Cooking can be a very enjoyable pastime but remember that safety in the kitchen is imperative. You are dealing with knives, fire, hot appliances and the often-forgotten danger: bacteria.
Observe basic safety rules and always be alert as one slip can cause a serious incident.
- do not cook in loose clothing or with long hair not tied back. You don’t want anything accidentally catching fire.
- remove all dangling jewelry that could get caught on pot or pan handles.
- have pot holders ready and be sure to use them.
- have handles pointed away from the stove front where they could be accidentally hit by the cook or grabbed by a child.
- set up a safe zone so children do not get close to the stove or hot pots or pans.
- raw meat, fish and some dairy products are temperature sensitive so keep them in the fridge. Do not let them sit out on the countertops.
- keep raw meat and poultry away from other food items and each other while storing. Avoid cross contamination.
- wipe up spills as soon as they happen to keep the floor dry and avoid slips and falls.
- wash your hands to help prevent the spread of bacteria after handling all foods but especially meat products.
- always have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and know how to use it before the need arises.
- always store knives in a wooden block or in a drawer away from children.
- keep the knives sharp to help prevent slips.
- slice away from your hand and keep fingers clear of the blade.
- do not use your hand as a cutting board: for example, cutting an apple in half.
- to mince: keep the blade tip on the board and pump the handle up and down.
- hold the food with the tips of your fingers.
- beware of steak knives. They cut meat so will cut a finger or hand.
- do not lick cream cheese, butter, etc. off of a butter knife.
- never slice freehand over the sink.
- secure the cutting board by setting it on a damp towel.
If you do cut your hand, rinse the cut with cold water and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Wrap in a clean cloth or paper towel and raise above your head and keep pressure on it until the bleeding stops. Apply an antibiotic cream and bandage.
If the cut is deep, stitches may be needed so visit the nearest emergency room for medical attention.
The kitchen is a gathering place for many occasions. By following these practices you can keep it a safe and happy experience for all.