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Feb 24, 2009 03:50 AM

Clumsy in the kitchen?

All my life I have been criticised by my father for being clumsy in the kitchen. I am "cack-handed" apparently, and my attempts to cut bread are routinely laughed at (I can't cut it straight). He can't bear to watch me chop an onion, and to be fair I do cut and burn myself quite often.

I always assumed that I was just clumsy, but during the course of a conversation at work today it was pointed out that it's probably because I am left-handed. What a revelation! So it seems I really can blame my tools - the bread knife which is serrated on the wrong side for example. This also explains why I always found it hard to lay the table "correctly".

I am looking forward to having a stern conversation with my father the next time I see him!

So, a question to other "lefties". Is it worth getting any special equipment - scissors, for example?

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  1. I'm eagerly awaiting replies to this great post also. But I bet you type faster greedy. I just learned that the QWERTY keyboard was originally designed to slow down right-handed typists - faster for left-handers

    1 Reply
    1. re: givemecarbs

      SERIOUSLY? LOL I'm wondering if that's why I tested at 132wpm with only 2 errors in a typing test back in the mid-1980s during a job interview. The entire office ended up stopping what they were doing as they listened to me tickety-tack away on the electric typewriter in the testing room. :-) I attributed it to being a typing test with "easy words to type" that just flowed properly off my fingers.

      I write right-handed, but do everything else left-handed. But I'm completely comfortable cutting/chopping with my right hand, whereas I'd be clumsy as an bull in a china shop if I attempted to do the same with my left hand.

    2. As a lefty who is quite adept in the kitchen, I don't think you can blame clumsiness on being left handed. And the last time I looked at my serrated bread knife, it was serrated on both sides of the blade. Some fairly well known left handed chefs... Paul Prudhomme, Hubert Keller

      2 Replies
      1. re: bnemes3343

        Don't rain on my parade! (Actually I've just had a long chat with a developmental psychologist about this and left-handed people do have more accidents, because we're living in a world designed for right-handed people. We're an oppressed minority.)

        1. re: greedygirl

          Shun makes left-handed knives. You might have to do a special order but they are available.

      2. Don't be so sensitive -- people like you are delightful to have around....for laughs! Even now, the image of my mentally challenged neighbor carrying a platter of spaghetti with the strings of pasta hanging down the sides has me laughing. Just relax and watch some videos of Jacque Pepin cooking with his daughter, and you'll soon have him trained to do all the prep and cooking. But you could ask him for a left handed bread knife for Christmas or whatever -- he would love that!

        5 Replies
        1. re: neverlate

          Are you saying that left-handed people are mentally challenged?!

          1. re: greedygirl

            No, my neighbor is mentally challenged, and he's right-handed. What you have in common is umm.... a certain kind of charming naievete.

            1. re: neverlate

              I think I prefer the psychologist's explanation - which was that my brain function was different to most people's. This was based on the revelation that not only am I left-handed and can't cut bread straight, but I can only wink with my right eye, but not my left, for some reason.

              1. re: greedygirl

                You had me laughing so hard the other morning, greedygirl. I was spending the week with my mom who is naturally left-handed but was trained to write with her right hand. I said somewhere on this thread that she uses her right hand for chopping, but I was wrong. I was paying much closer attention to everything she did in the kitchen and noticed that she can't cut bread straight. Forgot to ask her if she can wink with both eyes. Will have to try to remember next time I speak with her.

                I did ask her specifically about knives, and she said she never had any problem with regular knives, serrated or otherwise. But maybe she only thinks that's true? Maybe if she had a left-handed serrated knife she wouldn't end up with a triangular heel of bread?

                1. re: JoanN

                  It's not just me then. We truly are cursed.....;-)

        2. I'm a lefty and not clumsy in the kitchen. My right handed brother is a perpetual home accident in the kitchen. But I also pace and time myself better and am rarely rushed. My brother stinks at timing and is always rushed and that's usually when things go awry.

          1. On the Canadian Food Network Chef at Home show he recently suggested that the secret for cutting a straight slice of bread was to watch the angle of the knife blade to make sure it was vertical. Try it you might not have to but a left handed bread knife. It's probably sold at the same store that sells a left handed pipe wrench which all plumbing apprentices have been sent to find.