The Careful Cook

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Whenever you cook, there are certain safety rules you must always keep in mind. Even experienced cooks follow these rules when they are in the kitchen.

Always wash your hands before handling food. Thoroughly wash all raw vegetables and fruits to remove dirt, chemicals, and insecticides. Wash uncooked poultry, meats, and fish under cold water.

Use a cutting board when cutting up vegetables and fruits. Don’t cut them up in your hand! And be sure to cut in a direction away from you and your fingers.

Long hair or loose clothing can easily catch fire if brought near the burners of a stove. If you have long hair, tie it back before you start cooking.

Turn all pot handles toward the back of the stove so that you will not catch your sleeves or jewelry on them. This is especially important when younger brothers and sisters are around. They could easily knock off a pot and get burned.

Always use a pot holder to steady hot pots or to take pans out of the oven. Don’t use a wet cloth on a hot pan because the steam it produces could burn you.

Lift the lid of a steaming pot with the opening away from you so that you will not get burned.

If you get burned, hold the burn under cold running water. Do not put grease or butter on it. Cold water helps to take the heat out, but grease or butter will only keep it in.

If grease or cooking oil catches fire, throw baking soda or salt at the bottom of the flame to put it out. (Water will not put out a grease fire.) Call for help, and try to turn all the stove burners to “off.”

Handle fresh chilies with care because they contain oils that can burn your eyes or mouth. After working with chilies, be sure not to touch your face until you have washed your hands thoroughly with soap and water. To be extra cautious, wear rubber gloves while fixing chilies. The way you cut the peppers will affect their hotness. If you take out the seeds, the flavor will be sharp but not fiery. If you leave the seeds in, beware!

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