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Cooking Burns and Scars


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I still have a splotchy patch on my left thigh from when I was 3 years old and spilled hot bacon grease on myself from a tippy griddle. My mother still feels guilty that she was letting me cook then ("But you seemed so mature!"), but I'm glad I got in there early.

It also marked me early on as a "burner" rather than a "cutter"--according to the theory of a chef I knew, who claimed that all cooks were prone to one or the other sort of injury. And whenever I burn myself good, my husband swoons.

It's sad--when I don't cook regularly, all the hair on my forearms grows back...and then it smells fun-kee when I do finally get back over a big flame.

Zora O’Neill aka "Zora"

Roving Gastronome

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  • 7 months later...

had a day off today and was kinda bored so i thought i'd snap a few pics of my burns. if i actually cared about my aesthetics i might be relieved that most of them have actually healed and are no longer visible or you'd be seeing a whole lot more red arrows.

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there were a few spots i couldn't get a good angle on but's that's the majority of them anyways. i was thinking of posting a pic of my torso after i fried bacon without a top on (everyone cooks naked, don't deny it) but that idea quickly lost it's charm. what was i thinking?

so have at it. let's see what you got.

edit: freaking pics refuse to show up

Edited by chef koo (log)

bork bork bork

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its been quite a long time since I burn myself. Maybe my rythym and awareness have gone up.

I use to burn myself practically once a day, mainly because I didnt really feel it unless it was on my palm, so I gave no regard to hot things. With no respect, burns will keep on comming.

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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this is a friend of mine...the picture is probably a year and a half old...notice the pride!!!

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hope he doesn't kill me for posting! most of mine are all healed, so i've got nothing right now. besides, i'm concentrating on cutting myself instead of burning lately :raz:

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I don't have a picture but I have a story of a burn mishap that took a turn for the worst. I knew a guy from high school who was a cook at an Italian restaurant. At the time he was putting something in the oven and on the same hand, he was also holding a knife with the blade pointing towards him...

You know when you acidentally touch something hot, you tend to pull your hand close to you away from the heat source, really fast? Especially when you are not expecting it to happen? Well, his forearm touched the side of the hot oven with the knife wielding hand and ended up stabbing himself in the chest when he pulled his hand towards him. The injury wasn't bad but it's something to think about.

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If you work in a pro kitchen on the hotline, roll those sleeves down.... Cooks seem to like to brag about burns, like it's some sort of badge of honour. I prefer not to burn myself. Of course I have a few on my hands (2 from the last 3 months), but they're all very minor, and never blister thanks to my leathery hands.... If you're burning or cutting yourself constantly you're a sloppy cook IMO.

Edited by Mikeb19 (log)
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All my burns have healed, and none of them ever looked worse than reddened skin, but the worst I can remember was accidentally splashing deep fryer oil on the top of my hand, then having to use the same hand to work on the really hot grill station for the rest of my shift (which lasted for several more hours). Heat really intensifies the pain of burns.

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I've been working in a restaurant kitchen for about a month now, and it's the first real restaurant job I've had. So far I've made it with only a few scrapes and cuts from errant knife work, but a sick part of me deep down has been waiting for that one great burn or slice that will put me up in the ranks of my much injured coworkers.

The other night things got really hectic during the dinner rush, and I was simultaneously pulling pans out of the oven and making salads. At one point, I grabbed a hot pan with a towel, but got the angle wrong and half of my palm was on the hot metal. I was so frazzled that I didn't even care, and I got a nice big welt on my hand to boot :biggrin:

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If you work in a pro kitchen on the hotline, roll those sleeves down....  Cooks seem to like to brag about burns, like it's some sort of badge of honour.  I prefer not to burn myself.  Of course I have a few on my hands (2 from the last 3 months), but they're all very minor, and never blister thanks to my leathery hands....  If you're burning or cutting yourself constantly you're a sloppy cook IMO.

if you cut yourself, yes you're sloppy. but to perform quickly and efficiently you gotta position yourself in ways where you'll get burnt. rol your sleeves down and you'r asking for more when they get it the way and knock stuff over. i personally believe this isn't an opinion thing. if you cook, you'll burn yourself. end of story. find me a proffesional who hasn't burnt themselves and i'll show you a tv chef

bork bork bork

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In my experience, the "tighter" the kitchen, the more apt I am to burn myself.

In my current job, the kitchen design isn't the greatest, and I have my cooling racks off to the side of my convection ovens, instead of directly across from them. I am always pulling out hot sheet pans and as I go to put them on the cooling rack, the oven doors always want to swing back at me, turning the sheet pan in my hands so that it catches my arms.

I have so many "burn stripes" and burn stripe scars on my arms that I look like a zebra. A red and pink zebra.

I always burn my palms when I accidentally grab the handle of a saucepan that has sat over the gas pilot on the stove too.

The thing about burns, especially when you first get them, is that they always look worse than they really are. I have fair skin and red hair, so it probably looks even worse on me. The pan will only touch me for a microsecond, but I'm left with this big red inflamed "thing" for days. Then it takes forever to heal too. My co-workers say I should wear long sleeves, but no freakin' way. It's too hot in there....I'll deal with the burns.

As to whether they are a badge of honor or source of shame, I don't know. I just think they are a nuisance. At least no one can doubt what I do for a living. :laugh:

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I am a rank amateur, but I have a few burn marks on my arms, and two on my ankles from a low standing patio grill.

None of any consequence.

But I did have a burn that became infected after a few days. I knocked over a Melitta coffee cone holder, full of steaming water and grounds, onto my right foot, still bare at 7AM.

I was able to go to work for the next three days, but a co-worker sensed it was not getting better, and asked to look at it. She sent me to a doctor, immediately, and my foot was treated successfully for infection and inflammation, and healed without a scar. But it could have been worse, if I had left it alone, letting (in my mother's words) Nature take its course.

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Anne I am surprised with your Scandanavian blood that you take so long to heal. If I cut my self early in the evening, it seal up by my service. Same with burns, the skin will be completely reformed in a couple days. Thats probably a big reason why I tok so little care.

jkonic, wait until you forget the towel entirely. I did that once on an extremely busy saute line. I was only at the establishment for a week with no real training. They just threw me on during the height of the season. The majority of the menu was saute and there were only 2 line cooks. I was so busy that night I was in and out of the oven with pans. About a third of the way through the night I pulled one pan out of the oven, turned to dress a plate really quick, went back to the oven to pull another pan out, but unfortunately I had forgotten my towel, and oddly didn't even realize it until I had the pan half way up. Also when your that busy, as you can tell, you cannot drop the pan or you will have to do the order all over. So I had to bring that pan all the way up onto the stove. And those two seconds were in super slow motion feeling like an hours worth of pain. :biggrin: What can you do?

I've got dozens of stories that are very odd in how I burned myself. But I won't get started because I'll be here in to next week.

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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I always burn my palms when I accidentally grab the handle of a saucepan that has sat over the gas pilot on the stove too.

Or I worked with some people every now an then that would let the pan's handle sit over an open flame. Either way YEOW! As a result of this and other burns, I would usually very briefly touch anything I thought MIGHT be hot, rather than fully commiting on the first grab.

As to whether they are a badge of honor or source of shame, I don't know. I just think they are a nuisance. At least no one can doubt what I do for a living. :laugh:

The vast majority of serious burns and cuts (where the person needed a trip to the hospital and/or had lasting scars/disfiguration) I've witnessed or heard about were a result of somebody goofing off or not paying attention (usually teenagers). But accidents where the injured isn't at fault DO happen...

One other source of burns was at one place I worked where they kept the plates in an oven cranked up rather high. People were always burning their hands because they'd picked up a hot plate thinking it was cold. But the seasoned, calloused cooks prided themselves on their ability to grab plates straight from the oven with their bare hands!

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this is a friend of mine...the picture is probably a year and a half old...notice the pride!!!

gallery_10108_3240_93101.jpg

hope he doesn't kill me for posting!  most of mine are all healed, so i've got nothing right now.  besides, i'm concentrating on cutting myself instead of burning lately  :raz:

awwwwwwwwww makes me miss it....sorta

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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Another rank amateur here, but I had a pretty spectacular burn when making caramel. I had an old phenolic spoon that, unknown to me, had developed an invisible crack. Apparently, water had seeped into the crack. When the spoon hit the hot caramel, the water boiled, the spoon exploded, and dime-sized drop of molten caramel landed on the back of my hand and stuck there like sweet napalm.

That's the best I can do. Now if you want to talk about burns in the chemistry lab, I have a few stories . . .

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c. sapidus, i thought you knew how to make caramel?! :wink:

at one of my first jobs out of culinary school i was making a big batch of caramel sauce. the instructions were to strain it through a chinois after cooking. kind of watching myself do this in slow motion, realizing that leaving the spoon in the pot while i'm straining is a bad idea...as the spoon flips out of the pot and slaps me in the face...

talk about napalm!

that was the only burn i ever took care of as it was on my face. i used a first aid burn gel (aloe and stuff), then vitamin E oil like every half hour for several days. it didn't scar, thank goodness! but it did look a mess while healing.

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I've always got one burn or another healing up. Right now, there's one just below my thumb on my left hand. Sheet pans coming out of 500 degree ovens are hot ya'll!

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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That's the best I can do. Now if you want to talk about burns in the chemistry lab, I have a few stories . . .

I'm kinda curious about those... :wink:

Specks of metallic sodium that remain on rubber gloves will melt the rubber when you put your hands under running water. Trying to light a plugged Bunsen burner will generate a fireball large enough to remove arm hair instantly. Concentrated nitric acid leaves long-lasting brown marks on your skin. Trichloroacetic acid solutions penetrate intact skin, leaving a particularly deep burn in the gap between your gloves and lab coat sleeves.

Mixing chromic acid, hydrochloric acid, and nitric acid is a bad, bad idea (unless you really want to remove paint from the walls and ceiling.

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