S&N Tips and Safety Guidelines for the Family Kitchen
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- Never leave a child unattended in the kitchen.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm soapy water at the start of each kitchen session, and after touching raw meat or eggs. Sing “happy birthday” to pass the time.
- Wear close-toed shoes at all times – knives, pans, or cans hurt when they fall on little toes.
- Always wash produce prior to using – even organic ingredients.
- Avoid cross contamination – it’s important to use separate cutting boards and utensils when preparing raw meats and veggies. For example, be sure to use a different spoon to mix eggs and toss the salad. Rule of thumb: “new food, new spoon.”
- Taste as you go, letting your Future foodie develop his/her palate.
Knife & Utensil Safety
- With so many sharp gadgets in the kitchen, supervise your Future foodie especially close when he’s chopping, peeling, grating, etc.
- Make sure to use the proper utensil: plastic picnic knives, butter knives, and serrated dinner knives work well for young Future foodie. Kids’ craft scissors are also a good tool to cut ingredients like herbs, deli meats, cheeses, and veggies.
- It’s extremely important to teach your Future foodie proper knife techniques from the beginning. We like to use a technique called “spider fingers.” For right-handed chefs, have them hold the knife softly in their right hand. To make “spider fingers,” have them tuck the fingertips of their left hand around the food they’re holding. This protects their fingertips and allows the knuckles to be the guide. Don’t let their fingers become a “squid” (flat fingers and palm) as they could accidentally cut themselves.
- Have your Future foodie move the knife gently back and forth in a rocking motion as s/he chops the ingredient. Don’t try to chop fast or hard. The knife should do the work!
- Keep fingers and teeth away from knife blades, zesters, graters and peelers: they are sharp! Never allow your Future foodie to wash a knife or sharp utensil.
- Tips: When peeling, be sure to watch the placement of the hand holding the food. Especially your thumb! Always have your Future foodie peel away from his/her body, too. Finally, don’t grate the whole ingredient (block of cheese, carrot) – have your Future foodie leave the end for you.
- Tips: to reduce the mess, whisk and stir carefully with your wrist, not your whole arm.
- Always assume the oven and hob are hot, and make that very clear to your young Future foodie with frequent reminders.
- When opening the oven, say “hot oven opening” so everyone around you knows to be careful.
- Keep your “elbows up” when stirring at the hob to prevent ”lazy wrist” burns.
- Turn pot and pan handles to the back of the hob so you don’t bump into them when walking by.
- Be careful of hot oil that could splatter and burn you.