Livin’ On The Razor’s Edge…..

“Tryin’ to touch the sun…”Knives1At what age do we start letting kid’s use knives in the kitchen?

I don’t know, do you?

I really don’t. I couldn’t even tell you when I was allowed to cut things in the kitchen. It was probably fairly early. This is your own decision based on your own Kids. Don’t try and fly too close to the sun.

When Kid was little she attended a Montessori kindy. One thing that sticks in my mind is that kids didn’t play with plastic tea cups and plates. They were encouraged to use and feel the weight of the real thing.

Same thing with sharp kitchen knives? Maybe. Perhaps. There are so many other skills that Kids can learn along the way, I don’t see any reason to rush this.

Over my 20+ years in commercial kitchens I have seen and incurred some pretty nasty injuries . It only takes a second. And as is the way of things, accidents tend to happen when we’re not doing the right thing.Knives 6Complacency. It happens to the best of us. How many phone calls have I had from chefs along these lines. “Umm, hi chef, I won’t be in to work for a couple of days. I cut my hand making dinner at home?”

“Are you okay, what happened?”

“I was opening the thing with my kitchen knife and it went through my hand.”

And there you have it.

These are some of the most important things to consider when using any cutting instrument.

*Firstly, am I or any part of my person in front of the sharp bit? If the answer is yes, stop what you are doing and re-think before proceeding.Knives5If the answer is no, proceed with caution, care and confidence….

*Stay behind the blade. Point it away from your body.  Always….
Thumbs are the ones that we tend to forget in these cases.

*Are your knife and  cutting surface clean, dry and stable? A piece of damp cloth or towel under your cutting board is essential to stop slippage.

*Stay calm and patient. If you’re in a bit of a rush, consider doing the chopping yourself or changing your dinner plan to suit.

*Keep a first aid kit handy. Band aids, disinfectant, bandages, gauze.

*Size matters! The right tool for the job people.
Remember that kids’ depth perception, strength and spacial awareness develops differently with each kid (and is a lot different to your own.)

*Stay alert, keep a regular eye on what you and Kid are doing.

*Keep it fun. Or not too serious anyway. There are other cutting and chopping tools around for Kids to use.

All of them will help in gaining confidence, improving co-ordination and dexterity, learning and staying involved in the process.

I hear terms like “little chefs” and see shows like Masterchef Kids and it urks me. This is not a competition, we are in no hurry.

Remember that all we’re trying to do is teach some life skills and spend some quality time engaged in an activity together.


Knives3There are also food processors to use and even a range of ‘Kid friendly’ knives getting around. Make up your own mind on those.

But if your not comfortable with Kids and sharp objects, that’s okay too. There’s still all of the mixing, rolling, beating, whisking, scooping, weighing, washing, picking, kneading  and whatever else may be.Knives2*Lastly, storage. Keep those sharp things away from small hands. Another great place for cuts to happen is in the utensil drawer, unsuspecting little (or big) hands reaching around for whatever and then, oops………tears.

The same in the washing up sink. Sharp knives don’t belong under water, unseen.

Knives4Kid has always helped out in my kitchen but knives are only a relatively recent addition to her repertoire. And she is now 11. And it still makes me nervous. But then every new thing does. Riding a bike, rock climbing…That’s dads and daughters I guess.

I can’t imagine what driving lessons are going to be like. Or dating (dear god!)

I think I need a lie down.

Happy cooking



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