Knife-Throwing and Tumbling

Sometimes there’s a reason one gets picked last in gym class.

Okay–not to jump conclusions about any of the rest of you who suffered that humiliation in your childhood, but–probably there’s always a reason. Maybe what I should have said was, sometimes one does not ever outgrow that reason.

Or I could just say: I’m a klutz.

If you’ve been reading this blog since it was that blog, you might remember the falling-down-the-stairs story, and I may even have admitted that I fall down an entire flight of stairs at least once–and sometimes twice–a year. This evening I realised that I also slice my finger on kitchen knives at least once a year. The reason I realised it this evening was that this was apparently the evening in 2011 for me to do that. Actually, I think I’ve exceeded my quota, maybe.

It’s kind of silly, because I never get picked last for slicing vegetables if I go to people’s houses for dinner and ask what I can do to help. Almost invariably I am handed a knife and a cutting board (or pointed in their general directions) and requested to slice tomatoes or something. It’s weird, because I’m just about as bad at that as I ever was at gym class. My finger-slicing adventures are not confined only to my own kitchen, either. At least twice in my life I have sliced such a big chunk off my finger or thumb at someone else’s house, that by rights I probably really should have gone to get stitches. What I usually do is just use up half of my host’s (or my own) supply of Band-Aids.

The last two times I’ve sliced a finger, however, I haven’t just been a clumsy vegetable cutter. Both times I have somehow entirely lost control of the knife such that it began to hurtle through the air. Both times I have caught it–in the finger. Sometimes I wonder why I still have all ten.

Fortunately, tonight’s incident happened after I had finished stuffing this acorn squash:

I made up the stuffing myself, and it’s pretty delicious, so I’m going to bonus up this blogpost and give you a very imprecise recipe:

1. Halve an acorn squash and scoop out the seeds. Put it in the oven for about an hour. At what heat? Um . . . I forgot, actually!

2. While the squash is cooking, put some olive oil in a frying pan, slice up something oniony (the first time I did this I used a red onion which was amazing; tonight I used a shallot, and that was good, too), and start frying it with an aim to getting it nearly caramelised.

3. Cut up an apple into small pieces (you can leave the peel on, but get rid of the core, obviously) and chop or food-process a handful of walnuts.

4. Throw the apple, the walnuts and another handful of dried cranberries into the pan with the oniony vegetable, and fry some more.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Actually . . . everything in here is pretty much to taste, so . . . whatever.)

6. Grate some sharp cheddar cheese and throw it in right at the end (i.e. right before the squash is done cooking, not right after everything else is suitably fried), mixing it up quickly.

7. Remove the squash from the oven and scoop the pan-fried stuff into the hollows. Put the whole thing back in the oven for 10 minutes.

8. Enjoy!

Would you look at that. A story and a recipe. Maybe the gash across my thumb this evening is worth it. Don’t worry. It’s not the secret ingredient.

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