The Most Dangerous Kitchen Tasks


Ever get the feeling your kitchen is out to kill you? Do you roll up your sleeves to find the battle scars from hastily-opened cans, too-hot-to-handle baking pans, and treacherous food processor blades? Us, too.

On the upside, it only takes one five mishaps involving a dull knife until you finally learn to keep the darn thing properly sharpened. 

Here are some kitchen tasks that you really should perform with extra care.

1. Using a mandoline slicer without its guard.


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You never truly understand how sharp the blades on these things are until you accidentally slice yourself. For the love of cucumber ribbons, use a guard and protect those fingers!

2. Rummaging through drawers filled with food processor attachments.

Doesn’t the thought send shivers down your spine? Rummage at your peril. Keep those sharp attachments somewhere safe.

3. Taking anything out of the oven.

It’s those simple, everyday tasks that can do a person in. That skillet in the 350-degree oven? Its handle is hot (which, amazingly, even the smartest person can sometimes forget). Always use an oven mitt, and make sure your arms aren’t going to graze the oven’s sides or racks.

4. Using a corkscrew.

"Once, I was opening a bottle of wine with one of those Rabbit corkscrews, and accidentally pinched the skin of my forearm,” said one editor here. “I still have a scar from it.” Dude, a corkscrew? Is nothing safe?!

5. Chopping jalapeños—and then touching your eyes.


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And you thought chopping onions made you weep. You’ll definitely be crying if this ever happens to you. It will not be a pretty cry.

6. Using dull knives.

Ever spend an evening in an emergency room because you sliced your finger open while attempting to quarter a sweet potato? We have. It’s not fun. We’re sticking to sharp knives from here on out. Speaking of which…

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7. Using sharp knives.

Sharp knives come with their own set of hazards. Watch where you point that thing. And if you’re chopping vegetables or herbs, remember to curl your fingers in your non-knife hand.

8. Taking things out of the microwave.

The microwave dings, and you put our hands directly on a ceramic soup bowl—which is now piping-hot. You drop the bowl, spilling its contents on the floor. Or on yourself, if you are particularly unlucky. Hello, first-degree burns. Keep a potholder right next to the microwave. Or, you know, wait a bit for the bowl to cool.

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9. Sampling something while it’s still hot.

One of our editors once swirled the tip of her finger in a bubbling pot of caramel without thinking. Another popped a hot chunk of roasted potato in her mouth and burned the skin off her tongue. Even the most adept cooks sometimes go into automatic mode. Stay focused in the kitchen, especially when there’s heat involved.

10. Opening a metal can.

Can lids have sharp edges once opened. You know this. Don’t just leave them open on the counter, begging you to injure yourself. Push them down into the empty can once you’ve extracted your cannellini beans. Actually, ditch the can altogether and soak some dried beans instead.

11. Wearing anything long, dangly, or flammable around an open flame.


Photo credit: Rachel Tepper

On the list of “Worst Experiences Ever” might be noticing the scent of something burning (“Is someone roasting marshmallows?”), then looking down to find your scarf, or shirt, or cute dress, or jacket, aflame. Keep combustable clothing far, far away from your stovetop. You’ll be down a favorite scarf, and up a traumatic incident.