Most home accidents occur in the kitchen. This is especially true when the cook’s attention is not on their business. I love the part in Disney’s Hocus Pocus where the witch enters a modern kitchen exclaiming with glee “A torture chamber!” as she picks up a meat tenderizer. She was not too far wrong. It can be a person’s nightmare. In earlier articles, I have listed safety procedures and proper care of equipment. Organizing the kitchen properly helps a lot. The items you need at a certain workstation should be close to it. Pots, pans and skillets as well as turners, ladles and kitchen spoons need to be near the stove. Herbs, spices, mixing bowls and portion containers along with cutting boards and knives should be kept at the prep table.
There were even incidences in our culinary classes at college proving that certain people do not belong in the kitchen. Judge for yourself. This one student had a chef’s knife pretending to have a sword fight with a piece of frozen roast. Students were close by looking on. Although I was a student myself, I shouted at him to stop immediately. The instructor turned to see the commotion. He ran up to the boy and severely scolded him. The boy did not remain in culinary. Why the other students did nothing is beyond me? It is everyone’s responsibility to insure safety and prevent horse play in the kitchen. Cooking is a serious job.
One other incident was when I was making consommé. At a low simmer, the raft forms on the surface. It must not be disturbed for an hour or two. The raft clarifies the consommé. In this state, the slightest disturbance would cause the consommé to become cloudy thus ruining the consommé. A lot of work and expense goes into this.
While waiting on the consommé to clarify, I utilized my time elsewhere. My peripheral vision caught a student looking into my stockpot; I cringed. Without permission, he picked-up a kitchen spoon about to stir my creation. In panicked; I literally screamed at him. I rushed toward him with a threatening expression. He backed up. I was ready to do battle. One must never touch another’s work. Even a chef or instructor would never do that. In my next article, I will detail the making of a consommé so you can better understand why this incident made me react atypical to my nature. Never interfere with a true chef.
There are three excellent Columbo episodes depicting the truly active commercial kitchen. The titles of those episodes are Murder Under Glass, Now You See Him and Troubled Waters.
Until next time, peace to all.