How to Prevent Holiday Kitchen Disasters

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In between spatchcocking birds and Air fry cheesecake This holiday season I haven’t had much time to think about anything other than putting food in and out of a hot cooker. It was only during a recent air frying session that I became acutely aware of the inability to face a kitchen disaster should one occur. Not only did it almost piss me off, but afterwards it got me thinking. When holiday parties are in full swing, take these small kitchen safety measures to make sure 2022 ends without a mess of yourself. (Unless it’s from uncontrollable laughter.)

Get a fire extinguisher

Full disclosure: It was fire. My friend and I nearly set our air fryer on fire, and while it probably took four seconds to fix, nothing slows time like flames you can’t control. I realized that my small Brooklyn apartment would be better off with a fire extinguisher. Even professionals sometimes overlook these things. Regardless of how you feel comfortable in the kitchen, it’s a place where we constantly deal with high temperatures and a multitude of variables. Not to mention that in an apartment building you’ll also be on the lookout for the adjoining units whether you like it or not. this article by Apartment Therapy can help you find the best type and size of fire extinguisher for your needs. At least there is Hairspray-sized cans which you can easily store in a cupboard and take with you to the roof grill.

Use baking sheets to avoid spills

Occasionally a few drops of melted cheese will come out of your casserole, but after a few minutes of smelling burnt cheese, you’re ready to move on with the night. If your tarte tatin spits out 8 ounces of melted butter or the lasagna bumps up against the garlic confit casserole dish, you might have a problem. Although unlikely, oil spills have the potential to catch fire. To catch spills and prevent dishes from tipping over easily, always place small baking pans on large baking sheets. Most domestic ovens can hold up to four quarter sheet pans, and that’s plenty of surface area to cast your casserole spells on. (If you’ve already spilled a load of oil in your oven, take a look this article to help you clean up.)

Don’t rush to the kitchen

Time is of the essence when you’re hosting a Christmas party, but with liquor flowing and Gatsby-style sequins falling, you’ll need to slow down your roll. Nobody will be upset if you release the Pear Puffs a few minutes later than planned. Rushing in the kitchen rarely leads to anything good, and you are much more likely to break something, cut corners, cut yourselfor spill something.

Stop to clean up spills

If you inevitably spill something while preparing a nice holiday meal, stop, put everything in a safe place and clean up the mess. “I’ll get that in a minute,” might be a minute too late. Friends, family, or children running in and out of the kitchen can make the situation worse, leading to even more confusion or injury. This is definitely a stitch-in-time moment, so give yourself a breather to clean up any spills immediately. Chances are you had to slow down a bit anyway.

Fry large chunks of meat outside

Thanksgiving may be over, but many households still serve the popular bird for Christmas dinner. Whether it’s turkey, chicken, ham or wild boar, if you’re frying a huge piece of meat, do it outside. Key of Home there a thorough breakdown how to safely fry a turkey, and many of these helpful tips apply to any large protein. Since the main hazard is the huge vat of hot, bubbling oil, frying outdoors means it’s a far cry from your combustible home and from distracted houseguests who might be milling around with a glass of wine.

Check your carbon monoxide detector

Carbon monoxide incidents happen every year. They are absolutely terrifying, but also preventable. Anything that burns material produces carbon monoxide, so gas stoves and ovens, among other household appliances, can also be a source. (For more information on carbon monoxide sources, poisoning, and detection, see read here.) Keep heat-generating devices clean and service them if necessary. Get a detector that works for you and test it occasionally to make sure it’s working properly. There are many types of detectors, from battery powered to hardwired, and some smoke alarms include them as well.

Use slow cookers

Instead of keeping mulled wine and cider hot on the stove, use a slow cooker. Sure, stoves have a low setting, but that still means a burner is on and largely unattended. Slow cookers have been expertly crafted to be sure to be left alone, and unlike your stovetop, they have timers and an automatic shut-off. They’re also versatile all year round, allowing you to cook a ton of things in one casserole, from heating glögg to baking carrot cake. Cook food, have fun and keep the kitchen safe my friends.

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