BLOOD! STEEL!

I generally consider myself to be quite aware of kitchen safety-I always hold knives carefully, and never leave them in the sink, I always take care that pot handles aren’t hot before grabbing them, and so opn in this vein (i dunno, pick another handful of SOPs in the kitchen, and we’ll all just assume I follow those). So, a couple weeks back, I suffered my first ‘serious’ kitchen injury since the few times I burned myself on the oven as a kid/teen (generally, making those fries you heat in the oven, and catching the top of my hand on the roof of the oven as I reached in or somesuch-made me very leery of the oven for quite some time). Needless to say, I was shocked, since it was a simple, easily preventable mistake.

A month or so back (again, timeframes, not my strong point), I purchased a brand-new chef’s knife (wow, can you see where this is going? I’d love to pretend this is an unrelated tangent, but…) from the wonderfully weird Tap Phong. It’s this bizarre restaurant supply/knickknack store in downtown TO, where you can find restaurant grade stand mixers and deep fryers, and five dollar Buddhas and sparkly cats statues. I’ve been down there a few times, as I was eyeing a 10” Shun chef’s knife. They had it for a much better price than anywhere else in the city, and I really wanted one.

Now, Jess does have a Henckels 9.5” chef’s knife (confusingly, they list 9″ and 10″ blades, but I’ve measured both it and the Shun, and the Shun is 10″, and the Henckels is 9.5. Tres bizarre), but it’s kinda clunky, and not as sharp as I’d like.


[ In a nutshell, knives made with a single piece of German steel are really heavy, durable beasts that maintain an edge quite well. Due to the profile of the blade, that edge isn’t incredibly sharp. Japanese knives are much lighter, thinner, and possess a keen, wickedly sharp edge. Some/Most are crafted in jacketing layers of steel, with the blade being the first/inner layer, out to the back.]

It’s also not my knife, and I like being able to get all fussy and protective when someone throws my knife in a sink, or uses it without cleaning it after, and it’s a lot easier to ride that high horse when you own a saddle, so to speak. Plus, I have a weakness for potentially lethal objects that are aesthetically pleaseing

(honestly, as much as I love shiny pointies, there are many better founts of knowledge on the ‘net about knife construction and differing countries of production, so I shan’t go into excessive detail about it. I’m also not well versed with the various levels of carbon steel, and don’t feel like leading anyone astray)]

So basically, my new knife is shiny (which will go away in time, but is an important factor when buying one >_>…), and surgically sharp. It’s got a D-shaped handle, so it contours for righties (though a С]-shaped model is available for all those people I know who have a dyslexic dominant hand. It’s cool, I understand your plight), and is light and deadly. I’ve put it through its paces, and it is incredibly adept at any kitchen chore requiring a chef’s knife (though I’ve yet to stave off a ninja home invasion with it yet, so we’ll see…), though adequate cutting board room is required-the blade is longer, and the shape of the grip puts your hand slightly farther back than a traditional design. This is generally irksome if the prep counter isn’t clear, which in my kitchen, is a frequent concern.

CHOP!CHOP!CHOP!

Now, after a few weeks with my new tool/toy/weapon/whatnot, I had felt our bond was pretty close-I’d respect the tool, and it’d respect not killing me. Well, one night, I was going to make stew again (as it’s now feeling like a staple dish I can pull off pretty easily, with decent results), and had beef cubes defrosting on the counter, in a little baggie. I was taking the cubes out of the bag with my left hand, positioning and steadying it on the cutting board, and then cutting them down to a smaller size.

Knife in hand, I reached in the bag for another cube, only to find the beef sticking together somewhat, having not thawed entirely. Still, just using my left hand, I started pulling on the cube…and as it suddenly gave way, my right hand slipped. As it had been holding the knife, it made for a very unpleasant meeting with the middle finger of my left hand. Almost as soon as I realized what had happened, my finger was already doing its level best to generously donate my entire blood supply (maybe it had seen those “It’s in you to give” ads, rather than more correctly assuming “It’s in you to live”) to the floor of the kitchen. It wasn’t particularly painful; the blade was exceptionally sharp, so it left a remarkably clean cut. Still, hurling every epithet I could think of at myself (actually, I wear out my NSFW language ingenuity after a while, and pretty much just string SHITFUCKINGSHITFUCKINGFUCKFUCKSHIT etc until I’ve fully vented, as it requires less brain power, and I can actually focus on solving whatever catastrophe is currently enveloping me), cursing my carelessness, I went to staunch the blood flow, until Jess came home, and got me bandaids. Even then, my bathroom looked like a set from CSI. It was kind of freaky, to put it mildly, and took quite some time before I could actually get the bandaid on.

After taking a fairly literal blood oath that this wouldn’t happen again, I cut myself again, on the same finger.Damn it. This time,  I only nicked the end of my finger when the cutting board slipped. Still bled a fair amount, but it’s nearly healed after a week.

After a couple weeks of healing. Now, the cut has fully healed, but it looks like puffy scar tissue.

So, what’s the moral of this story? Well, at least monthly, I should probably allow my blade to seep in a bowl of pigs blood, or something, as it clearly has a bloodlust that can’t be easily slaked. Or, on the off chance that my knife wasn’t somehow forged by Muramasa, sent forward through time, and branded as a Shun, I should probably just be more careful.

The whole family! (The pink one is produced by the same company as the Shun)

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3 Responses to “BLOOD! STEEL!”

  1. ktsssssmith Says:

    Wow–even though I knew what was coming, you still got me! Ugh, ugh, ugh…now I’m going to have nightmares of you dying of bloodloss all alone with your knives!

  2. Wow. That’s a beaut. Now you have to come up with a really good n’ sexy cover story about saving someone’s life from an attacking pit bull or something. Or you could say it was a knife fight. Closer to the truth, thus easier to remember. Of course, you published the truth on your blog, so I suppose you’ll have to stick with beef-cube massacre.

  3. Mm, I was considering the whole “Pit fight/tied together by our left arms/knife dropped in between us” excuse, but I’m not generally known for frequenting underground fight clubs.

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