April 20, 2004

Kitchen utensils seek revenge for misuse; story at 11.

Apparently, using the self-described butcher knife in your knife set to chop vegetables instead of meat will lead the knife to turn on you and attempt to butcher you instead. It's true. I just saw it happen. I also saw it coming, but that didn't particularly stop two nice bloody cuts from appearing on the index and middle fingers of my left hand.

Lessons for today, then:
1. Don't make your knives angry. Use the vegetable knife for vegetables and leave the butcher knife to more carnivorous people.
2. Don't put your fingers under said knife, even if you really are planning to move them before the knife gets there.
3. You're not, in fact, going to move them before the knife gets there, so save yourself some time by not planning to.
4. If you ignore lessons 1 through 3, at least make sure that you're not chopping onions when you slice your fingers open.
5. Onion juice hurts.
6. A lot.
7. More than cutting yourself, actually.
8. Ow.

Posted by dianna at April 20, 2004 07:37 PM

ow. yaaawn. i'm tired. but at least my fingers aren't gashed open with onion juice in them. thanks for the perspective, my dear.

Posted by: erica at April 21, 2004 02:46 AM

The butcher knife is useless. My experience is that you only need two knives - a chef's knife (which is useful when you become angry with the chef), and the paring knife (which... nah, I got nothin').

Posted by: Chris at April 21, 2004 09:06 AM

What's with inanimate objects suddenly attacking their animate masters?! From now on I'll be watching this VME chassis with a more suspicious eye...damned thing just cut my hand while I was replacing a board.

Posted by: Erik at April 21, 2004 09:58 AM

Ow! What's a VME chassis? Wait, no, I retract the question. Clearly it's a computer bit on which boards are mounted, which is probably the extent of explanation that I'm going to understand anyway.

Er... which knife is the chef's knife?

Posted by: Dianna at April 21, 2004 10:40 PM

It's entirely possible that the knife I was using, which was described to me as a butcher knife and is really the only one in the set that I use, is actually a chef's knife. You mean the big long one with the pointed, almost triangular blade? Like this one?

Posted by: Dianna at April 21, 2004 10:46 PM

Spot on with the description of the VME chassis! The inside of a computer is notoriously hostile (sharp bits of metal stickin' all over the place) since, theoretically, anyone with his or her hands inside of a computer knows exactly what he or she is doing... *ahem*

Posted by: Erik at April 22, 2004 10:26 AM

yeah that's a chef knife. the butcher knife is the one which is more like a rectangle. and goes, grrrr.

Posted by: michele at April 22, 2004 11:22 AM

Does that mean that my chef's knife was trying to say I'm not a chef?

Like Erik's VME chassis was trying to say he's not a... um... person who knows what he's doing with computer hardware?

Posted by: Dianna at April 22, 2004 06:06 PM

Nerd. You can say it. Nerd.

Posted by: Erik at April 22, 2004 09:06 PM

welp, it might have been trying to imply that you should stick to baking, yes.


Posted by: michele at April 23, 2004 08:41 AM

In order to avoid cutting yourself, you need to know how to hold the knife properly. Do not put your whole hand on the handle, and NEVER place your index finger along the back of the blade. Pinch the blade of the knife as close to the handle as you can, then hold the handle with your other three fingers. This will give you much better balance and control of the knife. This is especially true if the blade is forged, as the one in the picture above is. You can tell because the steel is wide after the handle and was hammered down into a thin blade. Cheap knives are stamped; the metal is a single thin piece from the tip of the blade to the base of the handle. The biggest advantage to a forged blade is that the big piece of metal near the middle gives it heft and better balance (which translates to more control).

If you must involve your other hand in the equation, such as using it to push the to-be-chopped food toward the blade while cutting, keep those fingers curled in. And always move the food, not the knife.

Also, go buy a copy of "The Joy of Cooking." Immediately. I think that they even make a vegetarian edition now. It doesn't matter though, since the info you need is about general kitchen activities, such as proper use of knives.

Posted by: Chris at April 23, 2004 10:05 PM

also, make sure you hold the blunt end of the knife. not the sharp, metal end.

Posted by: didofoot at April 24, 2004 09:18 AM

Interestingly enough, what you just described is precisely how I hold my knives (both Chris and Kristen, actually). I can't hold a pen properly, but I can hold a knife.

More importantly, though, cooking's an individual art. You do what works for you. In this case I was just trying to do something impossible, which was cut another slice off of an onion too thin to stand up-- you can run, but you cannot hide from the magic of torque and leverage. My fingers are doing much better now, though.

Bleh on The Joy of Cooking. We have it here, and it's presently being used to hold up a shelf because none of us find it particularly relevant or useful. My veggie cookbooks duplicate all of its helpful ingredient information, and have the added bonus of not instructing me on how to make cream of lamb soup or stuffed vole. Mmmm... vole.

Posted by: Dianna at April 24, 2004 11:16 AM

The Joy of Cooking also has an illustrated guide to skinning a squirrel, in case you ever find one made of soy.

Posted by: Chris at April 24, 2004 09:41 PM

Does it also instruct you in how to remove the bones? It seems like that would be pretty tricky.

Posted by: Dianna at April 24, 2004 10:36 PM

I...I want the...I want the bones!

Posted by: zorak at April 25, 2004 12:35 AM

I don't think soy squirrels have bones.

And the real answer to your question is that I don't know, because I can't find my roommate's copy.

Posted by: Chris at April 27, 2004 01:52 PM

Well, I was only asking about the soy kind. That's why it would be tricky, you see.

Posted by: Dianna at April 27, 2004 03:00 PM