Sacrificing the Body in Pursuit of Culinary Wonders


Last night in my latest pursuit of culinary wonder, I almost lost a finger. Well, I may be exaggerating just a bit, but not much. I nearly lost the tip of my thumb to the mandolin. While it would be more impressive to cause oneself injury from a musical instrument, I was unfortunately using the kitchen slicer known as the mandolin at the time.

The evening started harmless enough. We were having The Mom-In-Law for dinner and I was looking forward to trying a new recipe for Pear & Blue Cheese Flatbread. Fast-forward to the prep period of the night where in my typical fashion, I had tried to do a few more things than I realistically had time for. First, there was some idle chitchat with The Neighbor, which technically wasn’t my fault because she desperately needed to use our fax machine. Yes, we still have one of those and who would have guessed that someone still desperately needed to use one? Then I had to get the fresh picked grapes into the vodka to infuse (more information on my grape infused vodka in a later post). Four liters of vodka and 16 cups of grapes later, I was behind schedule getting dinner together. I started wrestling with the mandolin which seemed to be sending me signals from the beginning that I should not use it.

The Husband will roll his eyes at me, but I’m a big believer in signs. If something doesn’t seem to be going right, in my mind there is a reason for it. In his world, things just aren’t going right. Since I’m the one with the injury, we’ll say that I’m right this time. First, I couldn’t figure out where the legs were to raise the mandolin off the cutting board. Then I couldn’t get the blades to adjust. I don’t even know where the protective cup is that is used to hold the item being sliced, but that would really have come in handy. I proceeded to get slicing on the purple onion and moments before The Incident, I could hear a whispering in my ear, “This is a really bad idea… you’re going to lose a finger.” No, it wasn’t The Husband. I often hear this voice of reason immediately preceding the most impressive injuries that I have sustained. These injuries have always been my own fault and most often because I haven’t been exercising the most sound judgment.

When The Incident occurred, I was working on finely slicing three cups of the most potent onions I have ever experienced. I did what most logical people in that situation would do, jammed my thumb in my mouth because then I could pretend it hadn’t happened and everyone knows that when you do this, the injury will not hurt. The Husband urgently pressed, “WHAT HAPPENED? WHAT HAPPENED?” All I could manage? “I’m going to need the Super Glue.”

Super Glue is the most used item in my first aid kit. A chef friend once glued another thumb injury of mine together and told me that it was a common practice in the kitchen so chefs could continue working. He also told me that Super Glue was originally invented for battlefield use during WWII, which I have heard many times since. This morning I was disappointed to learn from the Super Glue site that this is an urban legend.

Anyhoo, my thumb Super Glued back on, I was able to continue preparation of the Pear & Blue Cheese Flatbread. It was absolutely delicious and very easy to make. I recommend either NOT using a mandolin for the slicing, or making sure that you have the proper safety attachments in place before beginning. We served the flatbread with a mixed spring green salad tossed in a vinaigrette. The Husband and The Mom-In-Law drank Odell Brewing’s IPA while I enjoyed mine with a crisp pinot grigio.

Pear & Blue Cheese Flatbread

If you would like to try the recipe,

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By Heidi Van Heel
Heidi Van Heel

Heidi Van Heel

Writer, freelancer, and believer in magic living in Minneapolis. In my free time, I love reading, exploring the great outdoors, and experimenting in the kitchen.

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