Thanksgiving. It’s the single, annual meal dedicated to gathering beloved friends and family together to celebrate the blessings that life has given us. A cascading overflow of perfectly prepared food takes over the table where an array of bright and smiling faces surrounds the display in good cheer.
If you have the honor of being this year’s chef, you may receive the brunt of the blow, and sometimes that means putting out the fire on the burning biscuits in the oven. Let’s not forget the joys each blessed moment brings. These chaotic moments can be the stories of laughter to look back on years later. Nonetheless, it’s still a good idea to take some precaution in order to keep the cook safe and the danger down to a minimum.
When it comes to keeping your Thanksgiving injury free, there are some definite rules to adhere to, and luckily we have got the best “do’s and don’ts” to keep your holiday from going up in flames:
1. Check All Your Appliances Prior to Cooking
Before the beastly battle of boiling and baking begins, it is essential to make sure you have every speck and spice needed for the extended turkey trek. Yes, you’ve made sure your pantry is stocked to the gills with every crumb necessary but have you checked your kitchen appliances to do their abled function?
It will be rather difficult to cook a 12lb bird in an oven that only halfway heats, or sauté the veggies on a stove that flares up, so be sure to check everything prior to the big day. It will save you the headache of having to fix the broiler while mashing the potatoes, and it will be safer in general to make sure everything is functioning properly.
2. Create a Food Itinerary
It is important to make a game plan when it comes to tackling every side dish and spread, so list everything you wish to accomplish for the meal and make a Dinnertime Itinerary.
By making a schedule, you can physically see when to start cooking and when things should be done by in order to hopefully reduce your stress. Not to mention, you can figure out a cooking hierarchy to keep the hot items hot and the cold items cold.
You may also discover some cheats, where you can cut corners, and what items could be made the night before.
3. Wear Appropriate Clothing
Dress for the occasion, and wear clothes appropriate for the marathon of Thanksgiving cooking. Leave all hazardous shoes in the closet: that means heels, sandals, and anything “dressy”. Stick to the non-slip; there will be times where some hustle and bustle is needed, so avoid the potential slips with sturdy sneakers and rubber soled shoes.
On the other end of the spectrum, avoid anything extensively loose; arms and other body parts may be leaned over open flames and sloppy messes, so for safety’s sake, avoid large necklaces, scarves, ruffled collars, and belled sleeves.
Finally, tie up long and loose hair. Not only will it keep your gorgeous “do” slop and fire restricted, but keep food follicle free.
4. Keep the Kitchen an Anti-Shenanigan Zone
Prepping a Thanksgiving meal is as big of a test as the SATs or Bar Exam, especially when the in-laws are visiting, so absolute concentration is essential in order to execute the perfect suppertime score. Therefore, restrict your kitchen space and label it as an anti-shenanigan zone.
Less people and clutter, means the easier it will be to stay organized. Not to mention, cooking involves several hazards such as open flames, hot pans, and sharp knives, so by limiting movement, you can keep track of every situation, and person, in order to make cooking as safe as possible.
Give small children an activity to preoccupy themselves in order to keep them out of your hair and away from the kitchen. Send them outside to play sports, set up a craft table in the living room, or plug in a movie to keep their curious tummies away for the time being. Gate up the kitchen, as well, so small pets, like cats and dogs, can’t wander in unknowingly and be stepped on accidentally.
5. Check All Expiration Dates
This rule is not just for the chef, but also for the entire safety of those who plan to fill themselves with gravy and cream corn. Check expiration dates. It’s something often missed, but can be dangerous and even deadly if simply glanced over.
Yes, the food you have been stocking up over the entire month of November can spoil before Thanksgiving, so double check to make sure every item is fresh and flavorful from the smallest green bean to the entire Tom Turkey. Ensuring all food items are at their best quality will guarantee the tastiest of meals and the general wellbeing of your guests’ digestive tracks.
6. Ask for Some Help
You are a brave soul for taking on this monumental meal. As much as you want to be Super-Chef and save the holiday with your single-handed culinary skills, it’s also a let down when things don’t go as planned and end up in flames.
Therefore, ask for help.
There are many invited friends and family that are perfectly able and willing to help prepare the meal with you. It’s entirely possible to still be the “man in charge” and have a team of colleagues. Assign a small crew of trusted company minor tasks that will clear up the clutter and chaos on your plate. Everyone will be less stressed and bond over the mealtime memories being made!
7. Don’t Overcrowd the Kitchen
This rule applies to both people and food. Having too many dinner guests in the kitchen eliminates room for movement. Suddenly, you can’t properly open the oven because someone is standing in the way and another person burns his or her elbow on the stove after being bumped in that direction. To say the least, and to reiterate what was said above, make your kitchen a sanctuary and limit the amount of people. The more movement the better.
Also, don’t overcrowd the kitchen with excess dishes and food. Clean as you go and put plates, pans, and pots away as they are not being used.
Take out only what items will be needed for the immediate dish at hand to keep eggs from breaking the potatoes from rolling off the counter. There is a lot happening in the Thanksgiving kitchen, so decrease the chaos by staying organized and reducing the clutter.
8. Never Leave Things Unattended
It is unlikely that you will need to babysit your stuffing or your boiling potatoes, but never walk away from an open flame or plugged-in appliance for very long.
Though you don’t need to keep a watchful eye, being present and aware of what is occurring in your kitchen can save you from literal flames. You never know when a pot may boil over or when a stove lighter may spark, so please remain within earshot and eyeshot of the kitchen at all times when dishes are being prepared. If anything was to go wrong, you could immediately know and take action because you remained close by.
Also, don’t leave messes unattended as well; with the hustle and bustle of rampant cooking, you will spill and make small messes. Don’t worry; it’s common.
However, don’t leave it be either. Spills on the floor are a huge potential slipping hazard and any grease or grime in the edge of plates reduce grip and could cause them to leave your hand unexpectedly to break on the ground. Do yourself a favor and clean up as you go; it will save you having to do more housework in the end, but it may also save you a couple of bruises and headaches as well.
There’s no surefire way to guarantee your Thanksgiving will go by without a single flaw, but by simply keeping the clutter down, and keeping your spirits up, your chances of a fabulous holiday success are drastically improved.
No matter what happens, be thankful for all that you have been blessed with, even if that means embarrassing the flames that engulf your turkey dinner. It’s a blessing just to be able to turn around and laugh it off. The worst meal can be made magnificent with a good attitude, fun and safe company, and perhaps some last minute Chinese takeout.
If you have any further questions or comments on keeping your Thanksgiving meal injury free, please let us know at New Life Appliance Repair, and if you are in need of a pre-cooking kitchen tune up, give us a call at (949) 536-8581. We have all the necessary tools and knowledge to ensure all your appliances, from the oven to the blender, are running smoothly.
1 Photo Source: 20th Century Fox
2 Photo Source: FOX
3 Photo Source: Nickelodeon