How to Prevent Disasters in Your Holiday Kitchen

This holiday season, between cooking birds and grilling cheesecakes outside , I haven’t had much time to think about anything other than putting food in the pan and taking it out again. It wasn’t until a recent open-air frying session that I became very aware of my inability to deal with a kitchen disaster should it occur. It not only made me almost shit in my pants, but also made me think. With the holiday parties in full swing, take these little safety precautions in the kitchen so 2022 ends and you don’t get messy. (Unless it’s from uncontrollable laughter.)

Get a fire extinguisher

Full disclosure: it was fire. My boyfriend and I nearly set our fryer on fire, and while it probably took four seconds to disassemble, nothing slows time like a flame you can’t control. I figured my little Brooklyn apartment would be better off with a fire extinguisher. Even professionals sometimes overlook these things. Regardless of your comfort in the kitchen, this is a place where we constantly deal with high temperatures and many variables. Not to mention, if you are in an apartment building, you are also looking for neighboring apartments, whether you like it or not. This article from Apartment Therapy can help you choose the best type and size of fire extinguisher for your needs. At a bare minimum, there are even jars the size of hairspray , which can be easily stored in a closet and taken to a rooftop grill.

Use trays to prevent spills

A few drops of melted cheese will occasionally spill out of your casserole, but after a few minutes of the burnt cheese smell, you can continue the night. When your tart tatin spews eight ounces of melted butter or your lasagne hits a garlic confit mold, you might be in trouble. However, oil puddles are unlikely to potentially catch fire. Always place small baking pans on large baking sheets to catch spilled liquid and prevent pans from tipping over easily. Most household ovens can hold up to four quarter-sheet pans, and that’s enough space for you to work wonders with casseroles. (If you’ve already spilled oil in your oven, check out this article to help you clean it up.)

Take your time in the kitchen

When you’re throwing a holiday party, time is of the essence, but with alcohol flowing and sequins falling from Gatsby-inspired outfits, you need to slow down. No one will be upset if you bring puff pears a few minutes later than planned. Rushing around in the kitchen rarely leads to anything good, and you’re more likely to break something, cut corners, cut yourself, or spill something.

Stop to clean up spills

When you inevitably spill something while preparing the perfect holiday dinner, stop, put everything in a safe place, and clean up the mess. “I’ll get it in a minute,” maybe one minute too late. Friends, family members, or children who keep coming in and out of the kitchen can make things worse, leading to even more confusion or injury. This is definitely a “stitch in time” moment, so give yourself a break to clean up spills right away. Chances are you still needed to slow down a bit.

Roast big meat outside

Thanksgiving is over, but many families still serve the popular bird for Christmas dinner. Whether it’s turkey, chicken, ham or wild boar, if you’re deep frying a giant piece of meat, do it outside. Taste of Home details how to safely deep-fry a turkey, and many of these helpful tips apply to any large squirrel. Since the main danger lies in the huge cauldron of hot, bubbling oil, deep-frying outdoors means it’s far from your fuel house and absent-minded guests who might be hanging around with a glass of wine.

Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide incidents happen every year. They are absolutely terrible, but they can also be prevented. Anything that burns the material will release carbon monoxide, so gas stoves and ovens, among other household appliances, can be a source. (For more information on carbon monoxide sources, poisoning, and detection, read here .) Keep heat-producing appliances clean and service them as needed. Buy a detector that suits you and test it from time to time to make sure it works properly. There are many types of detectors, from cordless to corded, and some smoke detectors also include them.

Use slow cookers

Instead of keeping mulled wine and ciders hot on the stove, use a slow cooker. Sure, the stoves are cold, but that still means the burner is on and mostly left unattended. Multicookers are designed to be safely left alone, and unlike your stovetop, they have timers and an auto-off feature. Plus, they’re multi-functional all year long, so you can cook a variety of things in a slow cooker, from reheating a glegg to baking a carrot cake . Prepare food, have fun and keep order in the kitchen, my friends.


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