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Those deadly veggies. June 15, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. When I saw a headline on the Yahoo! home page this morning called “The Most Dangerous Vegetables,” I quickly clicked on the link.

As our ancient laptop made its creaking, laborious way over to the site, I wondered which veggies would be profiled. Had some intrepid but inept forager harvested the wrong mushrooms or wolfed down a handful of deadly nightshade berries, thinking they were blueberries? Had some overzealous health nut ODd on carrot juice, resulting in jaundice? Did a hapless backyard gardener eat the poisonous leaves of his rhubarb plant along with the stems? Or had a vicious intruder beaten a homeowner to death with his own giant pumpkin?

None of the above. Instead, the article is about those hard-to-cut veggies that most often result in kitchen injuries and sometimes land the clumsy cook in the ER. Veggies with hard rinds, such as pumpkins (ranked #1) and butternut squash (#3), made the list. (I can relate; I still haven’t recovered from my humiliation when a jacknife closed on my thumb rather than cutting a jack o’lantern during a Girl Scouts gathering.)

So did rutabagas (aka Swedes, #2) and turnips (#4). We don’t eat rutabagas here at Hawk’s Haven, and the only turnips to cross our threshold are the small, tender white Japanese salad turnips that don’t need to be peeled and are as easy to slice as radishes. So I’m not sure if the injuries were actually incurred trying to slice the veggies or to peel them.

The final contender was Jerusalem artichoke (#5). Since it’s also easy to slice, I have to assume people sliced their hands while attempting to peel the bumpy little tubers with a knife. I guess this makes sense; it’s equally challenging to deal with fresh ginger. The solution in my opinion is to buy organic (or grow your own organically, as we’re doing), so you just have to scrub the sunchokes rather than peeling them. (This goes for potatoes and sweet potatoes, too, even if you’re making mashed or fried potatoes.)

“Our research shows that cooking at home can be a dangerous game,” the article quoted Just-Eat UK Managing Director David Buttress as saying. I trust the restaurant industry will reward him with a lifetime of free meals at the venues of his choice. And I can just see a new TV series now, “The Most Dangerous Vegetable,” where contestants are confronted with scary-looking veggies and forced to attack them with dull kitchen knives. Paramedics will, of course, be on hand to haul off the losers.

Cooking from scratch requires a particular skill set, it’s true. And topping the list isn’t knife technique or enough money and knowledge to buy and maintain a first-rate set of sharp knives. (Not that these hurt.) Instead, it’s the ability to pay total attention to the task at hand. Without distractions—children racing through the kitchen demanding this, that and the other, the horrors of today’s news blaring from the TV screen, the cellphone ringing (and you of course answering) every five seconds—you can focus on the preparation of food. Not only will this keep you injury-free, it will go a long way to ensure that the meals you make are both nourishing and delicious.

                 ‘Til next time,

                              Silence

(To read the article, “The Most Dangerous Vegetables Ranked,” in its entirety, Google the title or look for it on ABC blogs or on Yahoo! News.)

Comments»

1. narf77 - June 16, 2012

I thought that there might be a small mention about it being the accepted aniversary of Benjamin Franklins lightning kite and key experiment. Its promising to be nice and stormy here so in honour of the great gentleman himself, I might set the dog out with a key on his tail and see if he cant attract himself something approximating lightning. Just kidding! (thats husbands job…). Back to the post at hand… I have more than my fair share of cuts and burns thanks to working in the food industry for quite some time and know how easy it is to cut yourself when you are in a hurry and not concentrating. One thing I will add to this is that if your knives are sharp…you might cut yourself still but for some reason the wounds heal faster. I guess its like life…the first cut is the deepest…and with that old Cat Stevens song trundling through my mind I shall bid you adieu for today.

Thanks for the shout-outs to old Ben and Cat Stevens, Fran! We love them both. And you’re so right, a sharp, well-maintained knife can make all the difference… as long as you’re paying attention! If not, better put that thumb on ice and call 911.


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