Caramel Knowledge

By Grace Parisi Posted August 15, 2007

A sugar burn is one of the most painful kitchen accidents, and one I'm happy to have avoided in nearly 20 years of cooking professionally. That is until yesterday, when I was making marshmallows for a recipe that will run in our December issue. (Will I make it again?  I think not.)

Boiling corn syrup and sugar to 250° (that's pretty hot), then adding it to a mixing bowl of meringue beating at a near-furious speed so as not to melt and deflate, I did the boneheaded move of reaching UNDER the saucepan to grab the recipe to make a notation. A nickel-size blob of molten sugar landed on the soft part of my inner forearm. I needed to get it off, and with both hands occupied, my instinct was to use my mouth (another boneheaded move...), fusing my tongue to my wrist (like burning-hot Krazy Glue). With a quick jerk I separated them—as well as a good portion of my skin.
Within seconds I ran to our first-aid kit (everyone should have one!) and applied a strip of burn gauze, a bandage and an ice band around my wrist. I have absolutely no residual pain or sensitivity this morning, so I must have caught it in time. The moral, I guess, is don't do what I did—and always have a first-aid kit near at hand. 

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