Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I LEFT A SMALL TIP

Back in 1971 while working in the kitchen of the Black Dog Tavern restaurant in Canton, Connecticut I had a memorable experience one early evening. At that time I was a salad chef and overall kitchen worker at this well known restaurant. In addition to preparing and maintaining the salad bar; I often had to prepare sides of roast beef for cooking in the oven.

This one memorable evening the head cook said to me, "Rick, we need to get another roast beef in the oven right away." Preparing the roast beef involved putting the meat in a cooking pan, adding onions, dicing carrots, celery, and sprinkling salt , pepper, and other spices to the roast beef. I quickly went to work preparing the roast beef. I'm dicing the celery and onions with a small very sharp kitchen knife with no problem. I encountered a problem slicing and dicing when it came to the carrots. I'm right handed so I held the knife in my right hand and the carrot in my left. I get near the end of dicing one carrot and I cut my left index finger near the top joint in a manner that left a sideways cut on the finger. I quickly washed off my cut finger and went to the first aid kit in the kitchen and wrapped up my finger leaving only the top tip of my finger exposed and uncovered.

I then went back to dicing the carrots for the roast beef. When dicing a carrot, I grasped the carrot and encircled the carrot in my left hand and bandaged left index finger. I ended up cutting too close to my finger again as when slicing through this carrot with the sharp knife I also sliced off a small tip of my finger which was the only part of the index finger that was left uncovered by the bandage from the previous cut.

I couldn't get my finger to stop bleeding and I guess the small tip of my finger ended up somewhere in the roast beef pan. As I didn't have a car at the time, one of the kitchen workers drove me and my bloody finger wrapped in a towel to Simsbury where I lived and straight to Dr. Himmelsbach to see if he could stop the bleeding.

Dr. Himmelsbach inspected my cut in two places finger and got out a large syringe and needle filled with something and jabbed this needle into the side cut which stopped the bleeding there but blood was still pouring out of the missing tip of my finger. The doctor then jabbed the needle into the end of my finger and it felt to me like I was being electrocuted as the needle went right on some nerves that are found at the end of the finger. This action stopped the bleeding at the end of my finger but then the side cut area started bleeding again so he had to repeat the process.

Over time the bleeding finally stopped and my finger isn't recognizably scarred unless I point out to someone the small area on the tip that is missing. Thus, usually when people go to a restaurant they leave a monetary tip if they are happy with the food and service. I as a restaurant worker left a small tip (of my finger.)

I never found that small tip of my finger. The restaurant I know, didn't charge any extra that night for the extra ingredient in that roast beef I prepared.