The kitchen is a dangerous place. And because of it, I’m refusing to do the dishes for the rest of the year.
As I write this, my thumb is bandaged in about 1 yard of gauze and electrical tape — a fine substitute for medical tape when there is 18 inches of snow outside and you’ve been attacked in your own house.
I was trying to clean the kitchen up a bit before sitting down to dinner (less to do later, right?). I put all the dishes in the sink and was starting to wash a few when the knife I was about to sponge slipped and rotated right into my thumb. The next thing I knew, I had a small crater on my thumb and enough blood to make one think I’d chopped off my whole hand.
It took about three hours of applying pressure and holding my hand above my head for the dang thing to finally stop bleeding.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the bathroom is actually the most dangerous room in the house even though it’s the kitchen that has flames, scalding hot water and sharp objects.
I say that’s baloney.
In 30 years of my (klutzy) existence, I’ve never been (badly) hurt in the bathroom. A slip, yes. A bump, of course. A razor cut, sure. But the lasting scars and trauma to my hands (and foot, but we’ll talk about that later) are from the kitchen.
I have a two-inch scar on the back of my hand from boiling tomato sauce jumping out of the pot while I was trying to can. I have a bruise on my fingernail from where a corn-on-the-cob holder stabbed me under the cuticle. Those are the few that I can remember. Only because they’ve happened in the last month. (Dissociative amnesia is common in stressful and traumatic situations.)
And now I have a gully carved out of my thumb. But if I were to look on the bright side, at least I know my knives are sharp.
In college, my roommate and I were making cheesy polenta in our apartment for dinner. Let’s preface this story by saying that bad things seemed to happen often when my roommate and I were together. And mostly just to me. She broke my windshield once during an ice storm. And one spring break we spent on a ski trip, my car transmission blew up.
But, alas, we were trying to have a nice bonding time making dinner. She went to take the polenta out of the oven and I thought I would help.
I slid in next to her, grabbed a hot pad and tried to grab the other side of the 9-by-13 inch pan. But before I could grab it, the pan slipped out of her hand on to my foot. The. Entire. Pan. Of. Scalding. Hot. Polenta. Landed on my foot.
I can’t remember what we ended up having for dinner that night (it, honestly, could have been polenta scraped off the floor) but I do remember sitting with my foot in a stockpot of ice and water. Every time I would pull it out of the pot to check on it, it burned. At midnight, five hours later, she drove me to the ER, where I learned I had second-degree burns on my foot. They wrapped my foot in gauze and sent me home.
My roommate and I never cooked together after that. I learned then to wear socks or shoes in the kitchen. Always. And it took me years to eat polenta again.
Burns from spilled, scalding hot polenta and errant knives that almost cut off your thumb don’t happen in the bathroom.
But they will get you out of cooking and dish duty in the kitchen for a few days.
This column first appeared in the Gillette News Record. Ashley Franscell Detrick is online editor of the Gillette News Record. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.