Why do burns you get while cooking turn so nasty before they heal? I got one on the inside of my forearm while cooking our Easter dinner and it’s all inflamed around the edges and quite tender. I thought cauterizing wounds by burning them was a healing measure?!

I considered including a photo here but decided to spare everyone.


The inside of your forearm? This is a fairly novel spot for a cooking burn, no? I won’t ask.

I wouldn’t dream of insensitively mocking the wounded, particularly as I am the only person I know to have burned my foot while cooking. (I no longer cook in bare feet, but most folks do not need to learn this lesson the hard way.)

I believe there are people who almost never injure themselves while cooking, opening envelopes, and taking out the garbage. They probably do not bang their heads going down the cellar steps, even if they are tall.

My guess is they are probably thinking about what they are doing, instead of something else. Someday I will get the knack for that.

Hope you heal up soon.

I think that’s why oven mitts are so long, but I find them clumsy to use. Pulling a roasting pan, or any large casserole dish out of the oven can easily put it in contact with that part of the arm, at least if you’re as clumsy as I am. When I worked in restaurant kitchens I had burns from elbow to armpit from pulling sheet pans out of chest-high broiler ovens and banging them into my arms.

I’m a cutter. Last week I sliced through my fingernail and into my finger. You can imagine how fast that healed.

They say you can’t cut yourself on a properly sharpened knife but they LIE! And how about those cuts you can get from the nasty cutters on the plastic wrap boxes?
Do you remember cutting yourself horribly trying to halve an orange with my Chinese cleaver when you were little?

BTW, Lindy—I’m sure that’s why chefs wear clogs, they are elevated above spills and the stiff leather protects them from anything hot or heavy falling on their feet; there is a lot of that in big restaurant kitchens. My feet get too hot in the summer to wear shoes, though, and I’m always cooking in my Birkenstocks and burning my toes.

Do I remember? I am looking at the scar right now.

Mom, since you live in NYC and have access to a great Chinatown, let me clue you in: when I was in cooking school in San Francisco, we went on a walking tour of Chinatown and were taken to an herbalist’s store. There we were shown a tube of God knows what, an odd smelling salve, which, when you burn yourself, if applied promptly, greatly relieves and reduces the symptoms of common burns caused by cooking mishaps. I have two tubes I store within reach of the stove which I’ve guardedly used over the past ten years. Just a little helps, but wow, does it ever work well! No kidding. Check it out.

Actually, Harry, I live in Pittsburgh, but we do have several big Asian shops here so the next time I’m buying ingredients there I’ll ask them if they have anything for burns.

If you click the link under “About Eat” you’ll see my profile, and my son’s. He lives in NYC and l live in Pittsburgh.

Thanks for the tip!

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