to it and hog-tie it to my finger in 45 seconds. Boo-yah!). Knives actually slid off the super thin tomato skin and would ultimately impale me. After years of thinking I knew how to use a knife I saw a preview for a movie called Julie and Julia and decided to actually find the first cookbook from Julia Child. In this book Julia showed me how to hold a knife and how to cut and slice things. Beginner stuff. I am very grateful to this wonderful woman for saving my appendages. For you new chefs out there, here is a good link on how to proceed with onion cutting.
- I always believed that boiling was safe. Yes I did understand that hot water could burn you, but unless it was poured on your skin directly it was safe right? Yeah-NO! I recall the day I decided to make home cooked macaroni and tomato sauce. The pasta was on sale and the sauce was Ragu sauce. This was definitely within my newfound culinary skills. I put water in a pot. I added salt. I felt like a true wife/mother/chef! I put the lid on the pot and waited for the water to boil. It took longer than it should have because I kept lifting the lid to see if the water was boiling. Hence the phrase “a watched pot never boils.” Although an idiom about patience, I followed the true meaning…that darn water won’t boil while I’m watching. Whilst playing with the kids I heard the pot lid clanging. The water was boiling! Yay! I lifted the lid and promptly burned my wrist. Yes…steam is lethal. You thought bacon fat was bad? Steam burns last several days.
- BAKING SHEETS
- I decided to branch off and learn to bake. Cooking is more fun because there is room for error. Lots of room for trial and error. Baking? Heck no! There is a reason everything is measured to the minutest ounce / milligram. My old oven had this wonderful ejection mode when pulling out the baking rack which catapulted super hot cookie sheets onto my awaiting bare arms. To date only one major burn; an inch long and half inch in diameter. THAT is my real life cooking tattoo. Also a daily reminder of being careful when playing with fire.
I am sure there are many other hazards I could reveal to you, but then you would surely want to eat out daily or hire a chef to make your meals. I have lived, breathed, survived many culinary challenges and I LOVE cooking! I love hearing the click, click, whoosh of my gas stove firing up. I know there are new adventures in foodie-dom for me. One thing I learned from dear Julia Child was:
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
Worst case scenario, I can always hook up with my granddaughter Kennie and we can make food into art. XOXO