T minus 48 hours until the grand Turkey Dinner. Hopefully by now you have purchased your turkey and all the trimmings. To get you through the holiday safely, the team at Safety Education Specialists has some tips for you to avoid a Safety Disaster…
1) Thaw your Turkey, and thaw it properly. This means that you should have your turkey in the refrigerator thawing by now. Do not leave it on the counter to defrost. This will allow the outer layers of the bird to thaw too quickly, leaving it susceptible to bacteria and microbes.
2) Use a thermometer. I don’t care if you stuff your bird, or do the dressing thing-just please use a thermometer on all of your dishes. Turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, pie…everything. Under-cooked food is a leading cause of food-borne illness in the home.
3) Clean your kitchen, but watch that mop! You should have a clean kitchen to cook in. This means wiping down counters with disinfectant and segregating your cutting boards (watch that raw meat and veggies!!). But, please be careful when you mop. Do not mop and then try to run into the kitchen to rescue your burning pies! Slip and fall accidents are a common cause of household injury.
4) Sharpen your knives. No, this is not a solution to the in-laws, but, dull knives require more pulling/pushing to use and this leads to slippage and cuts. Sharp knives slice through food “like butter” and make accidental finger slicing a thing of the past.
5) Pull your hair and sleeves back. You will be near a stove-top and oven. This is a fire hazard when you mix long hair/long sleeves with open-flame/high heat cooking. We all want to look cute while we cook, but this is one time that flowing boho sleeves are not a good idea. Speaking of fashion, stilettos are also on the no-no list (this is the hardest for me)
6) Keep children and pets out of the kitchen! Unless the children are helping with dinner preparation, keep them out of the kitchen. Keep the pets out too–in fact, set them up in front of the TV to watch the Thanksgiving Day parades and give yourself some space. You are flinging knives, moving hot things in and out of the oven, please keep the creatures out.
7) Use cooking mitts to take things out of the oven. Avoid burns. If you are burned, run the burned area under cool water until the pain subsides. If it blisters, DO NOT pop them. If the burn is severe, seek medical attention.
8) Schedule your time. A trick I use every year is to count back from when dinner will be served. If dinner is at 4 pm, and the turkey will take 5 hours, I know to have it in the oven by 10 am (this allows for resting). Stagger your other oven items throughout the day to ensure that you are not hurried and harried. Chaos in the kitchen leads to accidents and injury.
9) When eating, chew your food. Don’t talk and chew. This leads to choking. No one likes to give or receive the Heimlich maneuver-especially on a holiday.
And Last: 10) Take the time to give thanks that you made it through the day, accident-free, with your family/friends/pets or any combination thereof. Give Thanks for another year. Gratitude is good for the soul.