Sunday, May 6, 2012

Respect the mandoline

Everyone warned me, but did I listen? Yeah, I did. I just figured I would be careful and I'd be OK. Wrong.

So anyway, I sliced off the end of my finger with the mandoline. Here's how it happened, and the lessons to be learned. Don't worry, there won't be any pictures, except this one:
It's the *ring* finger - I'm not flipping the bird. Yes, my awesome wife decorated it as a Jayne hat.

I had a big cut of beef, partially thawed, which I intended to cut thin and make jerky. Problem is, I hadn't cut off all the gristle on the edges, and it was a little too solid still, so it wouldn't go through the mandoline easily like it's supposed to.

I thought if I just sliced off that gristle, it would go better, and so I was pressing a little too hard, and... I don't remember if my hand slipped, or the meat, but it doesn't matter. I slipped, and I was looking at a little piece of skin lying on the cutting board and a chunk missing out of my ring finger.

Could have been a lot worse, really. It was a clean cut, small, didn't hit any bone or finger nail. I applied pressure, elevated, wrapped it, and sought medical attention. (In case you're ever in this situation, that's what to do. BTW, no, they can't reattach your missing bits.) I could have cut a lot more, or a lot more deeply. It's going to be fine.

Lessons learned:

1. Everything going through the mandoline should fly through it with ease. If it doesn't, just don't use it! Simple as that. If you're having to apply any real pressure, you have a chance of slipping like I did. It's not worth the risk.
2. Do all your modifications before you put something through the mandoline (before freezing if it's meat). It's just there to make little slices. It's not for detail work.

I think this can still be used safely, just with great caution. One of my friends recommended these cut-resistant gloves. I think I'll get some - could be useful for all kinds of cutting.

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