I’ve been cooking regularly since I was 8 years old.
As a child I’d come home from school, make myself a 1/2 serving of stove-top stuffing, and watch Arthur. Then as I got older I’d make myself grilled cheese sandwiches with hot dogs, or macaroni and cheese from the Kraft box. My palette was very sophisticated, obviously.
This kind of incredible cooking grew a bit throughout high school and college, but it took a big turn my senior year with the help of my roommate – and chef extraordinaire – Dianne. After that, I began cooking regularly, creatively, and pretty damn well. (This is my horn… toot toot!)
However, kitchens and I don’t always get along.
For example, my sister’s kitchen hates me. I can never get a pot of water to fully boil at her house; no matter how long I leave it on with a lid on it on high heat. Almost every time I cook a full sized meal (not just a small portion for myself) I end up cutting or burning myself.
Usually it’s small…a little finger cut or a quick arm burn from grabbing something out of the oven too carelessly… but sometimes… just sometimes… it’s bigger and proves how important a “sous chef” can be.
Welcome to Thanksgiving 2008*
Thanksgiving is MY meal. I cook it. Always. Well at least since 2006. I do the whole thing. From scratch. Butternut squash soup, brined and roasted turkey (sometimes just breast,) stuffing/dressing, green beans, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and some roasted veggies. All from scratch. Over the years some of the recipes have evolved. My siblings have picked up a few items (my brother’s wife does the sweet potatoes and he likes to bring a veggie dish; my sister handles dessert and appetizers) but it has stayed “MY” holiday.
T-Gives 2008 started like any normal holiday. I was in the kitchen (already dressed up with my hair done, wearing my black Calphalon apron with little holsters for all my utensils and recipes,) my family – except my dad – that had arrived were in the family room watching football and/or playing games. Dad was in the kitchen dutifully washing serving dishes, and handing me tools like a prep-nurse would to a surgeon.
Have you ever done the little “time saving” method of chopping an onion where you slice almost all the way through it length-wise and width-wise before you slice and chop it? If you have no idea what I’m talking about…click here. It’s important for the story.
So I’m at the middle part of the onion… 1:28ish on that video… and my knife sticks. So I’m pushing the onion down with my left hand and trying to force the knife through with my right hand.
I did it. I pushed the knife through, eventually.
Right into my G D hand.
As calmly as possible I said “Hey, Dad… can you come here please?” and hold out my left hand which has a knife in it…a knife that I’m still holding in my right hand. I hadn’t wanted to move it because it didn’t yet hurt and it wasn’t bleeding yet. After making sure the kids wouldn’t come into the kitchen, my dad and I walked over to the sink to run cold water over my hand and pull out the knife.
Imagine an in-ground sprinkler head that is stuck down when the water comes out. Imagine how the water gurgles and bubbles out in the same quantity, but without spreading evenly across the grass.
Now imagine that the water is blood.
My mom comes in and immediately announces that I need to go to the hospital and get stitches which I am wholly opposed to because (1) I don’t wanna, (2) someone has to cook Thanksgiving, and (3) I don’t WANNA!!!
So my mom pulled out her “I could totally be a doctor…who needs that pesky degree” kit and starts making butterfly bandages out of tape and regular band-aids.
She wrapped the SHIT out of my hand and made me a deal: If I bled through the bandage, I had to go to the hospital. Otherwise I could just deal with the throbbing pain of a knife recently being in my hand.
And now for the reason why having a “sous chef” is imperative:
My dad took on the job of arm holder. While I continued using my right arm/hand to chop veggies, mix broth, roast, baste, and saute, my dad held my left hand above my head so that blood wouldn’t rush to my hand and bleed through the bandage. This lasted at least an hour and a half.
And Thanksgiving 2008 was cooked and consumed successfully.
Have your parents ever gone above and beyond the call of duty for an injury of yours? Every put a knife through your hand?
*It may not have been 2008. It could have been 2007. Whichever one was the year after my sister and brother-in-law went to see his family for thanksgiving. I can’t remember…