Freak Baking Injuries


No, You don't want to see what's under there.
I cut my fingers open a few weeks ago because I was being "not as careful as I should have been" with the Agbay cake leveler while cutting styrofoam.

(I've since spoken to Maureen Agbay, and she told me that they have a special blade for styrofoam. Duh... So don't do what I did!)

This wasn't the first time I'd sustained a cake-related injury, and I'm sure it won't be the last. If you look closely at my forearms you'll see the many "Baker's Tattoos" that I have, which are the straight-line scars from burning myself on hot oven racks.

I've had to go to physical therapy and get needling treatments (which are awesome and really work, I recommend it) because of my lousy posture that comes from holding heavy cakes with my left hand while icing them with my right. This apparently throws you off balance enough that it messes up your hips and shoulders.

I get a headache every Saturday night after three days of standing at the kitchen counter tilted slightly sideways while I bake and decorate.
And speaking of shoulders, I have a bad one that results in my entire right arm going numb if I hold it in the wrong position. That comes from years of mixing things and generally abusing myself.

I'm lucky that I don't have carpal tunnel syndrome, which is very common among bakers. There's also a delightful condition called "occupational asthma" that you can get from inhaling flour and other small particles.

I live with aches and pains that come with this profession, so when I cut myself open I curse a little, wrap it up and keep working, no big deal. But I really don't want to develop asthma for the long run.

A little prevention can go a long way. Wear earplugs if you're using a loud mixer (I'm serious...I've dealt with enough deaf people to be concerned about this too.) Use a dust mask if you're airbrushing color so that you don't inhale it. Stop for 5 minutes every hour to stretch your shoulders out and stand up straight (your mother was right.)

And be careful with knives. They can be pretty dangerous.


 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com