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the infamous knife callous

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Are you supposed to have one? It seems to me M. Boudrain says that every decent chef has one, but I've read other accounts (was it Tell Erdhart in "But Never Eat Out on A Saturday Night"?) which insist that if you know how to hold a knife, you won't get a callous.

Of course the question only came to mind on account of a large and painful blister that has taken up habitation at the base of my index finger. Do I grin and bear it, or change my technique? Oddly enough, this has never happened before.

regards,
P
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post #2 of 27
I have one! I,ve had it for a long while, dosen't bother me any. I think i have pretty descent knife skills, but i guess everyone has their own opinoin on this subject.
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Another Day, Another Battle.
Don't Ride A Boat Without A Paddle.
If The Water Is Not Too Deep,
Take A Little Swim But Don't Fall Asleep!
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post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
wow, what a quick reply.

It seems I too am destined to have one... I think it's kinda cool, really. Infantile or not, showing off scars is fun. Still, I know that no matter how careful I am I'm going to get lemon juice or salt (or both) in there sometime after blister but before callous... not looking forward to that. Any more insight?

- P
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post #4 of 27
Every cook or chef I know has one. There's nothing wrong with your knife skills; you're just working hard. Just wait till you get the blister under the callous; that's always fun.:rolleyes:
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post #5 of 27
It really gets good when you get the blister, your #1 dishdog calls in sick, and you have to jump in the dishtank to because banquets just came back... :)

Kuan
post #6 of 27
One way to lessen that inevitable callous is to bring your knife to a knife sharpener and have him grind away the edges so that it is rounded. It won't eliminate the callous, but having edges will increase the chances of cutting open that callous.
"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort." - Herm Albright
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"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort." - Herm Albright
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post #7 of 27
It's a great way to tell if a chef is a "working" chef or a "desk" chef!!!!;) ;)



I can always tell when I am spending too much time doing desk work and not enough time cooking. My callous eventually falls off, and I have to start over, making a new one!! Anyone else ever have this problem?
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #8 of 27
Anyone have foot callouses from spending too much time on your feet? I can't seem to get rid of mine. :(
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #9 of 27
Coupla cold beers might do the trick :) After work of course. If that doesn't work, get a pair of Dansko clogs.

Kuan
post #10 of 27

Cooking is hard on the extremeties.....

Cooks and chefs DO get foot blisters from working long shifts on a hard floors. No problem. Its the varicose veins that get you. Maybe we could start a "support hose support group" lol.......
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #11 of 27
Moxiefan,this problem sometimes occurs if you hold a knife tightly because it isn`t very sharp.You are,therefore,having to exert more pressure so that the knife does it`s job.I don`t have this problem,the last 20 years have seen to that,i`ve got hard hands.

ShawtyCat,there is no easy answer to getting sore feet.It is,as much as we all hate it,something we are stuck with.I regularly get days when i wish my feet were detachable.When i get home,i could take them and put on a fresh pair.:D
Best wishes,Leo.:chef:
post #12 of 27
I second the detachable feet Leo :D ....I also have to invest in a new back and a new pair of knees. The creaking is going to start getting to me soon. :D Sigh...it's too bad I really love cooking. :lol:

Oh...wait...there's something else. Does anyone get sharp pains in their hands after being over the hot stove then having to get something out of the fridge or the freezer??

Man, you should have named this thread...Cooking Aches and Pains :D
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #13 of 27
ShawtyCat,we are culinary masochists!We have pain inflicted upon us in order to bring other people pleasure.I`ve had a tingling in my fingers from the same thing.I also regularly suffer from cramp in my legs when i sit down.I`m due for a overhaul anyway,the bodywork needs some attention.
Last time i went for a health check,i had a suprise.The "doctor"was dressed as a mechanic,i`ve no idea what was going on there.:D
I`m not too sure what she was going to do with an adjustable spanner:eek:
Best wishes,Leo.
post #14 of 27
I've found too, that the type of knife makes a difference; find a knife that 'fits' your hand. When I use the Dick knives, I get a blister every time, and the knife always feels awkward in my grip (i have small hands, being a hobbit and all). But my Wursthoff fit me like a glove, and tho I've gotten callus from them, no blisters.
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post #15 of 27
I`ve noticed a number of people use German knives,i.e.F.Dick,Wusthof,etc.Have any of you tried Gustav Emil or Henckels?They are extremely good knives and you don`t need to use too much pressure to do any task.They also stay sharp if you look after them.
If that doesn`t help,it could be that you are joining lots of other chefs across the world.I`ve yet to meet a chef with soft hands.
Leo.:chef:
post #16 of 27
Here's how I deal with this stuff:

-Sore feet: Birkenstock clogs and DR Scholls inserts.

-Knife sores: Deal with it.

-Saute Pan sores: Deal with it.

-Cuts: Lemon juice and then salt

-Burns: Spray Burn relief.

-Life: go to work.

-Work: go home.

By the way I love my Globals! They keep the BEST edge!
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My wife woke me last night; I screamed at the top of my lungs "How many times do I have to tell you:
SWEEP THE FLOOR!"


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post #17 of 27
Working Chef's get Calouses.

For sore feet I change my shoes 2 to 3 times a day. I have a pair of clogs and a pair of work shoes. The theory is that you change shoes and different pressure points are releived on your feet so they don't get over worked in one spot for too long. Also drink lots of water.
It's funny how many Chefs don't drink enough water or eat anything while working.
I had killer back pain, went to a Holistic Chiropractor(whom I didn't trust), he told me to drink more water and damned if it didn't work.
That's all folks,
Jon
post #18 of 27
Drink more water, hmmm? ...that's what the doctor told me to do about my back spasms. Well, that and to take some Ibuorfen. :) I skipped the pills but I did find out that the water works. And that instead of sitting down (pain got worse then) when I arched my back instead the pain subsided. My theory is that this gives the tendons in my lower back a rest.
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #19 of 27
When I was working in a busy restaurant kitchen, I was simultaneously undergoing chiropractic therapy for a car accident where my back was injured. He gave me three really great stretches to do that relieve back pain, especially the kitchen kind, from being slightly hunched over to cut, dice, chop, etc.

1) Make your hands into fists and put them in front of your face, with elbows pointing to the floor. Don't move your hands but bring your elbows in a circle, up and around, slowly, you should feel your shoulder blades moving towards each other.

2) Bend over loosely (this can sometimes do wonders to relieve muscle tension)

3) Hang from a doorframe

The kitchen boys (sorry, they called me Salad Girl) laughed at me, but they didn't know how much pain I was in, and how much it helped.

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"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea"
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post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
Many helpful suggestions here. I wish I'd read some of the more recent posts before buying my knife kit, which I've just done. No wusthoffs... a few henckles and a Mac cook's knife. I can't wait to get my hot little hands on them all.

Anyway, as for streaching and all that, I once paused in my channel changing, lingering for a moment on a yoga programme (admitedly because I thought the instructor was quite good-looking) and found myself immediatley inthralled. I'm not one for yoga, really (at six feet, two seventy-ish I can't help but think I must look auwfully silliy doing some of that stuff), but I think that a passing knowledge of some of the basic postures has really helped. When my back starts getting sore, if I take a minuet and self-conciously adjust my posture and breath deeply, it always helps.

Seems like its always the basics that we forget, eh? Water, breathing, standing up straight. Should that be so hard?


Regards,
P
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post #21 of 27
there's only been a few times i haven't had a knife callous and i miss it when its not there! I'm equally proud of the callouses on my fingers from playing guitar and when i was a baker, my massive Popeye-esque forearms. it's probably a sign of knowing the value and rewards of hard physical labour and the practice and discipline many creative and worthwhile activities require.

i think line cooking creates a few more callouses mentally than it does physically. anyone new to the line can see people who've developed a "thick skin". I do make it an ongoing challenge to be cool and aloof, non-emotive, single minded cooking machine..sometimes i'm successful! (i still can't help but love line veterans with a slightly surly and sarcastic armor- a mock superiority complex can get one through those hours of imagined oppression)

the only chef i've met with soft hands was a Japanese sushi chef. his hands were always PERFECTLY manicured and a real symbol of the perfection an beauty of what he created. out of respect for his skills and professionalism I always tried to keep my gnarled old digits out of his view!
post #22 of 27
It always thrills me to have a knife callous (yeah, I know, I don't get out much). It means I've spent a bulk of time handling my 10" chef's knife. To me, it's not simply a blob of hardened skin but a badge of courage.
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post #23 of 27
Chiffonade,you say a callous is a badge of courage,i would add that you should wear it with pride,Leo.:chef:
post #24 of 27
A calloused hand means nothing to a calloused soul.
I have worked very hard to get to where
I am. I do not have calloused hands anymore.I have hands that have crafted
everything that I can dream. I am myself
and I am. I enjoy life and my craft.
I Live.
Bill
post #25 of 27
Hello

I am a freshman at JWU Miami, on day one we were told that everybody was holding their knife incorectly, what I have done for three years and what the rest of my class was doing was holding their chef knife with their thumb and forfinger touching the blade. According to the chefs at JWU this grip is what causes callouses, and uses more muscels than necessery. We as students are instructed to hold the knife with a firm grip around the handle the same way we would hold a saute pan. After spending 6 hours chopping with this grip, I could feel a difference. It is more comfortable to me this way.
post #26 of 27
The reason you pinch the blade is for control. I'f you can hold the handle only and still not slip or roll the blade while working on something tough then cool. Not for me thanks. If the handle is wet or slick with something else than it may roll and cause injury unless the blade is "pinched" between the forefinger and thumb.
If they tell you nect to lay your forefinger on the top of the blade demand a refund!
;)

nighty night,
Jon
post #27 of 27

it all depends if you hold your knife with a choke or like a gun both ways are fine but i prefere to choke my knife.

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