The heart of the home it has been said is the Kitchen. This is the place for many, who have waited for Mom to make their favorite dish and the family can gather to talk and enjoy a good meal or Mom’s famous cookies. The Kitchen is also the place where practicing safety is essential. Here are some tips:
Handle with Care
If you have ever worked in a professional kitchen or a meat department, you know that a chef or butcher keep their knives very sharp and some even have a set of knives they alone only use. Why are sharp knives so important? A sharp knife will not slip as easily as a dull one especially if you are cutting a tomato or a food item that has a slippery surface. A sharp knife does not need as much pressure to cut and you have a better control over the blade.
When using a knife practice safe cutting techniques. If you are a beginner cook, start off slowly and carefully with your cutting. There are many different sizes and shapes for knives because each one does a number of things for the purpose of boning a fish, slicing vegetables to cutting bread. Learning what your knives are for will help you to use them more efficiently. Here are a few tips that are helpful.
Always cut away from you body
Use a cutting board that does not slip, you can put a towel under the board or purchase one that is made not to slip.
When cutting a round piece of food like a carrot, carefully cut a sliver down one side so it will lay flat on the cutting board.
Keep the knife clean knife and that includes the handle. A greasy or slippery handle can cause you to slip and possibly have an accident.
Never, never put a knife in a sink full of dish water. You could forget it is there or another person not knowing it is there could grab the sharp blade and be injured. When cleaning, always keep the sharp edge away from you and handle carefully.
A reflex to grab something that is falling is in all of us. Do Not Grab a falling knife. Let it go to the ground and get out of the way to avoid it landing on your feet.
See this great video for Basic Knife Skills
For and foremost, every home should have a fire extinguisher. It should be kept in a cool dry place in the kitchen or near an exit/entrance in/out of the kitchen. A fire extinguisher should never be kept near the stove or other heat source. Make sure it is kept updated and you know how to use it.
Would you know what to do if you have a grease fire on your stove? The first thing you Do Not Want To Do is put water on a grease fire. Oil and water do not mix and you will make the fire spread. If the fire is contained to the pot or pan you are cooking with, put a lid on it and turn off the burner. Wait until the pot or pan is cooled down before handling. Get more information on how to handle a grease fire on your stove… .
Fires can also start in your microwave and oven. If you have a fire in either, do not open the door. Fire loves oxygen and this will feed the fire. Turn off the appliance, keep the door closed and watch for the fire to burn out. Any time you feel that you cannot contain a fire and it is getting out of control, get outside and call for help. See more about containing an oven fire here…
What You Wear Matters
Wearing clothes that will not interfere and catch fire. Example: long sleeve shirts and open shoes. Long loose sleeves could catch fire or get into the hot food your cooking. Drop a knife, hot food or something that is scalding and your could injure your legs and feet. Closed shoes can help prevent these type of accidents. Also its a good idea if you have long hair, to pull it up, no one likes to find a strand of hair in their meal.
Oven Mitts need to be away from the stove top and the sink. Near the stove top and they can catch fire. Near a sink and they could get wet. You use a wet Oven Mitt to get a hot pan out of the oven, or a pot off the stove and your going to get burned. Keep them in a drawer or hang them somewhere accessible but safe.
Spills and Falls
Make sure to clean up all spills on the floor immediately. Falls can happen easily and it would be terrible to fall with a scalding pot of sauce. Have rugs that stick to the floor and not slip and slide. Keep floors clutter free to avoid tripping or falling.
Stove Top Safety
When cooking on the stove top keep the pots handles turned in so you do not accidentally knock one over. Be careful when lifting lids from a boiling or simmering pot, as the steam will be very hot and could scald your arms. Never cook with a child or baby in your arms over the stove top, they could get scalded as well. Keep your stove top free of any aprons, dish towels, packages from food products or anything that could catch fire. Keep your cooking area as clean as you can, especially when cooking with grease.
Clean Appliances Carefully
Blenders, Food Processors and any appliance with a sharp blade should be turned off before touching the blades and careful when cleaning. If you can take apart the blade section do so and put into your dishwasher.
Never leave what you are cooking unattended. If you have to answer the phone or the door, or your going to be away from the kitchen for any amount of time, turn off the burner. It is easy to get distracted and stay away longer then you thought would and this could potentially lead to burning you food and your cookware or over cooking your meal.
Cooking With Kids
When cooking with kids, safety comes first. Depending on their age, give them easy things to do away from the stove. Have them sit at a counter or table in your kitchen and stir a cake mix or make a salad. Wait until they are of an age that they can understand how to handle utensils in the kitchen and you know they will listen and be careful and thoughtful of their task. Never, never leave a child unattended in the kitchen.
Pets in the Kitchen
Pets safety in the kitchen also on the top of the list. Depending on the size of your dog, little ones can get under foot and cause an accident to you and them. Larger dogs could possibly pull food off the counter, and if its hot that would be tragic for the dog. You may want to consider keeping your pet out of the kitchen while you are cooking to avoid an accident for both of you.
Cooking should be enjoyable and safe…