Even experienced cooks screw up
Recently I made two bone-head cooking mistakes that could have turned out much worse than they did. No, I am not talking about making a dish that didn't turn out well, I'm talking about getting lazy with tools. It is important for even the most experienced cook to remember that you are cooking with hot and sharp stuff and you need to take precautions to protect yourself.
Lean on the lid when you are blending hot soup
Pureed vegetable soups are healthy and wonderful. To get the smoothest soup, the blender gets the best results. It is important to take care to secure the blender lid and literally lean on it when blending hot soup. Hot air expands and if your lid is not firmly held down it will fly off and spray hot soup everywhere. I know this, but I was multi-tasking and got a little lazy with my second batch. Fortunately for me, I just made a mess and did not get burned.
Cuisinart slicing blades are really sharp
Instead of slicing cabbage for coleslaw by hand, I decided it would be quicker and I would get thinner slices in a Cuisinart. Cuisinart labels these blades with protective stickers that say something like "Be careful, these blades are really sharp." I know this, but I was working fast and had trouble positioning the cabbage in the feeder tube. I reached in and tugged on the cabbage. Fortunately, Cuisinart designs their food processor so you can't get your fingers near the blade when it is turned on. The blades, however, are so sharp, that just running your fingers over a still blade doesn't turn out so well.
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Sharp vs. dull knives
Many of us are guilty of working with dull knives. This is a mistake. Dull knives are more dangerous than sharp knives. Why? Because you have to exert extra pressure when working with a dull knife, and that extra pressure can lead to bad things. So either sharpen your knives yourself, and/or get them professionally sharpened occasionally. Not only will you avoid an accident, but you will also get the pleasure of working with a sharp knife.
Get in the habit of using a honing steel every time you use your knife, either before, afterwards or both. The honing steel does not actually sharpen knives, but it helps keep them from getting dull between sharpening. When you use your knife, microscopic bits of metal start to protrude from the blade. The honing steel, realigns these bits of metal.
Mostly, pay attention
So when working with sharp tools, be they knives, mandolins or food processors, pay attention. If not used properly, bad things can happen. If you are working with a mandolin, graters or zesters or doing a lot of knife work, there is a kevlar cut-resistant glove that can significantly reduce accidental cuts. Mind you, I say "reduce," the glove is cut-resistant not cut-proof, but it does help. Of course it helps a lot if you actually use the glove. Mine, of course, was in the drawer.
Pictures say a thousand words. Hopefully my mistakes will prevent yours.