as regular readers know things can get messy at gastrokid HQ. so stop reading here if you're squeamish.
this is the sound of one hand typing dear gastroparents. excuse the lowercase and minimal punctuation as i type w my right hand while my left elbow rests on the desk, my left index finger elevated above my heart which is beating a bit more steadily than it was 40 minutes ago when i nearly cut off the tip of my left finger w my beloved 8 inch deep bladed wusthof chefs knife. id honed it just this afternoon knowing a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one. a sharp edge won't slip off the intended target. if you're paying attention, that is. see what id forgotten was to pay attention to the moment, to not overextend, overthink, or over engineer the family meal. i was dreaming. not a good idea when knives are involved.
pan roasted asparagus was in its serving dish, grated w microplaned parm, drizzled w good olive oil. john dory was dredged in flour, browned in the pan, resting. rustic bread was rubbed w garlic. family was seated at the table. last thought–make a meyer lemon and fennel top gremolata. that would take it over the top. great idea if youre trying to thrill the palates of diners w time to spare. bad idea w impatient hungry kids and grandiose culinary ideas at odds w each other. w a dad cooking in haste.
the fresh fennel tops spring from my grip. fingers of left hand adjust. right hand doesnt get the message fast enough. knife edge comes down. left index finger nail does its best to stop the razor sharp blade. the downward force of it all. finger nail as guard worked. to a degree. but not quite good enough. lets just leave it at that. could have been worse. could have been my kid grabbing knife. could have been my wife whose knife technique is exquisite but not quite my style thus nervousmaking. from henceforth i will nor critique her technique. heaven knows weve barely got time for any of this, all of this, all at once.
im gonna blame–unfairly–food tv for making machine gun knife skills an assumed talent for home cooks. i'm generally expert w a knife. never in 15 years of serious cooking cut myself. had slept well. had only one glass of orvieto. but was thinking ahead. to the perfect garnish and the micromanaged moment. to quick chopping fast thinking glory. not the ideal dream for a family meal in the real world sense of ideal. particularly on a sunday. when things shouldnt be rushed. and knives should cut slow. and nobody–not kids,not spouses, not me–will really be better off because of a precisely diced fennel and meyer lemon garnish. nobody missed it. but i miss that part of my finger nail.
so keep your knives sharp, stored safely, and your eyes–and mind–on what matters most.
lets be careful out there.
and lets be grateful family who are patient enough to wait just a bit longer for dinner to be ready.
and lets be grateful for cowboy bandaids.