My arms are covered in scars. Some are fresh and pink. Some are years old, but forever a part of me.
People who don't know me, or who aren't familiar with my work, sometimes wonder about them - and me. But food industry folks always know, these marks are burns.
If you've read any of my other blogs, there are stories I've told that explain more thoroughly the significance of this. I won't bog this down repeating them, but know they are out there in the world.
My job requires good timing, attention to detail, and a complete and utter willingness to put myself in some dangerous situations. With the sharp knives, open flame, hot grease and boiling liquids that are my every day companions, the least of my worries is my appearance.
Safety first means making sure everyone in my kitchen knows the proper way to handle things, set timers for food they have cooking and are aware of their surroundings.
But we are human, and this, of course, does not always happen in the most ideal of manners.
Sometimes profanities prevail and oven doors are flung open in an attempt to rescue precious dishes. Along the way, we often make inadvertent contact with various forms of heat, resulting in more profanity and the inevitable searing of not only animal flesh, but our own.
But worry not! It is well worth the sacrifice of smooth, unmarred arms and hands to ensure your food is cooked correctly. Those precious creations born of our hard labor and joyous palates give meaning to our days in more ways than you can know.
The bacon for your club sandwich, the braised beef and flambeed desserts make us as happy as we hope they do you.
Fire forever changed our future, giving us ways to quickly prepare and infuse all kinds of flavors and potential into our foods. Boiling and braising keep the moisture in, while grilling and roasting provide that color, texture and char we all so adore. Without the gumption of those who came before us, where would we be? Eating raw or dried, unseasoned foods. That's where. Rejoice in the risks and the risk takers, my friends.
In what ways do you put yourself in danger for your food? Is it worth it? Sure it is!