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Safety First!

Oct 18, 2023 07:31AM ● By Debra Caffrey

A few years ago we were finally able to give our grimy and ho-hum kitchen a long-anticipated facelift that I had been dreaming about forever. I was ecstatic about new appliances, stone backsplash, refinished cabinets, and granite countertops. But I was super concerned that I would somehow not be able to get a double basin sink like my old one, and that was my biggest priority. It turns out it was no issue at all to get a double basin new one! Some people get overly nervous when it comes to certain safety measurements. For me, this comes in the form of making sure anything that has touched raw chicken does not touch anything else even if you’re still washing things thoroughly, hence my need for two separate basins. Let’s put it this way—once you’ve been hospitalized from food poisoning caused by a raw chicken issue, well, you will never mess around with chicken safety again!

Hospitalizations and sink obsessing aside, when it comes to kitchen and cooking safety, there are just some non-negotiables when it comes to keeping yourself and others out of harm’s way. The kitchen should be a place of communion, fun, and productivity, so keeping these safety precautions in mind can keep you and your loved ones concentrating on the right things!

  • Keep Your Knives Sharp: A dull knife is actually more unsafe to use, as it can slip easily and make slicing and chopping food more difficult. Use a sharpener and/or a knife honer to keep blades sharp and precise. Further, keep dirty knives out of the sink basin to avoid cuts when dishwashing.
  • Mind Your Wardrobe: Push up your sleeves to avoid draping fabric in potential hazards like hot oil or flames, and keep your hair pulled back. Wearing closed-toe shoes can help in case of mishaps.

  • Use Separate Cutting Boards: Don’t take shortcuts with cutting boards; you should be using one for fruits and vegetables and one for raw meat and poultry. Ideally, this should be one that is dishwasher safe, but at the minimum, it should be washed with hot water and soap after every exposure to raw food.

  • Turn Handles Inward: Keep all handles on pots and pans facing inward and away to decrease the chance of spills, knocking into things, or children getting too close.

  • Use Timers to Your Advantage: If you’re prone to absent-mindedness, set a timer to make sure you check to make sure you’ve turned off the oven, stovetop and appliances. Make a habit of checking all of these things before exiting the kitchen each and every time.

Finally, even though cooking itself involves multitasking, it’s a time for seriousness and mindfulness. Be careful not to juggle too much at once, even if it’s having too many things on your mind when you are working in the kitchen. Concentrate, be alert, and take the responsibility seriously. Then take a deep breath and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

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