Kitchen warrior

I am not normally one to suffer kitchen injuries.

Now, for those of you are not regular cooks, you may be asking yourself, “And what exactly is a kitchen injury?” Well, just google “Avocado injury” and you will see that the kitchen is a minefield that has to be navigated carefully.

I am a big fan of avocados, and I have never suffered the avocado injury that many have. Thus, clearly I am a pro.

The main kitchen injury I have endured over the years is when I am doing a skillet dish in which you sear your meat of choice on the stovetop, and then bake it in the oven. After about 20 minutes, you bring the skillet out of the oven. And I have on occasion, after having brought the skillet from the oven, grabbed the still-hot skillet by the handle. Fun fact – When you pull a metal skillet out of a 400-degree oven, the handle stays kinda hot for a while.

But for the most part I have remained unscathed. Until the other night. I was preparing some squash, zucchini and radishes for pickling, as my wife and I have gotten into pickling most anything we can find and keeping them in jars in the fridge for tasty snacks.

When we first started pickling things, we did some onions and cucumbers. After the first batch, we decided that we had cut the cucumbers too thick. Easy solution to that, we thought: We’ll use our mandolin slicer and get some super thin pieces that would be just delectable treats.

So I sliced up the latest batch of veggies and put them in their pickling jars. Success! Only thing now was for clean up. 

Now I normally take on clean-up in the kitchen, as that’s kind of my zen time. Put on a movie, put on some music, put on some game show I like and just kinda robotically clean. 

We were getting ready to head to a neighbors’ house for a cookout, and I told my wife to head on over to their house, and I would clean everything up and be there shortly.

She was just about out the door when I called out to her, “Hey, Jenn, can you come back? I think I cut my finger off…”

If there is one thing I know about my wife, she is Usain Bolt-fast when it comes to things such as this. In no time, she was in the kitchen. She said, “How bad is it!?!?!?”  I assured her that I had not, in fact, cut my finger off, but that I had dropped the mandolin while I was cleaning it and it had fallen and taken off some of my pinky. She asked me how much. I held up a paper towel wrapped hand. I said, “I’m not sure but…” She looked around at the spray of blood that was all around the kitchen and said, “Lemme see it. You may need stitches.”

At this point, we were at an inflection point. Yes, I may have cut the end of my finger off. But we were also heading over to a cookout in which a neighbor was cooking fresh fish that was caught earlier in the day. Decisions had to be made. “Never mind,” I said. “I’m fine.” I do love fresh fish.

But she was having none of it. She made me take the paper towels off. It … wasn’t pretty. She said, “You need to go to the doctor.” I said, “Fish.” Not the best rebuttal.

I assured her that the wound, while gross and really bleeding, was one that a repair would merely be cosmetic. I’d be fine. She went into nurse mode and bandaged me up with dressing that a field medic would have been proud of. The next day, we assessed the damage. It’s not pretty, but it seems to be healing fine now. Yeah, I probably could have gone for a few stitches. But I would have missed the fresh fish. 

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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