As the Thanksgiving dinner hour approaches, expect things to get a little wild with folks arriving, minidramas erupting. You, dear cook, need to keep your cool and concentrate on cooking.
"Unattended cooking is the main cause of cooking fires, and cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires," says John Drengenberg, consumer safety director at Underwriters Laboratories, the product safety testers. His tip? Carry a potholder if you have to leave the kitchen; it will remind you that something's cooking.
So whether you're new to the stove patrol or juggling fancy recipes, be sure the smoke alarm works, pan handles are turned to the center of the stove and electrical cords don't hang over the edge of counters.
A few more Dos and Don'ts from UL:
- Keep a flame-resistant oven mitt and lid handy. If a small fire starts in a pan, put on the mitt then smother flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Don't remove the lid until the food has cooled.
- Tilt lids on hot pans away from you to protect your face and hands from steam burns. If there's an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergency; know how to use it.
- Be extremely cautious if using a turkey fryer; because they pose some safety concerns - including burn and fire hazards - UL has not certified any turkey fryers.
- Hold a child in one arm while trying to cook with the other.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing or let long hair hang loose when cooking.
- Pour water on a grease fire; it can cause the fire to spread.