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Safe kitchen, happy holidays

One ingredient that ties most family gatherings together is food, and with all of the prep, hustle and bustle in the kitchen this season, there are a few ways to keep your preparations safe and the holidays happy.


The kitchen, though a workplace, can often become the center of social activity. When cooking, limit the traffic of children, pets and non-cooking guests to prevent burns and tripping. Avoid accidental burns by turning handles away from the edge of the stove so they aren’t bumped, and never cook barefoot.

Make sure that countertop appliances such as slow cookers are set far enough from the edge of the counter so that little hands can’t pull them down. Never walk away from things cooking on the stovetop, and set timers to remind you to check what you have cooking in the oven. Make sure you have a working smoke detector outside the kitchen, and a small fire extinguisher within reach.


There are food safety considerations both before and after a meal is prepared. Make sure that all meat, casseroles and leftovers are cooked to proper internal temperatures, which vary from about 145 degrees for seafood and steak, to 165 degrees for most everything else. When in doubt, check a reputable source like

After a meal, refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible to reduce the internal temperature quickly. Food that is left out too long can harbor harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses. Food poisoning is never part of a happy holiday.


In a family or social setting, it can be difficult to make dishes that everyone likes. But it should be a priority to make sure the dishes are safe. Be mindful of food allergies that your guests might have, and let everyone know if something contains nuts, dairy or shellfish, which are common allergens.

The holidays are a special time, but we can all agree they can also be stressful. Taking the time to safeguard special holiday meals, from kitchen to freezer and back again, can take some of the pressure off and make for a very enjoyable time with family and friends.


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