Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ten Holiday Kitchen Safety Tips You Don’t Want to Miss

Leaving aside the hall bathroom after your wife’s unemployed brother has spent the good part of the morning in it, the kitchen is the most dangerous and hazardous place in your home. Especially during the holidays when an overwhelming majority of Americans assume they can actually cook.

So in the spirit of the season, I offer these 10 important holiday kitchen safety tips.

1. Wash up as you work and keep your cooking area clean and clear. Keep potholders, towels, wooden utensils, food packaging, and curtains away from the stovetop. Oh, and remember that holiday tie you got from the kids last year? The one with Mickey Mouse dressed as Santa? Don’t wear it if you’re going to be hanging over the stove.

2. Do not hold a child in your arms when you are working in the kitchen. Even if it’s someone else’s kid. The same goes for pets. Even the ugly ones.

3. There’s usually a good reason the smoke alarm goes off. The good folks at First Alert did not create these items just to annoy the hell out of you.

4. If you do have a grease fire in a pan or pot, quickly slide a lid over it to completely cut off the oxygen supply, then turn off the heat. Avoid the urge to immediately lift up the lid “just to take a peek.”

5. If the fire is in your oven, close the door and turn off the heat to smother the flames. Don’t worry about the turkey in there. It’s probably a goner.

6. If the fire is in your microwave oven, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed until the fire is completely out. Unplug the appliance if you can safely reach the outlet.

7. If the fire is in your belly, it’s probably a good sign. You really do need to get off that lazy butt of yours and do something with your life.

8. Best bet? Purchase a multipurpose dry-chemical extinguisher rated for Class A, B and C fires. Hang it in an easily accessible place in your kitchen, not in the garage. And remember, this device is not a toy. Sticking the hose down the back of Uncle Roy’s shorts and giving him “one good shot for old time’s sake” might seem funny to you and almost everybody else in the room, but it will probably piss Uncle Roy off real bad.

9. Nuke your dirty sponges occasionally in the microwave for one minute to kill any bacteria that might be present. Important Note: Make sure the sponge is damp when you do this or it may catch on fire (see Important Kitchen Safety Tip # 6).

10. And finally, avoid cross-contamination. Don’t toss a salad with the fork that you scrambled the eggs with. And don’t use the same cutting board to cut raw veggies and raw meat. And by all means, don’t wear that striped apron if you insist on wearing the plaid shorts.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!



  1. While everyone needs a fire extinguisher in their home, unattended cooking is the number one cause of cooking fires. Check out the StoveTop FireStop - it's the size of a tuna can and magnetizes underneath the venthood. When flame activated by a grease fire, it pops open and releases a fire suppressing powder onto the fire and puts it out for you.

  2. Thanks, Kelli. I've never heard of this!

  3. Great idea for a post, Warren! I actually run my dish sponge through the dishwasher every time I wash dishes, I've never tried the microwave method. Let's hope nobody actually needs these! Cheers!

  4. Thanks, Abbey. Look for another ten tips this week. Hope all is well!

  5. Thanks, Jennifer. Glad you dropped by.

  6. You seem to have an obsession with fire, hope the matches are hidden!