by the way...

Are we having fun? Preparing food can be dangerous


The card sits on my kitchen counter and stares at me: “$10 OFF ANY PURCHASE OF $30 OR MORE.” I can’t wait until the expiration dates arrives in two weeks so I can’t use it. The offensive card is from HSN, the Home Shopping Network. Sounds so friendly and cozy doesn’t it? I had trained myself to stay away from Channel 4, and have only a few times in two decades succumbed to buying anything from it, whose logo boasts with cheer, “It’s fun here.”

Why I decided to go to that channel a while back, I do not know. Shuffling through the channels I came upon a personable fellow selling a device that promised to make light work of slicing produce with the use of a mandolin—not the musical instrument, the kitchen tool. Oh what fun the chef was having! I wanted to have as much fun as he was. You simply put a fruit or vegetable on what looked like a golf ball with teeth, hold the golf ball in your right hand—people down here should feel right at home with this—and quickly slide the attached veggie back and forth on the slicer. Wow! The fact that I don’t eat most of what the man was slicing was of no matter at the time. I could play with food. Irresistible. I ordered it.

The “creature” arrived within a week as promised and I was eager to get started, so I drove over to Winn Dixie to pick up carrots, a tomato, a couple of apples, and cabbage for cole slaw, which I never eat. It was quite a device. The slicer arrived with a Band-Aid-like strip on the cutting edge. That should have been my first warning that something might befall me. And it did. I sliced my right thumb along with a tomato. I wish blood were white. It would blend in with my white furniture and my dog, a mostly white Bichon. I shall spare you the scene, though my writerly self would enjoy using colorful similes and metaphors. Suffice it to say I needed a Band-Aid, and quickly, but I didn’t want to rip off the Band-Aid from the cutting edge of the slicer/dicer. Why couldn’t I have bought a handbag instead of a medieval-torture cooking tool?

I have developed a tic. When I watch TV I can’t settle on a program or show without making a quick look at Channel 4. I do not want to watch HSN. I don’t want to buy anything on TV. I really don’t. I want pixies to rip out HSN from my set.

When I returned the “mandolin” to HSN, I wrote a note saying “This machine is a death trap.” A bit of an exaggeration. When I finally took the last Band-Aid off, a few days later I returned to my computer to write this piece. But the pain from my finger bothered me enough to rise from my seat and hasten to my medicine cabinet for yet another Band-Aid. The “owie” saw fit to bleed a bit more because I was banging on the keyboard and it split. Wherefore art thou Medicare?

If HSN folks had been in my kitchen when I was slicing up my thumb they would not have said, “It’s fun here,” to use their slogan. But the shoes they sell, and handbags, well, that’s another story. I may have another go round with them.

(Tune in next week.)