Tag Archives: knife skills

Broken Arm Blessings – Arrow Learns Kitchen Knife Skills & Cooking!

Anticipation 1940 click to go to Shorpy.com for full size view

We continue with our mini series on “Broken Arm Blessings” here with this newest installment.  Yes it is a year later (plus a little) but it seemed fitting somehow.  In case you missed them, you can read part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here & part 5 here.

Right after I broke my arm the Lord impressed upon The Patriarch & me that “this time” was for Arrow’s training.  That was confirmed (without us having said a word) by Papa & Mama B on the Sunday four days after the initial break.  Yes, I did actually attend church with a very banged up face.  We didn’t want to deny anyone the blessing of helping us, but we needed to obey the Lord in this.  So, we turned down meals from our church in order to have this time of real life training for Arrow.

Baby Blue Cast & Casted Thumb

I was quite limited in what I could do in taking care of my family and out home.  My left thumb was cast immobile so I couldn’t move the radius bone.  That alone really limited my arm movements.  (Insert NON-evolutionary note here:  Even in just this I saw how we truly are fearfully and wonderfully made!! … end note)  Anything requiring two hands was o-u-t for me… for a time.  I found creative work arounds for a few things, but most things I had to have someone else do.  It was amazing to me how many things I actually HAD to use two hands for… that I did without thinking about “how” I did them.  And now I had to teach someone else the how… without being able to do the show.

YouTube!!  Did I ever think I would thank the Lord for YouTube..??!!

Arrow had to do all the majority of the house cleaning, cooking, laundry, garden watering, dishes, dog care (including giving doggy medications), as per the Lord’s direction.  I did a few little things that weren’t taxing & easily be done with one hand.  Many of the tasks that Arrow was now responsible for he had some training in.  He had just never been responsible for it all… all at the same time before!  We prayed that this time of training would 1) help develop a servant’s heart, 2) learn to work cheerfully as unto the Lord, 3) scheduling various household chores, 4) scheduling cooking so all items were done at the same time and able to be served together, 5) know what is required to ‘run the home’ so he will be a better manager of his own home (should the Lord provide him with a wife), 6) give him the skills and training to help around the house when all the children are too young to take charge on their own and his wife is incapacitated by morning sickness (should the Lord so graciously provide!) …and??

We had training in using larger knives (very interesting when I can’t ‘show’ how it is to be done!)  have you ever tried to cut an onion with only one hand… that thing rolls all over the place!  These youtube videos were Arrow’s ‘knife skill school classes':

  – (This is an excellent explanation of how to cut, and the principles of the cutting action, how to hold you hands, etc.  This would have been tops if he had also shown better how to hold the knife and how to stand, but that is covered in the 2nd link.);

  – (This second one show how to hold the knife properly, how to stand while cutting, but I don’t like his knife action as much as the first video.);

(Sorry I tried embedding the video code… grrr….!)  And the audio quality on these isn’t the greatest, but the information is top notch!  So I included them here for your learning as well!  :-)  Here is the Gluten Free Girl’s Hubby showing how to dice vegetables (different info than how to cut them!;

Gluten Free Girl & the Chef show why it’s important to start with a  hot pan!!; – this was “MY” cooking epiphany!!  Oh!!  Oh!!  Oh!!  Revolutionized and IMPROVED my cooking dramatically… I never knew.

I thought these “training” videos were for teaching Arrow how to cook.  Ha!  Just like any other subject I teach in our homeschool, I learn SO MUCH!!  I wasn’t even taught the proper way to hold a knife in my home-ec classes way back in the 70’s!!  You know, the “old” days when girls were till being taught some home skills.  I was taught the basics of the how but none of the why and much of the details were never taught at all!  I have learned them now when training Arrow and in being part of the Ratio Rally.

Our learning continued in using the stove safely, washing up as you go so you don’t have such a large mess later, tips for hardboiling eggs, tips for frying eggs so they don’t have that hard plastic edge, 1) the eggs MUST be at room temperature.  I usually place them in a container with hot water while I prep the rest of the things, 2) The pan MUST be heated completely on LOW heat.  It takes my stove about 5 – 6 minutes.  The butter should NOT sizzle and neither should the eggs., 3) Cook the eggs slowly, they should slide around in the bottom of the pan when they are ready to turn and there should not be lots of the white still uncooked.  I still use butter, but skim off the foam as that is the protein that causes me a problem.  Guess I need to make my own ghee…, 4)  get the spatula completely under the eggs before trying to turn them so you don’t break the yolks… turn gently!, 5) Only cook 2 – 3 eggs at a time in a pan of the proper size.  If you use a larger griddle for lots of eggs… the same principles apply, but you may need some kind of ring to keep the whites separated so they don’t spread all over the place.  I don’t cook our eggs on our cast iron griddle as I don’t like the iron taste it leaves behind in the eggs.

how to coordinate laundry, cooking, etc and MUCH MORE!  So far his attitude has been pretty good.

Some of the things he made are:  a pot roast in the crock pot, chicken salad, gluten free pasta salad, GF pancakes, fried eggs, salads, roast beef hash, GF  cherry peach cobbler, hamburgers (not on buns), cole slaw, potato salad, fresh brewed coffee and iced tea.  I didn’t keep a complete record of all Arrow cooked during that time.  There would have been many other things not listed here.  And a dear, sweet friend, Mrs. G.B. made us a couple of meals anyway.  On a few days when we were gone for the better part of a day with various doctor’s appointments & such we heated up these meals.  Those were such blessings!  Thank you dear!!

Do you realize just how long it takes an 11 (at the time) year old boy to fix a complete dinner??  “MY” timing was W-A-Y off as to how long I needed to give him to get the food ready.  What took me 30 minutes was taking him 3 times that long.  I sure wasn’t about to tell him to hurry up when slicing, dicing and chopping with 12-inch sharp chefs knives!!!  So we got very little else done but the bare essentials.

I looked at this time as “my season of stillness” given as a blessing to me by my heavenly Father.   NOT that I want to run right out and break my arm again…  :-)  My ‘learning’ was in extending patience, letting go of perfectionist tendencies (do those towels REALLY need to be folded just that way??), relying on others help without demanding, new knife skills (yep I had NO clue…) and much more.  I couldn’t change what “crook in my lot” (or arm – ouch!) the Lord had given me, and complaining about it would only make me & those around me miserable!  So I spent much more time praising God for my… “Broken Arm Blessings”!

Ten blessings I am thankful for:

1) YouTube videos for teaching essential kitchen knife skills!

2 ) dear friends from church who made meals anyway.

3) that I had done some of this training before I broke my arm

4) watching Arrow chop and slice like a pro! (though more slowly!!) AND keep all his fingers

5) how pleased The Patriarch was with the fried eggs cooked by Arrow for the very first time

6) for a good set of Cutco Knives, thanks honey!!

7) Arrow’s pleasant attitude towards learning all this food prep stuff

9) watching Arrow carefully cup up a large watermelon for our church fellowship meal and do so safely

10) for the learning I had while teaching kitchen skills to Arrow!!

Blessings,  ~Mrs. R

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