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Deadly avocados, flying knives and golfer's elbow: kitchen is a dangerous place.

Wed, 17 January, 2018

Avocados are famously the most common reason of food-related injuries. Apparently most people stab the stone to remove it and end up with ‘avocado hand’, as sneeringly named by surgeons; don't google the images if you're squeamish. The runner-up is the bagel and it’s earned its own medical acronym: BRI, Bagel Related Injuries. How? Slicing one across while nested in your palm, that’s how. The third will be chilies, and though it’s not injury as such, do NOT pick your nose after slicing chili peppers. Or, God forbid, rub your eyes.

I have never been attacked by an avocado or a bagel and have only had a few chili nose episodes (scratching – ladies don’t pick their noses). But I’ve certainly had my share of cuts, burns and bangs on open cupboard doors. Kitchen is a dangerous place. Sharp age-restricted tools aplenty: knives and baker’s lames and the deadliest of all, the mandolin. I’ve lost a couple of fingertips to it as I recklessly don’t use the guard and often forget to wear my special chainmail gloves. I don’t like the grater, either, as it maliciously seems to attack me when I sport freshly manicured nails.

Ovens – where to start? I’ve admittedly not done what The Weather Man recently did: joyfully grabbed a pan just out of the oven with his bare hands. Poor thing. There was a lot of dancing around the kitchen and very bad language. I tend to go for the racks in the oven myself, and brush my hands against oven sides – they’ve not built one spacious enough for me yet. I find the electric grills particularly nasty, puffing out a fireball aimed at my eyelashes every time I open the door to check things grilling – as you do.

Accidents happen – but would you say chefs, cooks and the rest of the lot are prone to RSI? You wouldn’t, if like me you’re the ignoramus associating RSI with geeks or office workers hunched over a keyboard. It appears – it painfully appeared to me – it’s repetitive stress (durrr!) and anything repetitively stressful can cause micro-injuries aggregating into Big Bad Tendonitis, also interestingly known as golfer's elbow (who knew cooking and golf were related?). Which is what I have.

I’m not shutting up shop, worry not, but there are some things I do not handle well: squeezy bottles for instance; goodbye, ketchup. The childproof tops which you press down and turn are completely out of bounds. I can’t pull triggers, which is good news as I wasn’t going to shoot anyone, but it means no garlic pressing either. And I don’t drain heavy pans so no more boiled potatoes or veg – unless turning them into soup.

People tell me it’s nothing, I should get myself lots of gadgets that will do heavy work for me. Oh yes? A pan draining gadget? Even Rhik Samadder wouldn’t find one if he tried. My physio says to cut down on stirring, just turn the heat down – I would NOT want to taste her risotto even if starving. No – I need an assistant! a kitchen maid! several commis! Sadly, The Weather Man has a day job though he’s always willing to wash up. Or he's coming in to do the washing up just as I’m drying the last spoon.

I’ll survive – I’m a tough cookie (unlike these), I treat ailments by waiting for them to go away which usually works, eventually. Strong painkillers is what I need. Or, to lessen the pain, I'll make like Julia Child who liked cooking with wine…

I enjoy cooking with wine. Sometimes, I even put it in the food . . . Julia Child


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