In the States we are in the midst of the holiday season. People are on vacation. Children are out of school and sons and daughters travel home to be with their families. It is a fun time of the year, but it is also a stressful time of the year. There are presents to buy, people to entertain, and meals to prep and cook. Which brings me to what happened a couple of weeks ago.
I set myself on fire, literally. I was making my 3 cheese macaroni with Kobe beef hot dogs, and I was whisking to cook my roux with one hand and stir my cream with the other. I thought I smelled something burning. I looked down at the pots and didn’t see anything. I started to whisk again and the smell was getting stronger. I looked down and there was a small flame coming from ME! I flapped my arms and it just made the flame bigger. The fire that was on the edge of my shirt flap was now climbing up. I ran to the sink, trying to get my arm out of the shirt without grabbing with the other hand, and I finally got it off. Just a small burn on my arm down near my wrist and another one near my thumb. But I’m strong and determined and just kept on going. Dumped my now burnt roux and scalded beyond repair cream, and started all over again. Now my arm is hurting. I hope this mac and cheese is worth it! I wanted to make an easy, no think dinner. HA! This is why John calls me Lucy from the old but popular show “I Love Lucy”.
The reason why I’m blogging about this is I never thought about why chefs (or others for that matter) do the things they do, like wear tight, buttoned, and fitted clothing. Now I know why. If I had my shirt buttoned (and yes, I was wearing one underneath), then my shirt would not have caught fire by the flame of the gas burner and I would not be caring for my little burns. By the way, a friend who I texted right after told me to whip up some egg whites and put on the burns and let the whites dry out. Not only did it take the pain away, but I also didn’t blister. I don’t know if it was coincidence but I want to say, “thanks Maurine”.
We learn not to walk around with the knife pointed out or you might stab someone. Clean the kitchen burners regularly so a grease fire won’t start. When the kitchen is crowded with guests “helping”, when you walk behind them and say, “behind, hot pot, behind” so as not to accidentally burn someone.
It’s small things like chopping and prepping food before cooking so that you do not have to stop stirring the sauce to chop up herbs to put in the pot. This way there is no rushing around and accidentally cutting yourself, or so the sauce doesn’t burn or reduce too much before flavor can be added.
Curl the fingers in and make a claw so fingers are not inadvertently chopped off. I will be discussing this one in a few weeks for those who might have trouble curling their fingers that way.
If something drops to the floor, pick it up so someone doesn’t slip and fall.
There are others of course, but I will end with this….yes, my 3 cheese macaroni with Kobe beef hot dogs was worth the effort (if not the fire). It was delicious and it was a lesson well learned. From now on I will always make sure no loose fitting clothes gets near my gas burner flames!