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Friday, November 16, 2012

5 Safety Lessons for Holiday Hosts

 Can't believe Thanksgiving is less than a week away! We're going to be celebrating at our daughter's house, as it's easier on our granddaughter to be at home. Our son-in-law is a gourmet cook, so it should be fabulous. Of course, we'll share with sides and desserts, but haven't decided yet what to bring. Any ideas?

Here's another article on safety while preparing holiday meals: 5 Thanksgiving Safety Lessons for Holiday Hosts by Catherine Jones. She comes from the food service industry and shares from her expertise there.

"It's your turn to host Thanksgiving dinner. Your house is filled with family and friends, many of whom are "helping" you in your suddenly cramped kitchen. There are dishes everywhere, open drawers and cupboards, steam rising from boiling pots, and where did you put that carving knife?

For those who work in food preparation, this chaos is all too familiar. And so are the hazards. So here's some advice from the food service industry to help you and your guests stay injury-free in your kitchen this Thanksgiving-and throughout the year.

The Hazards and Safety Practices of a Busy Kitchen

The food service industry is not the most hazardous, but it does have its dangers. Here's how to handle five common food service hazards that can also be found in many kitchens on holiday weekends.

1. Slips, trips and falls. Dress for cooking with safety in mind. Choose low-heeled, secure shoes with a non-skid sole and an enclosed toe. (A falling measuring cup can inflict as much damage on your toes as a falling hammer if it lands the wrong way.)Don't hurry; take short steps to prevent slips.Pick up trash and food scraps that fall to the floor, and wipe up spills promptly to prevent slipping accidents.

2. Collisions. Be alert for potential collisions with others, especially at doorways and around the stove.When passing someone who may not see you, say, "Behind you."

3. Burns and scalds.   
  • Never wear loose clothing or baggy sleeves while cooking.
  • Don't reach across fryers, stoves and other hot surfaces and materials.

  • Use potholders when handling pots.

  • Use caution around steam and boiling water. Protect your face and arms when lifting pot lids. When removing the cover from a boiling pot, expose the far side of the pot first, to release steam.

  • Never leave oil under heat unattended.
  • Never overfill a fryer with oil or food.
  • Cool oil before moving it.
  • Turn pan handles aside so they don't get bumped or snag on clothing, but keep them clear of other burners.
  • Before microwaving food, vent the container by lifting the edge of the cover.
  • Use caution when opening covered containers that have been in the microwave, and open them away from your face.
4. Heat illness. Kitchen workers are at risk for heat illness as well, so drink plenty of water and make sure you take an occasional break from your hot kitchen.

5. Cuts from knives or other sharp kitchen tools.
  • Unplug the food processor when loading, emptying or changing blades.
  • Keep knives sharp. Dull knives require too much force to operate; they can slip and cause cuts.
  • Use the right knife for the job.
  • When cutting, slice down and away from your hand and body.
  • Keep your fingers and thumbs out of the cutting line.
  • Carry knives with the cutting edge angled slightly away from your body and the tip pointed down.
  • Don't hand a knife to someone. Instead, place it down on a clean surface and the let the other person pick it up.
  • Don't place knives near the edge of a countertop.
  • Don't use a knife while distracted.
  • If you drop something, let it fall. You can receive serious cuts if you try to catch falling knives or glassware.

Conclusion: It's a lot of work preparing a holiday meal, but it doesn't have to be dangerous. With care and attention, you can stay safe and injury-free, and able to enjoy the blessings of a special meal with your loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!"

More on Thanksgiving:
Getting Organized for Thanksgiving
Three Steps to Planning Dinner
Pulling Off a Smooth Thanksgiving Meal - Food Handling Safety