There comes a time in our lives, when almost all of us want to make, create, invent some form of art and cooking is one such avenue. At a tender age we create dripping chocolate lumps in the name of brownies, squished veggies for salad and geographical patterns in the name of bread/roti. This milestone should not only be welcomed but also appreciated and encouraged. Because this probably is the only time before adolescence that children want to go and work in the kitchen on their own.
Though many might not want kids in the kitchen at all to avoid distraction and accidents, it is still a good idea that you and your children understand the importance of kitchen safety and safe cooking.
- Permission: Get permission to use the kitchen before starting any thing.
- Supervise: Never let your child cook alone.
- Wash: Wash hands properly, before starting cooking and also during cooking to prevent cross contamination.
- Tie: Tie back hair, long sleeves and other loose objects to prevent from falling into food or catching fire.
- Explain: Take the time to explain how each product works, as it’s needed for each recipe and how to handle kitchen products properly. Don’t assume your children will know
- Cover: Wear an apron to help protect clothes and add extra padding in case of spilt hot liquid etc.
- Fire: Understand fire safety. Explain how to put out a grease fire, and when to call help.
- Don’t run in the kitchen.
- Use oven mitts. Never use a towel to move hot pans because the loose parts of the towel can fall onto a hot burner and catch on fire.
- Use dry pot holders to move or touch hot pots or pans. Wet or damp pot holders transfer heat and can burn hands.
- Secure: Point pan handles away from edge of stove to prevent them catching and tipping or spilling.
- Hold knives by their handles only, even when carrying them.
- Never leave any cooking unattended.
- Never eat raw meats or poultry. Raw poultry can lead to food poisoning (i.e. salmonella)
- Clean up spills. Serious injuries occur when others slip and fall because of wet floors or foreign objects. Leaving a clean kitchen when you are done means you are more likely to be allowed back into the kitchen.
- Wash surfaces where raw meats and poultry touched to prevent cross contamination and keep raw food separate from cooked food.
- Always check that all burners and oven (or any other appliances used) are turned off before leaving the kitchen.
- Metal and microwaves don’t mix. Any object that contains metal or aluminum should not be placed into a microwave.
I remember being a kid how fond I was of cooking and being in the kitchen, and I also remember all the burns, cuts and scars that were evidence of my presence in that corner of creativity. Children need to start off doing what they love in the kitchen and then graduate into cooking and other things. All they need is a teaspoon of encouragement, a dash of direction, an ounce of care, a pint of supervision and a heart full of love-Voila!
The author blogs at www.amberhasan.com & tweets @ambershasan