Before I relay my brief tale, a defense. Cooking is a dangerous, sometimes painful job that involves accidents. All line cooks have war stories involving cuts, burns, bruises, more burns, even deeper cuts, battling live squid or lobsters... you get the idea. Even the most careful, skilled and deliberate cooks make mistakes.
Today I suffered one of the most lame cuts of my culinary career, slicing about 1/4 inch at a beautiful bias into my left index finger when I was cleaning my chef's knife at the end of service. No glorious war story here. I was cleaning my knife. Pathetic.
The other cooks treated the wound with the appropriate amount of teasing and dismissiveness but for a few co-workers outside the culinary arts, my soothing comments included the following:
- "Oh, don't worry, that's not all my finger." In response to the shocked look at the sanitary towel that caught plasma and a little flesh. My co-worker was actually looking at a bit of artichoke heart that came off my blade.
- "Just goes to show how important it is to have a sharp edge - look how clean this cut is!" Working with a dull knife is much more dangerous than a sharp one. A sharp knife cuts clean and a dull knife is completely unpredictable.
- "Serves me right for making fun of your tip slip." One of my co-workers had a more dramatic incident earlier in the week and, like a good friend, I joined many of the other cooks in teasing him mercilessly. We reap what we sow.