For the past several weeks, I’ve been enjoying fried fish on Fridays. I like it any day of the week, actually, but I usually had it on Fridays. The point is that I regularly fry fish and make enough leftovers to have for a day or two afterward.
Last Thursday, I decided to fry fish. I poured in about a half inch of fresh peanut oil and turned the stove dial to “3”. After a few minutes, I flicked a bit of water into the pan and nothing happened, so I turned the setting to “5” and walked away.
When I came back, I seasoned the fish in a bag and put the first thin piece in with a fork. I was using a wide, deep pan, but even from the far side, was not prepared for the splash that the oil made, and it covered my hand pretty well. I screamed and ran water over my hand. It hurt like never before– any prior pops of grease I had experienced resulted in short-lived pain, but this was different. How was I going to cook the rest of the fish? It was about 2 pm and I hadn’t eaten anything all day. I was also in the middle of working on something important at my desk.
I applied an ice pak from the freezer (I had two that were about the size of my hand, and each was already inside a ziploc bag). The ice pak only intensified the pain, and I knew better than to apply butter or Vaseline, which would only trap the heat). I managed to finish cooking the rest of the fish without incident, but I was literally disabled for the next several hours, as this was my right hand–my dominant hand. Writing, typing, and everything else I wanted to do was nearly impossible because of the excruciating pain, and I took an 800 mg of ibuprofen that I had from a previous prescription, but it was hard to concentrate on anything else.