Kitchen Safety: The Time I Was Beat Up by a Blender


What I remember first is scanning my floor for any odd bits of my finger. The hardwood in my kitchen is roughly the same color as my flesh — about a shade lighter than the corner of a Wheat Thin — which didn’t help matters.

My apologies if this tale is a bit too gruesome for your taste. But reading yesterday’s New York Times story, “Bandages Not Included,” highlighting the risks of handheld immersion blenders, brought me back to the afternoon I nearly sliced off my finger. I was using the tool to whip hummus and, foolishly, cleaned out a residual chickpea with my pointer finger while my other hand was still touching the ‘On’ button.

You know the rest of the story (save for the part about how this all went down on a Saturday afternoon when my neighbors where raucously celebrating the San Gennaro festival). However, what I found really interesting were the comments following Alexandra Jacob’s piece. Thick with insensitive quips like “Williams-Sonoma has classes for the yuppie-appliance confused,”most posters seem confident that they’d never fall into the trappings of such a moronic, rookie mistake. Following my injury, I too was met with equal amounts of horror and disdain from friends, family, and subway riders wanting to know why I had a gigantic sock-looking mound on my hand.

But I’m not an idiot. Nor am I a kitchen newb (in fact, when this incident occurred, I had recently left my job as a restaurant cook to write full-time — go figure). However, I did make a savagely careless mistake that resulted in twenty-two stitches on my pointer finger. The ER tech who sewed me back together actually took pictures of my hand, noting that the mauling was one of the worst he’d seen from a household appliance and asking if it would be alright to share the shots with his medical students.

What’s my point here? Mostly it’s the same as Jacobs’: The kitchen can be dangerous, so watch what you’re doing. Sure, it sounds like an obvious action. But, oddly enough, in the days that I had to return to the doctor’s office to have my stitches observed and then removed, I met someone in the waiting area suffering from the exact same injury. Hers was induced by creaming butter and sugar and she fainted upon contact with the blade (yes, that did make me feel slightly tougher). We took pictures of our matching bandages and vowed to never use the tool again. It took me a month to fully heal, four months to eat hummus, and six to break out the Magic Bullet. The offending blender lives on a high shelf in my kitchen, untouched.

How you decide to mix and chop is your own decision. But, please, be careful in the kitchen. And cut some slack when someone you know makes a silly mistake — because, just like blender blades, karma has a way of coming back around.