Lessons in pain management

I’m working through the CIA Boot Camp book right now. That would a book about how to become a better chef, not about extracting information from high-value prisoners. Different CIA.

Last night I tried making the Chicken Provencal, which is mainly an exercise in sauteeing. You sautee the chicken breasts on each side for about 4 minutes each, then transfer the pan to a 350° oven for about ten minutes. I had something not quite right, because I had to leave the two breasts in the oven for about twenty minutes before they were cooked through. Then I removed the chicken from the pan and put it on a rack to sit for a few minutes while I started sauteeing garlic for the sauce.

I added the garlic to the pan, took firm hold of the handle and began stirring it. This was the bare metal handle that had just been in an oven for twenty minutes. I kept hold of the handle for about 1/4 of a second before my nerves informed me that there was something alarming going on in the flesh of my left palm, and that it would probably be a really good idea to find some very cold water immediately.

Those of you with young children reading along may wish to shield their eyes temporarily.


Luckily, my nerves are speedy little guys and my brain got the message almost immediately. My brain carefully weighed the available stimuli, decided that the situation needed reconsideration, and sent a strong suggestion to the muscles of my left hand to disengage from the pan handle. The muscles, being team players and not yet cooked, agreed. A few minutes later I had a decent sauce in the pan and an ice bag in my hand.

The dish was excellent, though it did suffer slightly from being consumed one-handed.

13 Responses to “Lessons in pain management”

  1. carol Says:

    I did exactly the same thing with the pot of baked beans from the oven thie evening. my fingers still smart. I am holding my glass of iced lemonade quite firmly withthe injured fingers. Glad the food was good.

    It is not art unless you suffer for it. Or as my mother used to say, ‘the art ingrains itself in your flesh’

  2. amysatx Says:

    Ouch! My hand hurt just reading that!

  3. Margaret Says:

    I think you’re supposed to deglaze the pan, not the hand.

  4. Kath Says:

    Is that ALL you said? I’m rather surprised at your restraint.

    But the chicken sounds deelish!

  5. cari Says:


  6. bezzie Says:

    Haha yeah, been there and done that. Except I did it with a cookie sheet once. At least to your credit there are many times where a pan handle is NOT hot.

  7. Lilith Says:

    See, this is why I made potholders for you. 😛

  8. Ellen-Mary Says:

    I bet you’ll never do that again. :)

    Feel better.

  9. Spritely Stephanie Says:

    oh noes. I’ve done that. More than once. My hands ache in sympathy with yours. Glad to hear the chicken was tasty 😀

  10. Plum Texan Says:

    Yep, me too. And the language rolling around in my kitchen was rather flowery as well. Actually, I burned a knuckle rather nicely just last week!

    If you haven’t found other means for continued relief, I recommend previously steeped, well-chilled black tea bags applied to the area. (Drinking some tea never hurt either…)

  11. Kim Says:

    Okay, what about putting the breasts between saran wrap and pounding them thinner a bit. That would take them less time to cook. Sorry bout the hand – hate when I do that. It’s such a Homer Simpson thing to do. . . .

  12. Lee Says:

    Aspercream, excellent for burns. It’s an anti-inflammatory and also an emollient cream. Or aloe juice, if you’ve got a plant. It contains an anti-inflammatory. If you do the aloe, follow it w/ something like vaseline. The goop keeps the burn moist and speeds healing. Trust me on this, I saw a study done by a burn specialist who compared two burns on a guy– one treated wtih nothing, the other coated w/ peanut butter! The PB site healed faster and better.

  13. Lisa Says:

    I have done this sooo many times. You see the pot, the handle is usually touchable and bang…

    I read a hint somewhere and have used it since then and no more burned hand. I take a piece of aluminum foil,twist it into a rope-like thing and twist it around the pot handle before it goes in the oven. When the pot comes out of the oven the foil is just enough to remind you that the handle is hot.