Careful, That’s Sharp!

I never realized how much I use the ring finger of my left hand until I lopped off a piece of the tip today, the victim of my latest kitchen accident. I try to remember to curl my fingers around the food I’m slicing, but I get sloppy and in a hurry and before I know it, WHACK! Off comes a body part.

I blame my father. He lost the top of his thumb and a good chunk of his pointer finger in a jointer accident when I was 5 years old. He was making something in his workshop one night and got all “I don’t need a guide for this piece of wood,” then WHACK! Off came his fingers. Mom woke me up the next morning warning me Daddy’s hand was bandaged and to not use him as a jungle gym for a few days.

You’d think that would have taught him a lesson, wouldn’t you? Ha ha ha! If only that were so. Twenty years later, I got a call from my mom:

“Hi, Lynn. Before I tell you what happened, Dad’s fine…”

“Oh good lord, what did he do now?”

“Well, he was sawing a piece of wood and he slipped and cut off the top of his other thumb.”


This was a few years AFTER he sliced his hand open with an axe while chopping fire wood. Here’s how our conversation went after that little incident:

“Dad, you need to go to the hospital for stitches,” I said as I tried to bandage his gaping, bleeding wound.

“Ah,” he said, waving me away. “I’ll just wrap it up real good.”

“Dad, you’re bleeding everywhere.”

“Ah,” he said, waving me away. “It’ll stop.”

Fast forward 15 years.

“Lynnie,” said Dad, rubbing the scar on his hand. “I should’ve gotten stitches.”


What is it with men and their fingers?

One of my late father-in-law’s favorite stories to tell was about the time he cut off his pinkie finger when he was 5 years old. It was the Depression, his family didn’t have much, and the harvest was in full swing. No one was going to stop picking corn to take a little kid to the doctor. So his mother picked up the finger, sewed it back on, wrapped it up tight, and he had a somewhat fully-functional finger until his dying day. It got a little numb and cold in the winter, but otherwise he had no complaints.

My uncle Arthur lost his ring finger when he was stepping down off a ladder. His foot slipped and as he tried to grab a higher rung to stop his fall, his wedding ring got caught on something. As he fell, he left his finger behind. That had to hurt.

At least my kitchen accidents mend. So far anyway. The tip of my right thumb has no feeling anymore, but at least it still looks like a normal thumb.

So in the interest of safety, I turned to the Internet to see if there were any handy how-tos or gadgets to help make my kitchen experience less dangerous.

I found a very strange looking Finger Shield, the Tower Slicer, and ooooohhhh! Pampered Chef makes a finger guard! I love me some PC. (Note to self: email Carr, PC consultant extraordinaire.)

Not only am I dangerous with knives, I’m notorious for shredding the crap out of my knuckles and finger nails when I use a hand grater, too. But this might help: the Microplane Cut Resistant Grating and Kitchen Glove.

(And just for run, see how many typos you can spot on this site: How To Slice Vegetables.)


What I need is a mandoline. (Not to be confused with mandolin, which would be impossible to play with sliced up finger tips.) But which one do I buy? There are so many out there, so many choices, so many (yikes!) price ranges. Do any of you use a mandoline? If not, how do you slice and dice and julienne without cutting yourself? My fingers are crying out for help! Especially the one that types the “s,” “w,” and “2” on my keyboard. Who knew we use our left ring finger so much?

One more thing, could someone please fetch me a Band-Aid. I seem to have bled out of this one. And while you’re at it, could you tell me how many Points there are in blood…

15 thoughts on “Careful, That’s Sharp!

  1. Sorry to hear about your accident. I too am prone to knife incidents. The most recent was when trying to get the pit out of an avocado. Of course, my husband had just gone out of town that day, so I was alone with the kids (fortunately teenagers). The salad was almost finished when the accident occurred so I left the boys and went to the clinic around the corner. About an hour and a half and two stitches later, I was home with a repaired finger. The doctor did a beautiful job–I can't even see a scar!

  2. Ow ow ow…I am cringing in sympathy pain, Lynn! I have to thank you for finding that microplane glove – my mother sliced off part of her finger on a microplane and I think I'll get her that glove!

    …sending you a virtual bandaid!

  3. About 15 years ago, I was running a landscaping business for myself, and I was pruning some plants in a client's yard, when I decided to prune off the top of my left thumb with them. It was barely held on with a little tissue, but thankfully I DID have stitches and now just have a nice lil scar to remind me of my stupidity. To this day I remember the pain, though, so here's to your boo-boo getting better soon!

  4. Lynn, I have a Rikon mandolin. Its just a simple thing, but it fits well over the top of a bowl. I REALLY like the job it does. And when I checked on Amazon it comes with a 'hand guard.' Oh…that's what that thing is. Unfortunately I haven't used it, and I have been surprised by the pink-tinged pears I was grating…

  5. Yikes! I do this too. One time when I used to eat everything in sight, I was trying to open one of those Cinnamon Roll cans from the dairy section. I had never opened one before and was using a knife to try to pry it open. Anyway, ended up slicing the heck out of my finger. I still have a scar! Have a great fourth!

  6. Haha this was a great post. I cannot believe your dad-in-law's mom sewed his cut off pinky herself. These stories deserve to be in a book.

    Hope your finger feels better soon.

  7. I'm accident prone in the kitchen too, but my downfall is usually burns. As far as mandolines, and any kitchen tool really, I always trust the people at Cook's Illustrated in their Consumer Reports-esque product reviews. Their #1 rated mandoline is the Oxo Good Grips V-Blade Mandoline Slicer. It sells for about $50. I liked mine so much that I threw the $300 french mandoline I had away (actually I gave it to Good Will). Happy slicing!


  8. Owie! Okay, if cut yourself that easily – you do *not* want to buy a mandolin, unless you get a mesh oyster shucking glove to work with. Maybe you should get one anyway LOL!

  9. Lori, when I saw “you do *not* want to buy a mandoline,” I thought, Why? Then I looked up Gina and Debby's suggestions on Amazon and oh my, all the CAUTION! and exclamation points about using these things carefully have me wondering if I am capable of using one without taking off more than a finger tip! LOL

    I might have to give one a try, though, since I love kitchen gadgets and all.

    The finger is healing nicely. I let it “air out” last night while I slept. It's back safely in its bandage now 🙂

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