See John Cook: A Public Safety Message & Rant

This is John.  John likes to cook.  Cook, John, cook.

John F and his finger

No, John is not giving me the finger…..well, not exactly!  With John’s permission I am writing this post about kitchen safety.

Those of you who have been to one (or more) of my classes have probably already heard this rant.  But even if you have heard me say it repeatedly, I hope you don’t turn the channel because, like an overplayed song on the radio, I want this to get stuck in your head!!!  Yes, let my voice be your “earworm” of the day!

A quick aside – an “earworm” in the radio biz is a catchy piece of music that continually plays in a person’s mind even after it is no longer playing on the radio.

Anyway, back to John.  John is one of my favorite students.  Among other things, he asks great questions in class, shares tidbits of his experiences, and brings an air of fun to the classroom.  Being one of my favorites, I was concerned when he walked into the classroom for my last class with one of his fingers bandaged.

After some prodding, he shared with me how he injured himself. And I’m sure when he finally, reluctantly spilled the beans he waited for that “I told you so” look to cross my smug face.  He knew it was coming.  He didn’t really want to see it.  But he told me anyway.  And much like Ralphie waits for the inevitable, “You’ll shoot your eye out,” John was rewarded for his honesty with one of my finest “I told you so” looks.

You see, John was injured while using his mandoline slicer WITHOUT the hand guard [insert gasp here].

Folks, I joke in this post to bring levity to this topic; but safety truly does have a place in cooking – and we need to respect it. Sure, there are times when I do stupid, unsafe things in the kitchen and most of the time I get lucky.  But I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to preach one more time about slicers.

We sell a lot of slicers at The Kitchen Shoppe.  And lots are sold at other places .  I’ve talked to many people who say things like, “I hate my mandoline.  I don’t use it anymore” or “Oh, I’d never buy a mandoline slicer.” When I ask why, the overwhelming majority of the time I learn that the person has either cut him/herself while using the slicer or knows someone who has.  They’ve either had or have seen the stitches.  But the answer to this next question never varies.  When I ask “Were you (or was your friend) using the hand-guard when you (your friend) got cut?”, the answer is ALWAYS ‘No.’

Slicers of all kinds come with hand-guards for a reason.  Many of us believe it’s so the manufacturer can avoid liability; but the truth is that the slicer comes with a hand-guard because the hand-guard works – it will prevent you from cutting yourself.

So, if you own a mandoline or other slicer and the guard is still in the box or it’s in the basement or stuffed in a drawer; please, please, PLEASE dig it out and USE IT! If you don’t like the hand-guard because it’s too clunky – (my mean girl instinct is to say, “tough, use it anyway”) – you can buy a stainless steel mesh cut-resistant glove.  But please use something.

I love my mandoline slicer.  I use it quite frequently.  If makes light work of many tasks and allows me to make some cool dishes that I couldn’t make if my only tool were a knife.  And I hate to see mandolines everywhere get bad press because they’re being used incorrectly or without the included safety guard.  So this is my public safety message for the day:  USE THE HAND GUARD WHEN USING YOUR SLICER.

This is John.  John likes to cook.  Cook safely, John, PLEASE COOK SAFELY!!!

John F and his finger

A special thanks to John F. for letting me write about his experience and for his continued attendance at my classes.  It is a joy to see your face (and all ten of your fingers) in the classroom!

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