When my sister was in the Brownies, she got an official Brownie pocket knife. The Brownie program is for girls in grades one through three, which means that there was a time when the Girl Scouts were arming six year olds. There was probably a badge for knife safety, but if I earned one, it didn’t stick.
My fifth grade teacher stood 5’2” and couldn’t have weighed 90 pounds soaking wet. She was, however, from Texas, which means that she measured 5’6” if you counted her hair. I fully accept the claim that Texans are a tough breed. Delicate, little Mrs. H decided that a good art project should involve knives, hammers, and chisels, so she brought in a sawed up telephone pole, and assigned three kids per piece to carve totems. When I came to her with a chunk of finger dangling precariously, she taped it up and sent me back to work.
My point is that I am no stranger to sharp implements, which would lead one to believe that I can use them without causing bodily harm. Phht! If you eat at my house, don’t expect fresh fruits and vegetables. I’m not sure if everyone gets clumsier in the kitchen with age, but it seems to be the pattern for me.
I’m rather fond of throwing some rutabaga in the crock pot when I make beef stew. This is a root vegetable with a density equal to petrified wood, and just as easy to cut with a kitchen knife. Compounding the problem, rutabagas are roughly round, so they tend to roll. Have you ever tried cutting through a roughly round rolling rutabaga? Can you say that three times fast without drooling – I can’t. I also can’t cut the wily root without a trip to the emergency room.
The last straw came last week as I was peeling potatoes … and my little finger. I immediately thought of an episode of That Girl, (as I was trying not to bleed on the rug) in which Donald and Ann are in the kitchen looking for a weapon to use against gangsters in the living room. Donald grabs a potato peeler, and Ann squeals, “they’ll be shooting, we’ll be peeling!” They had no idea what a formidable weapon they had.
What happened? When I was a kid, I used to peel potatoes with a knife and cut them IN MY HAND! I think from here on, I’ll only be buying potatoes with the name Ore-Ida on the bag.
Should old people be allowed anywhere near knives, food processors, blenders, or cheese graters? Will I be directly responsible for the rising cost of health care if a get a craving for fresh cauliflower? All I know is that it’s a good thing they don’t make Brownie pocket knives anymore.