It happens, okay?
Alright people, I’m going to jump right into it and admit that I am far from being perfect in the kitchen. Especially once the holiday season is upon us, it seems like every home and kitchen task is performed with just a little bit more eagerness (and consequently, haste) than usual, which amounts to one thing and one thing only—more mistakes. Because I want you and your kitchen to make it out of the final months of the year unscathed, here are a few reminders (some very obvious, but still worth noting) to help you avoid these common mistakes
Things That Come Out of the Oven are HOT
You probably read this, rolled your eyes, and said, “duh.” But, let me ask you this—have you ever burnt yourself on a hot pan coming out of the oven? Who’s rolling their eyes now?! But in all seriousness, whether you’re sending your cast-iron skillet under the broiler for a couple minutes or you’ve got a sheet tray full of cookies coming out hot, remember that these vessels were in a scorching hot oven. Use a mitt (not a wet towel…), take it out of the oven, and place it somewhere where your hands won’t run into it in a tragic, burn-inducing collision, okay?
However, because these things happen, if you do end up searing your precious skin, immerse the affected area in cool water for 15-20 minutes in order to dissipate heat. Do not apply ice to the wound, as this will slow blood flow, and could cause further damage to the tissues. Clean the area with soap and water, and cover with gauze or a bandage.
Things That Come Out of the Oven Should be Placed on a Trivet
After you’ve looked out for your body parts when it comes to fiery pots and pans exiting the oven, it’s time to look after your kitchen surfaces. Let’s keep in mind that any hot casserole dish, Dutch oven, or skillet should not come in direct contact with your countertops (granite and stainless steel will be okay, though) or kitchen table. Use a trivet or a folded towel to avoid searing and/or burning your nice things. Remember, we want your kitchen to look just as good as it does now come January 1st.
If you have a momentary lapse, forget the trivet, and burn your precious dining table, you can remove heat marks by scrubbing toothpaste and baking soda across the stains. Depending on your table’s finish, this may or may not work. If you’re unsuccessful, you might need to sand the surface and spray the area with a fresh layer of lacquer or polyurethane.
Watch Now: 5 Common Knife Mistakes
Things that Are In the Oven Require a Timer
It’s the most w̶o̶n̶d̶e̶r̶f̶u̶l̶ hectic time of the year. If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve probably got multiple dishes going at once, so it’s definitely in your best interest to keep track of them all with a timer, no matter how long or short the cook time is. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get sidetracked with all of the other chaos that’s happening around the house, so get in the habit of setting a timer every time you close the oven door or cover a pot to simmer. In a similar vein, when you’re done with the oven, you should probably turn it off.
When Things are in the Microwave, You Should Keep an Eye on Them
Despite the convenience and ease that a microwave can provide in your day-to-day cooking life, they can also be a huge pain in the a** if you’re not attentive. If you’re going to use this appliance to cook squashes, gourds, or root vegetables, make sure to prick the food several times so you don’t return to the scene of a literal explosion. Also, if you’re softening butter in the microwave (because what they don’t tell you about baking is that the hardest part is remembering to set out butter hours in advance), do it in 10 second increments. Do not, I repeat, do not set the microwave and then come back minutes later. Or if you do, come back with plenty of paper towels and kitchen wipes to clean off the splashes of butter throughout the entire inside of your microwave. And while we’re here, it’s never a bad time to reiterate that metal is always a no-no. Keep the foil faaaaaar away, got it?
Your Kitchen Table is Not an Ironing Board
Alright, so this is a reminder that we’ll call “food adjacent,” but it’s absolutely crucial when it comes to caring for your kitchen furniture. You can’t keep a tablecloth on that table forever, so let’s make sure that the bare surface itself is as well cared for as possible. That means that even if you’re rushing to get out the door and need to iron something at the last minute, your convenient kitchen table is not the solution to avoiding the trouble of pulling out the iron board. It takes an extra 30 seconds, and you need not spend your future time and money on removing those unattractive white water stains that are now sprinkled across your table. If taking out the ironing board is a task that constantly weighs on you (I understand), perhaps investing in an ironing blanket that you use on a variety of surfaces is a wise decision. If you do find yourself as the proud new owner of some unwanted heat marks, you can lay a clean white towel over the stains, and gently iron them.
There are a Lot of Sharp Surfaces in the Kitchen
From knives, vegetables peelers, to mandolines, there’s plenty of new and exciting ways that you can injure yourself in the kitchen (trust me, I’ve tried them all). No matter how rushed you may feel, speeding through chopping, dicing, and slicing is never a good idea. Take a deep breath, smell the holly, and slow down. If you’re prone to these silly mishaps, a protective glove or a stylish pack of Bandaids are both great things to have lying around. In the case that you do cut yourself (it happens to the best of us), stop working over your food immediately—human blood is never a welcome ingredient in your cooking. Apply paper towels and pressure to stop the bleeding, however if that doesn’t work, apply Woundseal Powder or consult a doctor if you believe the injury to be serious.