Make Your Holiday Meal Easier And Safer

Dec 19, 2018, 2:42 PM

It doesn't take much to make your home perfect for cooking, family, and friends.

If you’re not already getting your turkey ready for the holiday meal, now is the time! But of course you’ll need it to be safe. Keeping yourself and your family protected from a literal kitchen tragedy might seem obvious, but when you’re busy frying a bird, whipping up potatoes, baking cookies, and keeping an eye on the family all at the same time, it’s easy to overlook a few things.

Christmas Dinner

Even if you’re not planning turkey for Christmas, you’ll need to know what to watch for any time you’re in the kitchen. And of course there’s always turkey time next Thanksgiving…

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports some 1,300 cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day, about triple the average day. Cooking fires also cause the most fire-related injuries at home, with an estimated average of 3,450 injuries each year. Here’s a few ways to make sure no one at your house suffers one of those injuries.

  • If there are young children in the home, keep them out of the kitchen or away from the stove during cooking time. Even if they don’t come near a hot range top or oven, there are simple ways to reduce the risk of accidents: turn pan handles toward the back of the stove so they don’t accidentally get bumped.
  • Be careful with what you’re wearing, too. Loose-fitting clothing or long sleeves can catch on pots, pans, and shelves.
  • Before you start cooking, make sure your fire extinguisher and smoke alarm are working properly and are close by.

And there’s one special piece of kitchen equipment you can use anytime you’re cooking outside: turkey fryers. Even if you’re not cooking turkey. The huge pots should only be used outdoors, away from the house, reports the United States Fire Administration. Stay with the fryer while it’s cooking to make sure the oil is heating properly, and move the food carefully to avoid any burns or splash from hot oil.

Do some preparation well ahead of cooking time: thaw the bird for 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Check the fryer’s instructions to make sure it’s filled with the right amount of oil.

The right temperature for a cooked turkey is 165 degrees; for boiled lobster, it’s 135 degrees. The right side dishes to put on the table next to your holiday’s main course — that’s up to you!

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