Saturday, March 22, 2008

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Lacking in the Finger Department

My knives are sharp and my hand steady. Outside a few burns, I've never hurt myself in the kitchen. Yesterday I made up for it in spades when, with the well-steeled heel of an 8" Wustof chef's knife, I crunched through my thumb and took off a chunk of my middle finger.

Yep; it's sharp.
Never in my life have I put my Anglo-Saxon linguistic heritage through such a rigorous pacing. If something other than four-letter words, their derivatives, and cognates spewed from my mouth, it was quite unintentional.

I was dicing a few slices of Allan Benton's amazing country ham with plans to prepare some American bitterballen to go with tasting notes for Anchor's American genever. Don't know bitterballen? They are deep-fried ping-pong ball-sized croquettes (not all that unlike cajun-style boudin balls for that matter) that are classic accompaniments to genever in Dutch bars. I figured an American take on one deserved another.

The bleeding's (mostly) stopped, but the insane pain of typing and occasional waves of nausea mean I'm taking a brief hiatus on both typing and knife-wrangling. Stay tuned for tasting notes, a bitterballen recipe, moonshine videos, and a review of C. Anne Wilson's Water of Life: A History of Wine-Distilling And Spirits; 500 BC - AD 2000. 

Edit 6/8/12:
  • The bitterballen recipe is here
  • The review of Wilson's book is here.
  • The rest of my thumb and finger are...somewhere...around here. I'm sure of it. Unless I threw them down the kitchen sink. Entirely plausible.


Unknown said...

Ouch! I hope you're making a fist in the photo, and not displaying newly trimmed nubbins for fingers. --Will

Anonymous said...

Posting a comment 11 months after posting. It is not for nothing that I am called God Emperor of Procrastination.

Actually, I missed this first time around, and followed the link from MxMo XXXVI. I feel your pain -- I am currently on my third left thumbtip, which has grown back each time not unlike a lizard's tail. While chopping my thumb has a tendency to creep forward up in front of my properly curled-under fingers, but fortunately third time's a charm, and I haven't lopped off any flesh since 1996 or so.

My 8" Wusthof is semi-retired, and nowadays it's a 9" Misono UX10 gyuto (Western-style Japanese knife). It's *sharp*, and if I do manage to hack off any body parts while cooking at least it'll be clean and quick. (Let's not, though.)

Matthew Rowley said...

As much as I like the drink, there's a camaraderie among cooks that's marked by burns, scars, and knife callouses. It's these kitchen battle scars that can bring together complete strangers who know that culinary civilians just don't get. My fingers are healed (though in just the right light and in cold weather the scars shine), but the callouses are still there.

And the knives—Wusthof, Sabatier, some no-namers, and even a Chicago Cutlery boning knife that, regardless of reputation—have held up so well over the years. Of course, now they have a taste for blood, so it's best to keep an eye on them.

Tiare said...

I guess i`m a part of the procrastinator crew.I got the respect for knives that everyone should have years ago while working in restaurants. The combo of wet salad plus fast speed plus very sharp knife is a dangerous one.I did cut through half my nail and part of the finger but got so scared i didn´t dare to look at what really happened so i quickly plastered it up and kept working. It wasn`t until 3 weeks later when finally taking off the plasters that i discovered what really grew back fine though.
Nowadays when i`m not in the restos anymore i take it easy.