FOOD: Kitchen Hacks – Use a Towel, Keep Your Fingers

Tips, tricks, and tools of the trade: Kitchen Hacks is a series of posts aimed at giving your culinary skills a little more swagger. These are the trade secrets and flashes of kitchen brilliance picked up along a life behind the line.

Towel - Cutting Board - Carrots /

It’s really as simple as that.

Do you know how many times I’ve chopped off my fingertips (or, ugh, knuckle-tips)? Not to get utterly TMI on you but the fact is that when you work in a kitchen, you’re bound to shed some blood eventually. Makes sense then, that the very first thing I learned when I took my first back-of-house job was to always put a damp towel underneath my cutting board. It helps keep the board in place so you can slice, dice and chop without (too much) worrying about doing the same to your digits. You can use a damp paper towel, too, and I also use this technique whenever I’m mixing something up in a bowl on the counter, to keep it from spinning. Ah, it’s the little things, really.

Speaking of staying safe in the kitchen, I’ll let you know something else: it may seem backwards, but the sharper your knife is, the safer you’ll be from doing yourself damage. When you’ve got a dull knife, it’ll slip off food more easily; a good sharp knife will give you much better control. A handy test to check if yours needs sharpening is to drag it across a tomato: if it makes a slit with very little pressure, it’s good to go. So keep it sharp, and keep your fingertips, kids!

Have a hack you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments!