As any of you that have read me knows, back around the first of the year, I decided to try my hand in the kitchen. I had for some time performed the role of prep chef. All the chopping and peeling was my domain. But, in an effort to man up, I started fully preparing one meal a week. I’ll have to say most of the results were tolerable and all were edible, so I was encouraged. Since that time, I have lost my wife and am now the head chef. If I am going to eat, it’s up to me to prepare it, and I’m kind of OK with that. I must say I am a little intimidated, but am muddling through.
Most of my adult life, I have owned and used power tools. Drills, saws, grinders, etc, and have with few exceptions escaped injury. As such, I feel quite comfortable with tools in general. However, since I have begun honing my culinary skills, I have been confronted with a simple looking utensil that, not unlike a scorpion , has proved to be much more dangerous then it appears. I refer to the common, run of the mill potato peeler. Actually, my new potato peeler. Yes, after complaining about the old one for longer the I can remember, I stepped up and invested in a new one. Over several years of peeling potatoes and carrots, etc. the old one had become, how do you say, marginal. The philosophy had always been that I was left handed and she was right handed, so we of course were using opposite sides of the blade. It should last forever. That is until I realized that I always peeled everything away from me and she peeled everything toward her, completely destroying the theory.
Several months ago, I noticed a brand new, bright red peeler had appeared in the kitchen drawer. Although I had not been consulted prior to the purchase, I assumed she had finally succumbed to my perpetual grumbling and bought a new one. I assumed wrong. I had no longer picked it up when I was informed that what I had in my hand was not a vegetable peeler at all. It was a fruit peeler. Well, you could have fooled me. It sure looked like a potato peeler. It turns out it has a serrated blade designed to remove the skin from soft fruit like peaches and tomatoes (yes, tomatoes are fruit) and is super sharp. So I mumbled something about ‘it wouldn’t have a potato eyer if it is only for fruit’ and put it back in the drawer.
But I digress. When I bought the new peeler, I was of course anxious to try it out. It had to be sharper then the old one, and boy is it. It should have included a warning that it could be hazardous to your health. In four outings, I have peeled a spot on two fingers and left a slice in a thumbnail. In a way, I’m kind of glad she isn’t here to see it. I can hear her now. “And you wondered why I never let you to get a chain saw”.
So here’s the deal. I never thought that cooks were an endangered species, but I am slowly developing a healthy respect for the profession. I now enter my kitchen with some trepidation and, whenever I open the drawer and see it sitting there, taunting me, a little shiver runs through me. It is no longer an experience but instead a challenge. I have even considered placing a notch on the handle for every successful encounter.
The other day I ordered a new cheese grater. Now I’m afraid to open the box. Just sayin’.