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Jenise

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A question for the real chefs

by Jenise » Sat Oct 07, 2006 2:21 am

How do you avoid blisters and callouses from knife use?

I've got a callous on my right forefinger, it started as a blister last year when I trimmed 35 pounds of chuck meat for a neighborhood dinner party. The rough red spot has never gone away and occasionally inflamed, but it was mild and never a big bother until today when I was prepping almost ten pounds each of carrots and celery into sticks of same for an immigrant Italian prohibition era table snack for a neighborhood mystery dinner tomorrow night featuring 20's attire, "bathtub gin", etc for 70 or so people. Should be fun, but I wasn't even done with my task today when the old callous turned back into a huge blister. Professional cooks and kitchen help who use knives to prep for large numbers daily must run into the same situation from repeat irritation--how do they protect themselves?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Bob Ross

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Re: A question for the real chefs

by Bob Ross » Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:24 am

I'm not a real chef, but I have that problem caused by doing other tasks -- carpentry, masonary, etc. I'm clumsy, inexperienced, and often have various blisters, cuts or other irritations on my hands. I raised this problem with two chefs at the CIA [and later chatting with the butchers at the Market Basket]. and got a series of suggestions that may help:

1. Keep your knife sharp.
2. Hone it often.
3. Learn to hold knives in the proper grip for the handle you choose.
4. Choose each knife with a very comfortable grip for your cutting hand.
5. Wear gloves, or a glove only on your cutting hand if having a glove on your guiding hand impedes your work too much.
6. Use cots on the affected finger, fingers or thumb.
7. Learn the proper technique to lance blisters. Use a topical antibiotic on cuts, lanced blisters and other irritations under the cots -- wear the cots until the problem heals -- even for a few days.

Numbers 2 and 6 are the most effective for me personally; 7 is so natural to me from hiking and taking care of my feet that it's now second nature.

I'll be interested to see what real chefs or butchers come up with.
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ChefCarey

Re: A question for the real chefs

by ChefCarey » Sat Oct 07, 2006 7:48 am

Wednesday, Week one:

That's the day I whip out my Wusthof case of knives and teach my students about the various types of knives, what they need - and what they don't need - to own. And how to use them.

I'm a real chef and I've played one on television.

Yes, it's important to keep the knife sharp and hone during and after every use.

I recommend the classic 10" chef's knife - for any size hands. I never wear gloves.

The last three fingers of the hand are wrapped around the handle. The base of the blade is pinched between the thumb and forefinger, first joint of that finger resting atop the blade (Hold the knife with the sharp end pointing toward the ground.). Much like the technique *I'm told* that prevails in the romance novels, the grip should be firm and unmoving, but gentle. Blisters are caused by friction. If the hand remains steady there will be no blister. They are caused by permitting the knife to slip and slide around in one's hand.

In other words, keep the grip the same and don't permit the knife to move around in the hand.

Only change the grip when I'm filleting fish over, say, 20 pounds, or using a boning knife.

When I played my guitar on a regular basis I developed subcutaneous - I guess one would call them calluses - on the fingertips of my left hand.

From decades of knife use I have the same situation on the first joint of the forefinger of my right hand where it rests upon the top of the blade. Never get a blister.
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Jenise

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Re: A question for the real chefs

by Jenise » Sat Oct 07, 2006 12:52 pm

From decades of knife use I have the same situation on the first joint of the forefinger of my right hand where it rests upon the top of the blade


Which is precisely where my blister is, Chef, and I do hold the knife exactly as you instruct. But I did the carrots first and that's where the blister occurred--it makes perfect sense when I read your description that I just didn't hold the knife steady enough. Easily done considering their irregular shape and the grip/pressure needed to cut through them. I used one knife, the 10", throughout there and only added another knife to do the detail work on the celery later for the sake of comfort.

Anyway, thanks for the lesson. If I keep that in mind at the start, maybe I can avoid having this problem again.

Bob, aren't cots great? I'm such a klutz that I cut myself easily, and they're essential for food hygiene. I've had them in the kitchen ever since I did a couple continuing ed classes for pros at the CIA. But I can't wear gloves, they'd be in the way and I'd only slice myself more!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Paul Winalski

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Re: A question for the real chefs

by Paul Winalski » Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:19 am

What Chef Carey said so eloquently.

I know just what you're talking about, Jenise--I've been there and done the same damn thing. Blisters come from repetitive rubbing on the same spot, Either you hone your knives and your technique so you don't get the rubbing (as Chef Carey suggests--and this is by far the best solution to the problem), or you vary your grip over the time of the chopping task, so it isn't repetitive over the same area long enough to rub up a blister.

Sharp equipment and precise technique are the best solution, but they require discipline, and I all too often find a blister starting to raise itself before I realize I'm being too lax in one or the other (or both).

-Paul W.
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Bernard Roth

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Re: A question for the real chefs

by Bernard Roth » Sun Oct 08, 2006 3:05 am

Wrap a heavy duty bandaid around your finger so the cushion is on the callous. You want to avoid rubbing the callous, so the padding will help protect your finger. Keep this up until it heals.
Regards,
Bernard Roth
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ChefCarey

Re: A question for the real chefs

by ChefCarey » Sun Oct 08, 2006 11:20 am

Bernard Roth wrote:Wrap a heavy duty bandaid around your finger so the cushion is on the callous. You want to avoid rubbing the callous, so the padding will help protect your finger. Keep this up until it heals.


Hmm, not sure if there is a bandage big enough to encase the "callous." The world is just chock full of those people. I do, though, try to avoid rubbing them.

However, this *is* a good idea for a callus on a finger.
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Bob Ross

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Re: A question for the real chefs

by Bob Ross » Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:20 pm

"Bob, aren't cots great? I'm such a klutz that I cut myself easily, and they're essential for food hygiene."

I'm amazed that I haven't cut myself doing food prep, Jenise, I'm so poorly coordinated and clumsy generally. Only once ... and then it was in that odd time warp kind of thing where I could see that what I was doing would result in cutting myself, but I did it anyway. Strange how that happens -- dreamlike state it seemed.

One thing that helped me was continuing to cook while I couldn't see at all -- and then not very well -- for several months awhile back. Somehow that ingrained the correct procedures in my body -- from time to time I put on nightshades to see if my technique is still good.

The cots, though, are essential. For example, I stapled one finger and busted a nail on another finger insulating our new closet yesterday. A two cot home improvement project, as it were. :-)

Regards, Bob
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Jenise

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Re: A question for the real chefs

by Jenise » Sun Oct 08, 2006 1:23 pm

Paul, knife sharpness is definitely an issue, too. My hubby swears that he loves to sharpen knives (and he does it well), but darn if I can get him to do it as often as I need it done. I should learn to do it myself, huh.

Bernie, agreed, and when this blister popped up I asked myself why I hadn't done that. I keep a pad of superb Nexus bandages in a kitchen drawer, would have been so easy to protect myself.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Carl K

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Re: A question for the real chefs

by Carl K » Mon Oct 09, 2006 11:57 am

Shortly after my Dad died Jenise, I bought a Lansky Professional Crock Stick sharpener for my Mom like the one on this page here http://www.knivesplus.com/lanskyknifesh ... lcspr.html

It works great, and is as easy as can be for mom to keep her knife sharp with it instead of waiting for me to visit every so often (ie - once every three months if we're lucky). You might want to pick one up and tell your hubby that it's just a fancy version of a steel for honing your knifes. :lol:
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tsunami

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Re: A question for the real chefs

by tsunami » Mon Oct 09, 2006 3:09 pm

How do you avoid blisters and callouses from knife use?


i had it in the past, and know how it feels :oops:

avoid, all others are right : keep scary-sharp knifes!

[img]http://s2.bilder-hosting.de/tbnl/D9J5N.jpg[/img] :lol:


I've got a callous on my right forefinger, it started as a blister last year when I trimmed 35 pounds of chuck meat for a neighborhood dinner party.


did you show it to youre doctor?


first, cure it!


how do they protect themselves?[/quote]

use more than one knife, i ment, change to different knifes with different handles, and change youre grip. (thumb above, thumb on the side, thumb on the balde etc...) once i have a digi i'll show you the different tecknik's :wink:
Tsunami alias Albino

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