Posted by: Rachael | June 9, 2008

kitchen safety

A little accident last week made me realise I’ve lost track of *who knows what* in the kitchen.
K10‘s recent interest in all some things domestic (mainly pertaining to the stomach) has seen him spending many more hours cooking and baking than he ever has in the past. This is a good thing, but it occurred to me that because he hasn’t engaged in hanging-round-the-kitchen like most of the other children, there are a number of things he has not absorbed by osmosis. Before I chided myself for not forcing him to watch when he was not interested, I reminded myself that our goal was for him to WANT to do these things and so I’m not beating myself up at all. Now he wants to, so now he is ready to learn.

The first lesson will hopefully stick with him as long as the scar that will remain on his arm. When you lift the lid off a pot of boiling water, you keep the part just under your arm firmly attached to the pot so that the steam escapes away from you. If you don’t, it scalds your arm and you watch in horror as layers of skin peel back before your eyes.

Lesson two. I don’t know. I’m trying to think of dangerous things in the kitchen.
Knives. Yes, I stopped K9 from drying a big sharp knife last week with the sharp side of the blade pressing against her fingers. Better teach/remind everyone else too.
And while we’re doing Knives 101 it wouldn’t hurt to do a review of *do not hold a potato below where you position the knife* and *walk with the knife pointing downwards* and *don’t lick the knife* might even be in order.

Lesson 3
The grain mill.
Turn it on before you put grain in it. Don’t put anything else in it. Only use eight cups or it plugs up.
That’s an easy one.

Lesson 4
Don’t touch anything hot with your bare hands.
And remember wet tea towels do not make good oven mitts.
(CONFESSION: Mama taught them that lesson most spectacularly as she dropped the entire casserole one evening in the not-so-distant past. They also learnt just how far one dish can splatter. And that you should clean up immediately, even if the scooped-up-off-the-floor-remains-of-dinner go cold.)

Lesson 5
Not too much to say about electric cords. Everyone has had a healthy respect for those things ever since the day I was thrown backwards across the kitchen when plugging in the rice cooker. Noone will ever forget the involuntary gutteral moan which roared out from the depths of my being.

Lesson 6
Don’t stick anything in the toaster other than bread.

Lesson 7
Use the grater carefully. Carefully, you hear? We want cheese or carrot, not shaved knuckle.

Lesson 8
Don’t stick a bamboo chopstick in the gas flame on the stove. You’d think it would go without saying, but no. This was one lesson I had to teach explicitly to a seven-year-old earlier this year. When the great-great-grandchildren are reading this, they will want to know *who was seven then?*….so I’ll leave you a hint…..he was a boy and he has two older brothers (and sisters)….and yes, he really did do that. Was he supposed to be in the kitchen? No, not on that occasion. Was he supposed to be lighting the stove? No, not on any occasion without supervision. Was he ever allowed to burn chopsticks inside? To be fair, noone had ever asked and so it had never been forbidden, but it would have fallen into the broad category of “if you’ve never done this before and you’re not sure if you’d be allowed, you really should ask before trying it”. Did he do it anyway? You bet he did.

Lesson 9
Close cupboard doors and drawers so that noone walks into them.

Lesson 10
I think I’ll ask everyone to think of their own special piece of safety advice to share with everyone else. What’s yours? 



  1. Carefully lower raw donuts into a pot of hot oil. My youngest learned this the hard way during Chanukah a couple of years ago. If you drop the dough in hot oil splashes & HURTS.

  2. Kathy, there’s one thing we’ve never made at home. But if we ever do, we’ll be sure to remember your lesson!

  3. Hehehe, you make me laugh Rach! I think i have done most of those things myself, recently!!! (ok, maybe not most, but defintly some of them!!!!)
    My advice is don’t drop ANYTHING into a hot pot of boiling ANYTHING! Including pasta, rice, potatoes…. do i need to go on? Oh, and don’t lick a spoon that has been in something hot cos a burnt tongue HURTS!!!!!!

  4. LOVE that lesson 8 – great story

    My advice? Make sure the cat is out of the kitchen when you start cooking, so that you don’t trip over him when carrying knife / pan full of hot water / box of eggs / kettle etc etc


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