This holiday season, many families and friends will gather to spend time together, take a break from their hectic schedules to celebrate the relationships that make life so rich. In this time we will collectively cook millions of meals, light millions of candles, deep fry a few thousand turkeys, and maybe even erect a large, slowly dying tree in our living rooms.
Each of these events is a time for celebration and unity.
And each one is also a chance for a holiday disaster that could be expensive and deadly. Take these precautions this holiday season to keep your family safe.
Using the oven
Whether it’s a turkey, your aunt’s green bean casserole; grandma’s sweet potatoes, or the kids’ effort at baking cookies, your oven will be in heavy use this holiday season. You can make sure it stays hazard free by doing a little maintenance in advance, and following these rules.
First, clean it more than a week before the holiday gathering using the built in feature or commercial cleaning products. Follow the directions completely to remove food remains or other potential threats. Then use it at least once before the big day to clear off any unwanted odor.
Second, use a timer for everything that goes into the oven. These reminders will help make sure food doesn’t burn if you get caught up in family goodness.
Third, work to keep oven mitts and other flammable items off the stove top. It’s easy to forget that the electric surface stays hot, or that flames on a nearby burner can catch something on fire even from a short distance. No surprises this holiday season – move them away from the oven!
Deep frying a turkey
If you haven’t seen the videos, you have missed a terrifying spectacle. The turkey hits the deep fryer and oil seems to explode out of the pan, catches fire, and quickly engulfs the garage or kitchen or porch roof.
The careful measuring of turkey and oil does not account for the fact that the moisture in the turkey, when exposed to boiling oil, immediately evaporates and expands. This action takes a great deal of space, more than some pans can handle.
When deep frying a turkey, do the work with a big enough pan to allow liquid to rapidly boil and escape without oil slipping over the rim and into the fire. But also, just in case, do this work away from a structure.
Keep the fire department off your guest list this year!