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10 Ways A Kitchen Can Hurt You More Than A Torture Chamber

by Martin Peter James
fact checked by Jamie Frater

It is no coincidence that Steven Seagal, in the movie Under Siege, was a chef; neither can it be that in Oz, the memorably brutal first-ever outing for HBO, set in the fictional Oswald Penitentiary, the kitchen was the most sought-after assignment for the opportunist convicts. It is not just the extra food that entices the military or the criminal mind.

See Also: 10 Modern Torture Chambers

All guns, knives, explosives, bats, and poisons have the drawback that possession of them can immediately convince a jury of intent. A well-stocked kitchen, on the other hand, is going to look good for you. After all, can you imagine Martha Stewart going to jail?

Obviously you can cut your fingers with a sharp (or blunt) knife, you can drop a chopping board on your foot, or any one of many possible injuries from a multitude of slapstick-type mishaps. Here though, we are going to look at some things you may know and just do not pay enough attention to, and some things that you would not have thought about in a hundred years.

So just be aware of these things and keep you and your loved ones/employees/colleagues safe. There are life-changing and life-ending accidents possible in every kitchen. So keep vigilant. Some of these are minor painful injuries, but some are final.

10 Chilis

Crushed chili peppers will leave a paste, liquid, and oil. There are hundreds of types and strengths of chili peppers . Ranging up from the Jalapeno (approx 10,000 SHU Scoville-Heat Units) to the Carolina Reaper (approx 2 million SHU units). Also they can come in many forms. They can be dried, powdered, whole, pastes, and seeds. All will cause you some severe problems when they get into a sensitive part of the body. Most importantly they will all cause temporary blindness and agonizing ocular pain. If you have touched any of them wash your hands thoroughly. Use a good quality washing up liquid for more effective cleansing. Then rinsing with milk is recommended, although not particularly practical, not to mention unpleasant if you don’t like milk! The other choice is not touching anything, which is almost impossible. All it takes is one scratch to the inside of your nose and you may find yourself inserting a yogurt-soaked Q-tip in your nostrils!

9 Sea Bass fins

Are you a fish fan? If so, look for whole-fish Bass. The fins at the top of the European Sea Bass are razor-sharp with between eight and nine spiny rays at the front (dorsal) fin. Not only that, there is an oil that is agonizing if it gets into a cut. If you go to any fish market or fishmongers you will see the thickness of the gloves they use. This is for a very good reason. Particularly tricky with a Bass as its front fin folds down, so when you pick it up and they are flattened down it will be fine. Then you pick it up from the other side and…OWWWW! Not a mistake you will make twice.

8 Moka Coffee Pot

The heat a Moka pot gives off is immense. The coffee/water is heated to 205deg and the pot itself is then a dangerous item. If the base made contact with skin it would sear the flesh and cause unbearable pain. It would also almost guarantee to be infected, a gaping wide burn of approximately 4 inches, unless treated instantly could be a real problem. It has been receiving constant high-heat to a metal surface for usually about ten minutes. Try dipping a freshly made Moka pot into a bowl of water, see the reaction and imagine that on your skin. Not an injury anyone wants.

To make matters worse, many think that these devices are dangerous and have the potential to explode. If the mistake of tamping-down the grounds has occurred, the pressure the pot creates will often not be enough to push through the compressed grounds, even with a release valve. This can cause an explosion with piping hot liquid and hot metal sent flying. Err on the side of caution.

7 Castor Beans/Ricin

As many will remember from the daring revenge plot to poison a brutal drug-baron in the TV series Breaking Bad, one of the most deadly poisons on the planet is Ricin. A plant found in tropical locations all over the world. Exceptionally deadly due to its innocent source. The castor bean. A product turned into Castor oil. A widely beneficial product used in birth health for centuries, as well as having medicinal, cosmetic, nutritional, and industrial uses. However, the seeds used to make the oil can be lethal. The beans do have a thick skin if eaten and can travel through the digestive system quite harmlessly if swallowed. However, if chewed, the mastication can release the deadly toxin Ricin. Not something to toy around with. No pranks, no experiments. You could end up dead or in jail.

6 Oven rack

A heated grill or oven rack will give off an agonizing burn that is likely to infect, due to residue of foodstuffs searing into the flesh. Especially if it has traces of garlic. Garlic gets into a cut or a burn and its filmy residue means rinsing the burn under cold water will give relief only while doing it. Honey is said to help. This is okay but it is still instantly agonizing and happens in the matter of a second. If you are in the middle of a cooking project, maybe you have guests, or worse you are being paid to cook and you have to now do it with an unrelenting burn-sting that incessantly throbs and the heat of continued kitchen duties is a catalyst for the already considerable discomfort. Use oven gloves! That is all it takes.

5 Hot Cooking Oil

This is an obvious one and a total no-brainer. Yet in no way is it to be skimmed over of given to complacency. If you have deep-fried something, particularly if you do not have a fryer and have done it in a pan or a wok, you are left with an unsecured quantity of skin-melting oil. An accident that could cause life-changing injuries to a child or pet. Always keep it away from a tipping point and dispose of safely. Many professional kitchens insist on oil being left to cool, then carried and safely disposed of. However, this is still a potential for serious injury. It could still be very hot, or there could be spillage, causing others to slip, these others may be carrying hot produce also. The statistic shows us these accidents still happen. Anyone in an environment should treat this as a warning to never take a relaxed approach to hot-oil storage and disposal. Two out of three of the top causes of accidents in the kitchen are accidents that can be caused by oil (slips and burns).

4 Fish Teeth

Various fish have sharp teeth. Fish available from any respectable mongers. Caution must be applied when removing from packaging, moving to storage and disposing of unused cuts and pieces of the fish. However, whilst people all know they are safe, they do not know that sharpness is the only potential to cause danger and pain. Many fish have teeth, fins, and skin that are impregnated with an anticoagulant that will cause profuse bleeding. Examples are fish such as Pike and Barracuda and some Hake as well as the Lamprey. It is not likely to matter to a healthy person, but if taking blood thinners or suffering for blood-based diseases, it could cause problems. A fact worth remembering if whole-fish are a particular favorite of yours. It is also worth remembering that the Lamprey is the only fish than can claim to have been a suspect in the killing of a ruling European monarch and the subsequent cause of much violence and bloodshed. While it is not guaranteed, it was written that the death of King Henry I of England in 1135, was caused by gorging on the Lamprey, which he was said to have been warned against doing by his physician. This is by no means unchallenged as hard fact but it was reported by a 12th-century historian. Sadly, the British monarchy did not listen and was said to have continued gorging on the rather unsightly delicacy throughout the ages.

3 Lima beans

Another entry for beans & pulses. This can be the case of many other types, however, it is particularly the Butterbean (also known as the Lima bean). If eaten raw, the beans contain cyanide, a well-known poison present as part of the bean’s defense mechanism. Cook them first and drain the water, you will be fine. If in doubt, throw them out. Always be careful when using a ceramic slow-cooker if using beans. Kidney beans, for example, can cause poisoning from Lectin. Whenever cooking fresh beans, always google to find out the safe way of preparation. As well as being dangerous, the poisons ingested in such situations are agonizing and sometimes fatal.

2 Pets

Many hidden dangers will cause no suffering to a human and will be nothing more than a tasty addition to a delicious meal. However, for your happy-hound or main-moggy, vigilance is a must. Grapes, chocolates, onion, chives, macadamia nuts and leeks have all been reported to have caused accidental poisoning of household-pets. This list is not exhaustive. We all love our pets but must realize that letting them snuffle through the bin for leftovers can turn from cute and funny to tragic and final.

1 Food Poisoning from meat

Especially if more than one of you is cooking. Some chicken that was being fried is left on a plate before you chopped it up. Then you take the meat off and move the plate aside. There is no visible evidence that something was on that plate. After all salmonella is not color-coded. When finished you put your portion on what you think is a clean plate. Cooked meat on top of raw meat juices. Ii would sooner take a burn or cut or even a slip than a week of salmonella. I can nearly finish you off change that, it CAN finish you off. Never risk it. If you think contamination it is possible, throw the whole thing away and make a sandwich, regardless of how long you spent on it. Three days into the hell of food poisoning will be plenty of time to wish you had not chanced it.

fact checked by Jamie Frater