By Lorie Ham
We all made it through Thanksgiving, but there’s still a lot of holiday cooking ahead for many of us. Holiday dinners, brunches, parties, etc. Cooking safely is important any time of the year, but it seems like we do a lot more cooking over the holidays, and we may be more frantic and distracted. So what are some things we can do to be safer in the kitchen during the holiday season?
The Red Cross has a great list of ten holiday cooking safety tips. These include making sure you have a working fire alarm, not wearing loose clothing while you cook because it could catch on fire, and never leaving your cooking unattended. They also state that it is important to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergencies. Good Housekeeping has some recommendations for your home fire extinguisher needs.
John Hopkins has a similar list of safety tips. One thing you will find on most lists, and that is a good thing to remember all year long, is don’t leave anything flammable on the stovetop! It is also important to make sure the floor around your cooking area is clear of things you could trip over as you move about—and that includes not having your pets and small children underfoot. John Hopkins also includes other tips about kid safety in the kitchen, how to treat a burn, and what to do if there is a cooking fire.
Speaking of cooking fires, According to Consumer Reports, fires related to cooking increase over the holidays. An article on CED Technologies.com states that Thanksgiving has three times the daily average of cooking-related fires. While Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, it is followed closely by Christmas Day, the day before Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas Eve.
Donna Bucciarelli, a Beaumont Health System nurse and trauma prevention coordinator, also has some simple safety tips for the kitchen, such as keeping boiling pots on backburners and all pot and pan handles turned toward the back of the stove so no one accidentally runs into them. The article also states that safety precautions should extend to the dining room table, especially at gatherings where young children are present who could grab onto tablecloths and pull glassware and heavy dishes onto themselves.
It is also important to practice food safety during the holidays. While that is important all year long, once again, it is easy to get stressed and distracted during the holidays and let something slip. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of ways to prevent food poisoning while doing your holiday cooking and eating. These include keeping food separate, making certain everything is cooked thoroughly, thaw your meats properly, and being sure to do a lot of handwashing. The article also states that it is important to keep your food out of the “danger zone.” The danger zone is between 40°F and 140°F where germs can grow rapidly. After food is prepared, keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Refrigerate or freeze perishable food like meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, eggs, cut fruit, cooked rice, and leftovers within 2 hours (1 hour if food is exposed to temperatures above 90°F, such as in a hot car). The temperature in your refrigerator should be set at 40°F or below and the freezer at 0°F or below.
If you have some tips you have found helpful this time of year, please share them on the Mennonite Insurance Facebook page. If you would like to be prepared just in case something does happen, despite your best efforts, and would like to check up on your home insurance coverage before the holidays, please give Mennonite Insurance a call at (559) 638-2327.