30 June 2008

About that Mandoline

Years ago, my father gave us a fancy french mandoline for Christmas. It's a vicious kitchen implement for cutting vegetables into perfect slices or flawless julienne. It has razor sharp blades and comes with a guard to keep your fingers away from the cutters.

One day, soon thereafter, we decided to make a Patricia Wells leg of lamb recipe - a delicious concoction which involves suspending the leg over a gratin of sliced potato, onion, and tomato. While the lamb cooks, its lovely juices drip down and flavor the vegetables, a perfect one pot meal (providing you can figure out how to hang seven pounds of meat over your gratin dish). I was still at work when I got the phone call from my husband - I'm in the emergency room. I went straight to Lenox Hill and found my husband still waiting; while making the gratin, he'd sliced the tip of his finger off with the mandoline, because he thought he didn't need to use the guard. Yup. I waited with him for a while, but eventually I gave up and went home, leaving him there (because I have accompanied him to the ER with cut fingers one* too many times** and no longer feel the necessity to stay through to the bitter end). I finished up the lamb, ate my portion, and went to bed.

When he finally got home after six hours in the ER, six hours waiting for them to cauterize the little artery he'd nicked, six hours with not even a stitch to show for it, I got out of bed and made him a plate of food (only because he had only one working hand, not because I'm a servile wife). I then proceeded to pass out, flat on the floor, eyes rolled up into my head, dreaming in psychedelic technicolor.

He called an ambulance.

I came to before the EMTs turned up, but they still took me off to the ER in the bus. This time, we went to Mt. Sinai; W. had no interest in returning to Lenox Hill for the second time in an evening. One thing led to another; a CT scan, an MRI, an EEG and twelve hours later, they sent me home. Syncope. I'd fainted.

Ever since then, and we're talking a decade at least, that mandoline has sat in our kitchen, in its original box, unused. I've been scared of it. W. won't go near it.

But when it came time to make that cole slaw the other day, that turnip cole slaw, I dug out the mandoline. And you know? It really does does do a great job of slicing and julienning those vegetables.

And no blood was shed, because I used the finger guard.






*like the time I came home to a note that said "I'm at Lenox Hill. Don't go in the kitchen." In the kitchen was a bloody knife and a bloody loaf of bread.

**or the time he was working with the table saw in my mother's basement and came up clutching his hand asking to be driven to the ER. My mother and I dropped him off, and went out for bagels. A nun held his other hand while they stitched him up. I guess I'm heartless.

21 comments:

Barb McMahon said...

In professional kitchens the world over, that thing is known as The Finger Slicer. Apparently, even trained chefs, who should know better, like to take chances...

julochka said...

i just bought a mandoline and i'm a little bit worried about exactly this happening! i'm so uncoordinated sometimes. i hope someone will come to the ER with me the first time it does! :-)

happy monday!
/julie

Aunt Becky said...

I'm scared of it for you. Is that weird?

wheelsonthebus said...

That is a great story. Why do men insist on ignoring safety precautions?

Julia said...

Nice. I have a few rarely used kitchen gadgets, although none with stories this dramatic.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I love my mandoline. I'm also very, very careful when I use it.

Sober Briquette said...

I just came across the one someone gave us that has never been out of the box. I guess that's because my husband and I both wince and cringe when we watch someone else wield a knife.

My dad chopped his finger off with a cleaver on Christmas Day. No one stayed with him at the hospital either. My mother even said, "lets see if they (my brother & his family) notice Dad's not here." Not a lot of pictures from that year.

Mad said...

This was so blackly comic. I have visions of the film version having quick cut flashbacks.

Eva said...

The drama!

jen said...

ok now i'm totally in love with you. thank you.

kathy a. said...

i'm feeling a little faint.

womaninawindow said...

Touch wood...my husband's an idiot with his body and for a living: he's a cabinet maker. BIG tools.

Rima said...

Bagels! I love it.

I fear the mandoline, but I do like you.

Mayberry said...

I still regret the one time I accompanied my husband to the ER (at Palisades Hospital in Edgewater). He sat next to another guy with a cut hand and they both just dripped blood onto the floor for hours.

I am a terrible cook but I do love using the mandoline. Maybe it is the whiff of danger.

the queen said...

I am still laughing at "Don't go in the kitchen."

Stacey said...

I've always been a little scared of my mandolin too.
A few weeks ago I decided to unclogg the whizzy blade of the Bamix while it was still running .
I took off the top of the thumb and most of the nail. Lots of blood flowed, very nasty.
So now I'm scared of stick blenders too.
I should stick to takeaway.

Angeline said...

Its funny how that mandoline could be a weapon and at the same time a tool...

its even funnier over at my in-laws place, where all the 'work' done on the mandoline is done by my father-in-law, 'cos my MIL will cut herself EVERYTIME she uses it, without exceptions! And she hates wearing guards.


(hey girl, there's an award for you over at my blog, go claim it!)

slouching mom said...

hahahahahah! "don't go in the kitchen."

Beck said...

As soon as I read "mandoline" I IMMIDIATELY thought of several gory stories. EEK!
Congratulations on the new domain!

Beck said...

As soon as I read "mandoline" I IMMIDIATELY thought of several gory stories. EEK!
Congratulations on the new domain!

Library Lady said...

Now I'm DEFINITELY going to get that slicer/shredder attachment for my Kitchen Aid...

Or, as my mother would say on reading this post "OY!!!"