Staying safe in the kitchen is imperative–especially when your greatest enemy is yourself. I have had my share of blunders from spilling out pasta water on my feet to nearly cutting off my finger while mincing shallots. I still cringe whenever a recipe calls for them.
Avoiding accidents involves anticipating what could happen and then planning a strategy against it. A few simple tips can help you play it safe so you can eat your dinner in peace.
Turn foods away from you. This first tip helps me save clothes, more than anything else. Whenever you are sauteing meat in a skillet, always flip them so they are going away from you and toward the back of the skillet. Any flying grease will go behind it and not on you or your clothes. Ease the food down gently as you do this to avoid kicking up any more fat than necessary.
Turning finger under when cutting. When slicing and dicing, always turn your fingers under to move foods forward. The tips of your fingers are an easy target for a chef’s knife that slips. Your knuckles can push the side of the blade away, protecting your fingers. This is a classic chef tip. Watch your favorite chef doing food prep on TV. Experience is the best teacher; anyone who has done food prep will tell you this simple fact.
Cut foods in half to stabilize them. This is the first thing you should do when dicing anything food that is round, whether it is an onion, shallot or squash. Don’t set yourself up for a slip of the knife. With onions, I also will remove the outermost layer, which tends to be slicker.
Use a towel to keep bigger foods in place while cutting. I’ve been cooking a lot of winter squash these days, thanks to an influx of recipes online. Many varieties are larger, making cutting them unwieldly. They also have a thicker skin, making the task even more difficult. To prevent something unfortunate from happening, place the food on a towel. The thicker skin may keep you from holding it as steady as you might like. The towel will do this for you.
The last thing anyone wants is an impromptu trip the emergency room. A little extra caution in the kitchen will go a long way toward keeping your meal on time.