Kitchen Nightmares

Since my first taste of vegetable crisps, I have always wanted a mandolin. I had previously tried making homemade crisps but failed miserably as I could never get a consistent thickness when cutting with a knife and this only leads to crisps which are either under or overcooked due to their unevenness. So on a trip to Lakeland, a store I rarely visit for fear of never returning, I treated myself to a basic mandolin. I remember my conversation with the shop assistant who made it clear – you must ALWAYS use the attached safety guard. Funny that I remember her warning now, but not at the time….

I was delighted with my purchase and eagerly awaiting the chance to use it, which came the following weekend. Out came the mandolin, a courgette and a zest for my new toy. I began slicing and I kid you not, the courgette literally slid through the blade. It was so graceful, so easy, so…painful! My eagerness had blinded me to my pending fate and, low and behold, I failed to realise that my thumb had ventured into the blade before it was much too late.

On first inspection I thought it was a small cut, however it was only when my attempts at applying pressure did not work that I realised how bad my injury was. I shall spare you the pictures.

Let’s cut (no pun intended) a long story short here – I thought I could self manage but both the continual bleeding and the excruciating pain became unbearable and I reluctantly took myself to A&E. The next day. The nurse who attended to my dressing scolded me as I should have come in immediately after for stitches. Unfortunately for me it was too late as, by this point, there was simply nothing they could do. I was sent packing.

My thumb wasn’t quite mangled as luckily I stopped self-slicing before I hit the nail bed. Had that hit I’m sure it would have been a far messier affair…I am rather lucky though as after a 4 week recovery my skin grew back and the memory of the incident because a much welcomed distant one.

Oh and why did this accident occur, was it a product fault? No – quite simply user error. Remember the safety guard that came with the mandolin, and is supplied on a mandatory basis? Well, I hadn’t used it. Bye bye mandolin, that experience literally scarred me.

Despite this, on attending the Ideal Home Show the following year and seeing a fab demo of a top of the line Borner mandolin, I decided to invest. The chef doing the product was totally majestic and I was memorised by his skill and expertise when using the tool. (Check him out here). I was sold. This mandolin could slice, dice, chop thinly or thickly and to top it off it came with the best vegetable peeler I have ever owned as well as a spiralizer (which I actually have never used). The turning point for me was the add on which cut perfect chips… Most importantly though, it came with, you guessed it, an accident prevention safety guard.

Let this be a warning! I use the guard every time I use the mandolin, no matter what! Be safe people! Mandolins should come with bigger health and safety warning – they are seriously no joke! What’s your kitchen nightmare?


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