Whether this is your first or twenty-first time preparing Thanksgiving dinner, following some kind of a safety guideline is more important than you just might realize. Here are a few tips to ensure that your cooking experience goes happily according to plan.
If you’re like me, you will probably begin your meal preparation on Thanksgiving morning by chopping up some vegetables to place underneath and beside the turkey. To make sure this is done as safely as possible, you may want to consider picking up some cut resistant kitchen gloves.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cut myself while preparing just a regular meal at home. Since preparing Thanksgiving meal offers just too many opportunities for me to cut myself, I’ve had no choice but to invest in a pair of my own. Now, I feel a lot safer doing such a potentially dangerous job.
With all these thoughts racing through your mind at once, it can be easy to forget the most basic of kitchen rules. This means once you’ve finished rubbing the meat with butter and seasonings, you need to wash your hands.
Like chicken, raw turkey contains a very dangerous bacteria called Salmonella and can result in food poisoning. We all know how that ends and I for one don’t want to go through that again!
Preventing Food From Overheating
Be sure to keep an eye on your food while it’s cooking. This is especially true for something you’ve got cooking up on the stove. When a pan gets too hot, the cooking oil gets overheated and can cause a fire to erupt.
If you start noticing a lot of smoke fuming from the inside of the pan, that’s a danger sign. Immediately, turn the heat knob down a few notches until it looks safe enough to continue cooking.
Using a Clean Oven
Ovens can get dirty over time and because it’s so dark in there, you probably won’t even notice it right away. When you’re baking something in the oven, it’s easy for oils or grease to drip out of the roaster and onto the interior of the oven, eventually resulting in a fire.
To do your best to avoid this situation, you can make sure your oven is clean before throwing your turkey in there. This will make it safer for you and also, make you feel more at ease doing so.
Keeping a Clean Stove Top
You know that stinky smell you get when your stove gets dirty? It’s important to clean out the stove burners fairly often.
If you let it sit there and build up, it could cause a fire over time. Make sure your stove is clean before you turn the heat on and start cooking.
Using Proper Encasing for Oven
Make sure that the encasing you’re using to hold your baked goods in is oven safe. The material should be compatible and safe to use for baking.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure the encasing of your choosing is big enough to completely store what you’re cooking inside. It should also be sturdy enough so that you won’t have to worry about it falling over.
Use a Timer
Another way to make sure that your food doesn’t overheat is by placing a timer on everything. Whether it’s the sweet potatoes baking in the oven, the green beans cooking on a pan, or the mashed potatoes boiling in a pot, you won’t want to forget this simple but important step.
Inserting Thermometer Safely
Trying to read the thermometer while the turkey is still in a hot oven is not a good idea. Because you’ll be bending over, you can lose your balance easily and by doing so, you risk falling into the oven and getting burned very badly.
When you’re ready to see if the turkey is done, make sure you remove it from the oven first and place it somewhere safe. Only then should you stick in the thermometer.
Owning a Good Pair of Oven Mitts
Truly, oven mitts can be little devils in disguise. It would do you well to carefully examine your oven mitts before you begin cooking your Thanksgiving meal. Some are built better than others.
Even new ones can make you burn your hands badly because the material is too thin or they just weren’t built well. Then, there are the ones with tiny holes that you can’t see but you can certainly feel. Ouch!
Handling the Weight of a Heavy Turkey
Turkeys can get really heavy! In fact, I can barely hold the twenty-pounder I get every year. My fiance helps out a lot by carrying it for me from the counter to the oven and then from the oven to the counter later on.
I strongly suggest getting someone stronger than you to help you out with this part. Otherwise, you could really hurt yourself.