As this year begins drawing to a close, we reflect back on the events of the last few years of blessings and challenges alike. As we gather with family and friends, take a moment and ensure your gathering is a safe and happy one. If your household is anything like mine, the kitchen is a common gathering place to prepare the feast, conduct unauthorized quality control checks of the turkey and to share stories of holidays past. Here are a few tips to keep those that mean the most to you safe.
I don't know who needs to hear this: If you have a frozen turkey, have a plan to THAW YOUR TURKEY!!! This thaw time guide may help. The amount of thaw time your bird should have in the refrigerator before you prep or brine it:
12 lbs: 3 days.
14 lbs: 3 1/2 days
16 lbs: 4 days
18 lbs: 4.5 days
20 lbs: 5 days
24 lbs: 6 days
If you fry, be ever mindful of curious ones transiting your workspace. It just takes a fraction of a second for a mishap to result in gallons of boiling oil from spilling and possibly bursting into a flash fire. Better to be the stern one to keep non-essentials away from the fryer. Besides...you can't properly quality check the skin until it is being carved ;)
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 4,000 fires happen each Thanksgiving Day, usually in the kitchen! When frying food, turn the burner off if you see smoke or if the grease starts to boil. Carefully remove the pan from the burner.
Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire. This will put out the fire. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. If you don't have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, maybe drop a hint to Santa ;)
Cookbooks, dishtowels, empty food boxes, and more. In some kitchens, crafting a magical meal sometimes resembles a disaster in the making as you prepare multiple food items. Keep items that can burn away from the stove. Most people would agree that Thanksgivings are best when not disrupted with a conflagration.
Never use a glass casserole or lid on the stove or burner, as it may explode from the heat.
Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
Turn pot handles to the back of the stove, so no one bumps them or pulls them over.
Use a timer to remind yourself that the stove or oven is on. Check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to ensure all stoves, ovens and small appliances are turned off.
If you don't have a food thermometer, pick one up this weekend. They are inexpensive and help to ensure foods are cooked to the proper temperate. Besides, you don't want to spend the holidays sitting on the toilet shopping online because something wasn't fully cooked.
If you are traveling for Thanksgiving, ensure your property is locked up tight and consider asking your local law enforcement to conduct checks on your house. (Wilmington Police Home Check) (Clinton County Sheriff House Check)
The last two years have been challenging enough. Stay safe and enjoy your gathering safely so you'll be able to do the same in December.
May the wishbone snap in your favor this Thanksgiving. From your friends and family at Clinton County EMA, have a great Thanksgiving!