Holidays in a Safe Kitchen: 7 Tips for Cooking with Kids

By Ebony Porter, November 21, 2016, Family

The holidays are a colorful and dynamic time of the year in the kitchen, with preparations for meals, holiday treats, and the creation of gifts for friends and loved ones.

Holidays in a Safe Kitchen: 7 Tips for Cooking with Kids | Bounce Energy Blog

Adorable photo, but I’m glad I’m not the one cleaning up all that flour.

It is also reported that, on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, more kitchen fires break out than any other day of the year. It’s no doubt that the combination of multiple dishes on the stove top, food in the over, and numerous chefs in the kitchen can cause the sort of chaos that leads to a disastrous fire.

If you’re planning to have your child help you with the holiday, and we hope she will be, then keep in mind these 7 tips (as well as these 10 for everyday cooking) for creating a safe kitchen that will enhance this fun season of cooking.

1) No Loose Clothing

A holiday kitchen is a bustling room, and with so much going on, it’s important that everyone dresses accordingly. Avoid loose clothing and long flowing sleeves. It’s easy to catch loose-fitting clothing on fire or dip it into the cake batter!

2) Break Out the Apron

Holidays in a Safe Kitchen: 7 Tips for Cooking with Kids | Bounce Energy Blog

Let’s be honest – this scene is made even cuter because she’s wearing that apron.

This isn’t so much a safety issue as it is your child not getting grease and cake batter on her nice holiday clothes (which can be a source of consternation for parents). So before you start on your dishes, don that apron and pull back long hair.

3) Keep the Pot Holders Handy

Holidays in a Safe Kitchen: 7 Tips for Cooking with Kids | Bounce Energy Blog

You’d think this tip would be obvious and understood, but in my experience, even adults need this regular reminder.

Keep the rigorous reminders going to have pot holders handy at all times, especially when your child handles a dish associated with the stove top, oven, and even the microwave.

4. Avoid Turkey Fryers

There are too many safety hazards involved with frying a turkey that we don’t recommend them at all. Copious amounts of boiling oil are involved, and the process is a big fire and safety hazard. Roast your bird rather than fry it.

5. Caution with Puddings

Holidays in a Safe Kitchen: 7 Tips for Cooking with Kids | Bounce Energy Blog

Never made a British-style pudding? Try this one from Mary Berry of The Great British Bake Off!

In some cultures, such as my Australian one, a Christmas Pudding part of traditional holiday cooking. This is a dense cake made by placing the dough into the center of a wetted and floured piece of cotton muslin, and when drawn up from each corner, a long piece of cooking string is wrapped around the neck. It is then boiled for hours at a time. You want to leave a loop of string at the top of the pudding, and attach a wooden dowel rod to make it easy to lower the pudding and bring it up once it’s cooked.

As you can see, the entire process of making a Christmas pudding can be fraught with safety considerations. Hence, young children should not be involved in the lowering of the pudding into the boiling water, and for older kids, guide them as they lower the pudding in, making sure the water doesn’t overflow at the top once it begins to boil again. When the boil time is up, help them bring the pudding out of the water with the rod and find a safe place with a strong hook to hang it while it dries.

6. Stay in the Kitchen

While food is cooking, encourage your young chef to stay in the kitchen to watch the progress of her foods. Most fires happen when people are not watching the cooking. It’s important especially to keep an eye on boiling pots of water, ensuring they don’t overflow and spark fire.

7. Caution with Candy

Holidays in a Safe Kitchen: 7 Tips for Cooking with Kids | Bounce Energy Blog

We’re big proponents of involving your child in your cooking, but there are certain dishes and processes that require grownup-only attention.

Making candy often involves using heat at near boiling or boiling temperatures. Pouring fudge, chocolate molds, caramels, and toffees all mean handling hot gooey substances. It’s recommended that, if your young child joins you in the kitchen, only involve her in the preparation of these items, and leave the mold pouring to the grownups. With older children, stay and supervise, and as always, wear an apron and use oven mitts.

These tips are designed to help you create a safe kitchen to you enjoy a lovely holiday season. And if you’re lucky, these teaching moments will pay off down the road. Just imagine the future holiday meals at your kid’s house when YOU show up to be waited on!

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