This just in…

Motorized kitchen appliances with whirring blades can be dangerous when used in ways contradictory to manufacturers’ crystal clear instructions. Read, friends. Arm yourselves with knowledge.

38 thoughts on “This just in…”

  1. great, thanks; now my fingers hurt in sympathy pains. also add to this list the good old terrifying mandoline. i took off a chunk of my thumb on one of those bad boys and i still cringe at the thought of using one ever again. ouch 🙁

    1. i guess it’s not a motorized appliance. but one that doesn’t get frequent use by the average kitchen, and therefore, probably has a higher rate of injury than lots!

    2. I get the shivers thinking of all the hideous accidents I’ve seen pastry types get into making chocolate shavings. Yick.

      – Joe

    3. Hey, I took off a chunk of my index finger with an ordinary bread knife. Kitchens are inherently dangerous places, but they’re familiar so people are just used to them. It’s only the strange that triggers “danger!”. Even when it’s not really all that dangerous.

  2. I was going to be one of the first to sympathize with the poor lass who lacerated her fingers with an immersion blender…until I read what she was trying to do with it. Proper tools people…proper tools!

    As Mark Twain once said, “A man who carries a cat by the tail will learn something that can be learned in no other way.”

    1. Dave, you just made me HOWL! And here I thought I knew about Mark Twain… Thanks!

  3. Well….yes, if you have a device with sharp blades and an electric motor, perhaps you should consider unplugging it before trying to clean the blades. I have to say, though, that the one I have (made by GE) has a pretty stiff power button; I can’t see it accidentally turning on given the amount of force I have to keep on it.

    Also – creaming butter for cookies with an immersion blender?! I…guess you could do that, but a hand mixer seems a much better tool for the job. Or failing that, consider a wooden spoon. Those are pretty harmless.

    1. I was thinking the same thing about creaming. An immersion blender? There are probably instructions for that in some immersion blender manual somewhere, but it seems so pointless…

      – Joe

      1. Actually it’s possible to do with one of the attachments on the Bamix blender (which can be used as a hand mixer with some of the attachments). Takes more work than a stand mixer but it’s quicker than mixing with a wooden spoon and less messy than a hand mixer. (I know this post is really old but I just needed to chime in. Also first time posting. Great work on this blog !)

  4. I cut the fat pad of my right thumb off with one of those things. Down to the bone. Disgustingly enough, the chunk of my thumb flew across the kitchen and landed on the floor….where my dog ate it! I ended up with 6 stitches and a rather flattened, ugly thumb!

  5. Gosh! Who would have thought that sticking your finger into the metal blades of an electric tool that was plugged in could be dangerous?

    I have cut myself with a knife more than once (mostly as punishment for not having them sharp enough) but for gosh sake unplug the thing – don’t stick your fingers into the blender either.

    Worse thing I ever saw was a woman removing that bit of flesh from between her thumb & finger with one of those big commercial can openers designed to crack #10 cans.

  6. Does sound more lack of thought than real danger. I’m neurotic about the mixer. Especially the hand mixer when I’m pushing the beaters in. I know I should do it before plugging it in but I rarely do. I am careful to make sure my hand is well away from the top to turn on the mixer but the smarter move would be to do it unplugged. We all need to think more and rush less when it comes to the sharp things as well as the mangling things.

    1. I very much agree, Linda. This whole story seemed quite silly to me. A feature in the New York Times, all predicated on forgetting to unplug the blender before you stick your fingers into the blades. We all do stupid things from time to time, obviously, but power tools are dangerous things and we can’t forget that.

      Thanks for the comment!

      – Joe

  7. Ha! I sliced my index finger to the bone, when I cleaned my brand new ninja blender. It happened just minutes after I lectured my 4 year old on safety in the kitchen. He still tells people about our trip to the ER to get stiches for it. So I hope the lesson stuck 😉

    1. Ain’t that always the way? I regularly make a fool of myself in front of my kids, and those moments tend to come right on the heels of my most righteous lectures. The ancients were right: nemesis always follows hubris. But why can I never seem to remember that???

      Thanks for the the great comment, Franziska!

      – Joe

  8. This just reminds a quote from Why don’t we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?

    My colleague’s husband sliced his thumb by catching the mandoline that was falling off the table… quick reaction sometimes can hurt you too!

    1. I nearly did something like that just yesterday, reflexively moved to catch a knife that slipped out of my hand. You really have to un-train yourself when it comes to things like that. Thanks for the great comment!

      – Joe

      1. Hey I worked fast food and still can’t forget the day I heard that an assistant manager at another of the chains stores plunged her hand down into a hot fryer to the elbow. Why? Pure reaction to dropping something. Her reflexes were faster than her brain to out think said reflexes. *shudder*

    2. My husband is a master of this trick: take a casserole out of the oven, put it on the counter. Do something else for a minute or two. Pick up the dish – that’s less then 5 minutes out of a 400-degree oven – bare-handed.

      Me, I just periodically try to take the end off my left thumb with a knife – I make no guarantees about how many chips of thumbnail I’ve left in various dishes over the years.

      1. He and I must be related, since I do that all the time. Your trick is good too. Adds crunch to the mashed potatoes. 😉

        – Joe

      2. I’m good at the hot casserole trick too which is why I’ve taken to leaving an oven pad leaning against the fresh from the oven cookie sheet/cake pan/casserole dish as a sign to all comers that it’s too hot to touch.

  9. Me? Making hummus, and I stuck my finger in the end to dislodge a few errant chick peas. It was the middle of winter, and we’re eight miles out of town, in the country, and we were covered in snow and ice. My first thought was that I had no idea if there was any particular danger in having mashed chick peas floating through my blood stream…and that it was just as well that we couldn’t get the cars out due to the weather, because the thought of going to the emergency room and having to admit to how stupid I’d just been was just too embarassing.

    1. I’ve had many similar thoughts over the years, Fowl. Is bleeding to death from my fingers preferable to others knowing what a moron I am? Hmmm…..gimme a second….

      Great stuff, thanks very much for the comment.

      – Joe

  10. Okay, I’ve done some stupid things in a kitchen, but that? That’s just nuts. Course, as much as I like my hand blender I don’t exactly use it for things I wouldn’t use a blender for…. cookie dough? *Makes a mental note to remind her dude who DOESN’T seem to have as much kitchen sense that no, not a toy*
    Though I don’t think I’ve handled one that is as trigger happy as that lot claimed. Never know though, it may have tasted the blood of an idiot once, I bought it from a consignment store for cheap.

    I did quit a deli job once as I was afraid I’d end up cutting my fingers on the slicer one day, I have a bit of a vision issue that my glasses can’t correct. That is my depth perception can be off and I reach a little bit the wrong way, normally fine and dandy, I just move my hand after the glass or not have issues as my brain has worked it out at the time. But I did not dare risk my fingers. (Mind we were instructed to -catch- the sliced meat and cheeses so thus my hand was under the spinning blade.)

    1. You know what they say happens when an appliance develops a taste for blood…it’s like a Scotsman’s sword…it never loses its appetite. Be careful.

      – Joe

      1. Yeah but the worst injuries I’ve had in the kitchen are related to sharp things, a mandoline – on one of the strip blades no less, I had 3 lines in my thumb for a week or two, then the nail had to grow out of course, I took pictures. . …. a knife which was sharp enough I didn’t feel it, just ooh look.. blood. I bandaged it so that the skin would hopefully stick, while it WAS deepr, it ended up feeling like a papercut as only the outer edges of the skin didn’t fuse within a day. The given, jab your finger on a food processor blade cuz you forget it is in a mass of ingredients ( I was making hard boiled egg cookies.) Jab here and there.. and oh, a mishap with a potato.. peeler. Which oddly enough left my thumbnail quite mangled for awhile until it grew out, much like the mandoline injury. (yes I did a bit of damage to my thumb too, got stuck in my nail.)
        and of course random burns and stuff, have a faded scar on my arm that looked like the pizzahut logo… from my arm at the edge of a hot oven. and then fry basket burns. (aforementioned fast food, but these were just lines, made me look like I had a cutting myself past)

        With all that though, What surprises me most is my FIRST thought isn’t if I’m okay- It is… did I bleed/introduce an extra secret ingredient into the food? (much like crafting, did I bleed on the project?)
        Oh I didn’t? alls well then…..

        1. Thanks for the war stories Kitty! I’m very much the same: what about the food? I think that means your priorities are in exactly the right place. 😉

          – Joe

  11. The only time I’ve ever really injured myself in the kitchen (to the point where I needed medical help) was when I treated a newly-sharpened knife like a dull one. (You really don’t ever want to feel/hear a blade scraping on the bones of your finger tips after you’ve cut through your fingernail…)

    It was then that The Husband and I made a deal to let each other know when the knives had been taken off to be sharpened, before we got our own sharpener. Since then only minor nicks when I’ve been being a moron and not paying attention.

    For what it’s worth, the comments on the NYT article are priceless…

    1. Eeeowww….good rule though. Mrs. Pastry and I need a rule like that in our kitchen. I won’t get into what happened the last time. Thanks Marion!

      – Joe

  12. I’m another fool who cut myself with the stick blender. No stitches needed, but here I was thinking I had my own special kind of dumb going, but no, not even spectacular there. 🙂

    It took months to grow out the hang nail–literally: I sliced thru the nail. I got a new stick blender and treat it with more respect now.

    I think part of the problem is the blades are a lot sharper than a food processor or blender but powered by an equally powerful motor. Please be careful out there and don’t be dumb like me.

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