It amazes me how little it takes to shake our confidence. This evening, i was prepping for dinner, sushi tonight on the plate, slicing some fish and vegetables for the maki. the same task i do almost every night with some variation. same cutting board, same knife. i make a habit of honing my knife before each use, i had been lazy about it. a sharp knife is a happy knife. but i diverge from the point… confidence.

so, the kitchen is pretty standard for our house, crazy… wife working on her laptop, kids being kids. my two year old is getting a bit grabby, was standing up on a chair next to the cutting board watching me work and waiting for scraps. i’m on edge, terrified of him reaching in as i slice downward. lots of tension. but like i said, its a task i do almost every night. slicing, prepping, thats probably the most enjoyable part of cooking for me. relaxing and rote. mindless repetition, a chance at technical precision.

i’m cutting the carrots… nice bit of crisp to complement the fish in a sushi roll, add it in if you haven’t tried it. i’m distracted, not a good place to be while slicing. the carrot rolls under my knife and i catch my left middle finger under the blade.the nail stops most of it as i let off the pressure as soon as i realized the carrot rolled but my knife is really damned sharp. reaction and training kicks in, direct pressure, elevate the hand above the heart, i rush to the bathroom and with the help of my wife, clean and bandage the finger. its really minor, could have been a lot worse.

but my confidence… i find myself shaking afterwards, the knife in my hand, trying to complete the prep for our meal. it feels unwieldy and foreign. the thing is normally an extension of my hand but now i feel the separation between us.

i guess it was a subtle reminder to never lose respect for the task at hand. when you are working something, work it with all your intentions. half ass efforts need not apply, you are asking to get bit.


5 Responses to Confidence

  1. Beast of Bourbon says:

    bloodsushi… wave of the future.

  2. Victoria says:

    My mom used to always joke that there was a little bit of her in every meal she made. Eww. Yet she is the one who can’t watch me cut things because I am using the “wrong” (read: sinister) hand. Gavin watches me like a hawk because I tend to miss and get a digit 2/3 times I cut anything. It’s part and parcel, I say.

  3. Gavin says:

    Right. No blade movement toward fingers, please.

    Accidents sometimes warrant a little rest to get back in the groove. A good night to eat out and take a break. You’ll get back into it soon enough with a newly-found respect for rolly-polly food.

  4. Greg Senior says:

    We all get careless with the tools of the trade, can’t count the times i’ve stabbed myself with a screwdriver, burnt myself with a soldering gun, or “shudder” arc welded something to a chasiss. we go thru the normal reactions, fear of the tool gradually turns to respect, then turns back to carelesness, almost a cycle of life, or the way our brains work

  5. 48feasts says:

    it’s true, what starts as apprehension turns to complacency which after an incident is replaced with begrudging respect. rinse and repeat.

    i know deep down that a knife is just a tool, i can manipulate it and get the job done. a certain level of respect allows you to use the tools and still realize they are not harmless implements.

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