Love to Cook? 4 Safety Tips for Every Home Chef
Cooking is fun regardless of your age. It provides an opportunity to hone new skills while expanding your creativity. To stay safe while in the kitchen, however, there are a few things the home chef should keep in mind. Following are the top four recommendations from home cooks around the nation.
Precautions During Prep
There are several things to keep in mind while you do your prep work. First, the cutting board will slide around. To keep it secure just wet a paper towel and put it underneath. Next, remember that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one and will make cutting that much more difficult. It’s important, therefore, to sharpen knives regularly then to keep your fingers out of the way by using them as a claw while cutting. Finally, many vegetables will roll around when you try to cut them. Potatoes, onions, tomatoes and the like can roll easily leaving your fingers vulnerable. To prevent accidents as a home chef just trim the end and it will provide a solid base from which to work.
Be Aware of the Bacteria
Bacteria lurks everywhere so if you’re aware of that you can take precautions that will keep the food, you and your family safe. Of course, washing your hands frequently is a given. Don’t cut meat on a cutting board and then vegetables. It will transfer foodborne illnesses that raw meat carries. Make sure you keep bacterial wipes handy and wipe your counters and cutting board frequently. Most of all, a home chef must resist the urge to taste everything until it’s cooked. Uncooked eggs, marinades that meat have been sitting in and rare meat and poultry can be especially dangerous. Only taste after foods have been cooked then add more salt and pepper if needed.
Watch What You Wear
Although at one time mom’s wore dresses, heals, pearls and bracelets while cooking, it was soon discovered that it was an ill-advised practice. Jewelry can easily become caught in door knobs, pot handles and the like. Additionally, heals did not provide the slip-resistant traction required in a kitchen so be sure and wear shoes that will provide skid-resistance. To add protection, an apron is recommended as it will prevent splatters on clothing. Finally, keep long hair tied up in a bun. Not only will it prevent hair from getting in your food but could also prevent it from catching on fire.
Prevent Cooking Fires
An out-of-control fire is a primary concern for home chefs. There are a few tips, however, that can minimize the danger. First, make sure paper, plastic and tea towels are kept away from hot surfaces. You need to also remember that grease spreads fire incredibly fast so make sure containers are not kept near the stove and if a fire starts do not allow the grease to spread by trying to move the pan to the sink. When deep frying is required, we recommend using an air fryer. Check an appliance review for the best rated products. Make sure you have an up-to-date fire alarm system and fire extinguisher handy. Also, remember that air feeds fire. If a fire starts try to smother it with a lid and be sure and turn off the heat. If that doesn’t work then you’ve got your backup systems ready.
Notes for the Home Chef
There is nothing quite like the joy of cooking. However, there are inherent dangers in the craft, too. Familiarity with the pitfalls and taking steps to prevent accidents or injuries will ensure that your time learning new skills and sharing your creations with others becomes the high point of your day.
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism.