During my segment on last Friday’s The Early Show, Harry Smith had an unfortunate run-in with a mandolin. Ouch. My mother called me immediately and told me I needed to do a kitchen safety piece.
This morning, I showed Harry how to properly use a mandolin, tips for knife safety, and more. I was totally squeamish through the whole thing, holding my breath that there wouldn’t be another accident! Luckily, everything was a-ok.
Check it out!
Safe Kitchen Gadgets
Mandoline with Food Guard – This easy-to-use mandoline gives home cooks professional-looking results. Made of stainless steel, it creates precision slices or julienne cuts of fruits and vegetables. Yields perfect slices from paper-thin to 1 1/4″ thick. Blades remove easily for changing and cleaning. Includes a food holder, a slicing blade and two cutting cylinders. (Williams-Sonoma.com, $99)
Kuhn Rikon Can Opener – Designed in Switzerland, this manual can opener quickly does its job – cutting the side of the can without leaving a sharp edge on the can or the lid. Automatically clamps onto can edge, precision cutting blade circles side of can leaving a dull rounded edge. Holds lid in place until you release it. (Williams-Sonoma.com, $20)
Mesh Cut-Resistant Glove – An excellent tool for avoiding kitchen accidents, these gloves provide outstanding cut resistance. While flexible enough for hand movement the heavyweight, high-tensile stainless steel won’t allow a knife to puncture. These are also great for opening oysters safely. Hand wash and air dry. (GraciousHome.com, $21)
Plastic Blade Guard – These hard-plastic edge guards are recognized as not only the original edge protectors, but also as the finest and most functional. If your knives are not in a block or if you carry them around in knife luggage, edge guards are a must for any knife that you’d like to take care of. (SurLaTable.com, $2-$5).
The safe use of knives is imperative for obvious reasons. There are only a few rules to remember, but they are crucial:
1. A sharp knife is a safe knife. Using a dull knife is an invitation to disaster. If you try to force a dull knife through the surface of a food product, it’s more likely to slip and cause an injury. Also: if you do happen to cut yourself, a sharp knife will result in an easier wound to attend to.
2. Never, ever grab a falling knife. The best way to avoid having to think about this rule is to make sure your knife is always completely on your work surface, without the handle sticking out into traffic areas. Inevitably, however, it will happen from time to time that you or someone else will bump a knife handle, resulting in a falling knife. We all have a natural instinct to grab for anything that’s falling. You must overcome this inclination. Remember: a falling knife has no handle. Just get your hands and feet out of the way.
3. Use the right knife for the right job. Many knife injuries occur when laziness induces us to use the knife at hand rather than the correct knife for a job. Place your knife inventory where it is easily accessible so you won’t be tempted to make this mistake.
4. Always cut away from — never towards — yourself. Sometimes this is a hard rule to follow. Again, don’t be lazy! If the angle is wrong, turn the product around. Or turn your cutting board around. By the way, if your cutting board doesn’t have rubber feet, you should place it atop a damp kitchen towel to make sure it doesn’t move while you’re cutting.
5. When you have a knife in hand, keep your eyes on the blade.This rule stands whether you are cutting something or carrying a knife. The simple fact is: you’re unlikely to cut yourself if you’re watching the blade, especially the tip.
6. Carry a knife properly. If you’re carrying a knife through the kitchen, especially a busy commercial kitchen, there are often people hurrying everywhere. You must get used to the idea that the only way to walk with a knife in hand is to carry it pointed straight down, with the blade turned towards your thigh. Keep your arm rigid. You don’t want some busboy or family member going to the emergency room with a puncture wound from your knife.
7. Never, ever put a knife in a sink full of water. In addition to soaking probably being bad for your knife handle, putting a knife in a sink full of (likely soapy) water is just asking for trouble. Wash your sharp knives by hand (not in a dishwasher!) and put them away immediately.
8. Always cut on a cutting board. Don’t cut on metal, glass or marble. This will ultimately damage a knife’s edge.
It’s crucial to be aware of the position of your “guide” hand. Always keep your thumb tucked behind the gently curled fingers of your guide hand. This will prevent countless injuries, and also facilitate the use of your knuckles to guide the edge of your knife to its proper position for the next cut.
Kiddle Kitchen Fire Extinguisher – Cooking is the leading cause of house fires in the U.S. In addition to your primary home protection, fire experts recommend adding UL-rated fire extinguishers for supplementary protection in the kitchen. You can place a kitchen fire extinguisher near your countertop or in a drawer or cabinets, but make sure it is close at hand for emergency use. Suitable for use on Class A (trash, wood, & paper), Class B (liquids & gases) and Clas C fires (energized electrical equipment). The Full Home unit is fitted with a pressure gauge that provides at-a-glance status, is manufactured from lightwieght aluminum and a tough nylon valve assembly. (HomeDepot.com, $18)
AO Safety All Purpose First Aid Kit – Injuries happen everywhere, at home, work, in the kitchen, around the car, garage and in the workshop. Injuries can help to be treated immediately with an AOSafet First Aid Kit. The Industrial All Purpose First Aid Kit contains 130 high quality first aid components in well organized plastic case. (HomeDepot.com, $18).