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Public Service Announcement: Kitchen Essentials

  • e

* A fire extinguisher

* Aloe, ice, or a bag of frozen peas

* Band-aids, neosporin, gauze, and surgical tape.

The kitchen is not a safe place. It has fire. Scalding oil. Boiling water. Sharp knives. With respect to equipment, you need to be able to safely hold your pots and pans. No wobbling. They can't be too heavy for you.

With respect to the third bullet, well...When you slice your hand you don't want to be running upstairs into the linen closet looking for these things, while bleeding all over the carpet.

I've had a hard day. Sigh.

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  1. I hear that! I had one of those days yesterday. No fire extinguisher,but luckily A box of kosher salt worked for me. I'm going to purchase an extinguisher this weekend.

    2 Replies
    1. re: petek

      I hope your reference to a box of kosher salt doesn't refer to bullet point #3!

      1. re: nofunlatte

        Lol! No nofunlatte I used the Kosher salt to douse the flames not to heal a burn or cut.

    2. Car safety. People always talk about the difference between safety measures during a car crash (e.g.: selt belt and air bag) versus safety abilities to prevent a car crash (e.g. acceleration and deceleration abilities).

      In light of this, I will also list:

      Avoid kitchen TV

      Avoid unnecessary multi-tasks outside of the kitchen (e.g. try to pan fry a steak while cleaning the bath tub).

      Maintain sufficiently sharp knives (they do not have to be excessively sharp, but they should never skate on foods)

      Practice good knife skills (about half of the people I know incorrectly grip a kitchen knife or incorrectly hold the foods)

      Remove tripping hazards (if you have kicked your kitchen mats more than a few times, it is time to remove it)

      Maintain a sufficiently large counterspace to work

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Since watching knife skills drilled in on "Worst Chefs", I've been much more conscious of where my hands and fingers are while I'm cutting things.

      2. E_M, I feel for you! I've been nursing a particularly grisly finger incident for four weeks. Which prompts me to opine that another kitchen essential would be a "NO COMEDIANS ALLOWED" sign to warn funny-guy spouses off practicing their wit when I'm chopping things. At least I know that knife was indeed sharp.

        Seriously, I think the kitchen is *the* place for the first aid supplies. I maintain a stock in the bathroom, but the kitchen is where the serious supplies are (I have a vast boutique of bandaging options in my always-stocked first aid kit, for good reason). Add in finger cots to your first aid supplies. They'll save you in the kitchen. At least they do me. Well, after the fact, I guess. But still.

        I whole heartedly echo Chemicalkinetics' statement about tripping hazards. I have once and for all banished all rugs in my work area. It's just not worth it.

        Heal up! Today's got to be better!

        5 Replies
        1. re: cayjohan

          Need to include pets as tripping hazards. My 2 retrievers are such food hounds (pun intended) that they are constantly underfoot. I have tripped over them more times than I care to remember. Fortunately, the cat is smarter and chooses to watch from her safe perch on the barstool.

          1. re: baseballfan

            You have a smarter cat than mine! My three ribbon around my ankles constantly while I'm cooking. They are indeed a tripping hazard. To that end, we have a spray-bottle filled with water and labelled "Cat-Smartener." It gets deployed when there are cooking events that would work better without a trio of beggars. Necessary measures, at times - although I am enchanted by my kitchen 'helpers.' Most days, I'll admit, I just do a peculiar foot-slide to nudge the offending cat out of harm's (his/her or mine) way and go on with it, but with certain cooking, it's better to simply distress the cats and get them outta there, isn't it?

            My dearly departed greyhound was a larger potential kitchen hazard, but had a desperate fear of slick floors. If there wasn't a rug, he wouldn't go there, wherever-there-was. Related, somewhat, to my decision to banish kitchen work area rugs.

            1. re: cayjohan

              I've threatened to use the squirt bottle on the men I've lived with to stop them from feeding cats human food!

              1. re: tracylee

                I've used the squirt bottle on the men I've lived with. <g> For the same reason I've used them on my cats!. <vbg>

              2. re: cayjohan

                I too do the pet slide around the kitchen most of the time. Sometimes I just can't take it though and have to banish the offending dogs to the yard. It's usually when I am doing large scale baking or cooking for a dinner party or holiday.

                I think the cat dislikes being trampled by the much larger dogs hence her perch on the stool.

          2. Can I banish individuals who insist on leaving cabinet doors and drawers open? If I never have another bruise on my hip or scrape on my forehead I will die a happy woman.

            5 Replies
            1. re: aggiecat

              Yes, do let's invent a cabinet door that swings shut of its own accord. My kitchen is skinny, and if I had a nickel for every time I bonked my head on an open cabinet door, I could afford a wider kitchen. Or a full-time cabinet-closer-person.

              1. re: small h

                Now THATs a job that would give me satisfaction. I can DO that job!

                1. re: aggiecat

                  Come on over, by all means. Because it's glaringly obvious that I do not have the skills required.

              2. re: aggiecat

                Or people who decide they need something from the freezer while *you* are rooting around in the crisper? Yesterday was the second time the boyfriend got me with that trick. The first time, I stood up and nailed the back of my head on the freezer door. Yesterday, a box of pop of popsicles slid out and caught my ear.

                1. re: onceadaylily

                  The best thing about moving to the house we're in now is the French door fridge with bottom freezer. I don't think that's hyperbole. Before that, I had a head-injury rate that would concern the NFL.

              3. How right you are!! I like to think of myself as very good with knives--I can sharpen with a steel or honing stone, I can use them correctly and quickly and I never cut myself...
                Until that day my dad came home from the VA. We were all so tired, he'd had a big stroke and then had a quad bypass right afterwords. He was going to be fine and was allowed to do his own cooking--they actually helped him re-learn how to manage cooking and the kitchen.

                I bought him one of those gloves for use while chopping and he wouldn't wear it. We were kind of nervous I mean, how do you let go and supervise at the same time?

                I was helping out as he said I could chop the onions. Mind you, right before his stroke I had gifted him with brand new very sharp knives. Oy!!

                Well, I sliced deeply into my finger and blood was everywhere and I'm glad I didn't lose part of my digit! I laugh now at the thought of my dad saying "that just isn't something you'd do, you're not clumsy with knives at all." Well, I was that day!

                A bunch of gauze in the kitchen would have been great.

                Years later, he deeply sliced into his hand and now he wears the glove AND they have gauze in the kitchen!

                We have a fire extinguisher in our kitchen, band aids, gauze, hydrogen peroxide and even a tube of triple antibiotic goop right in the kitchen. What can I say? I like to be well prepared, just in case.

                1. Thank you
                  I had earlier today toyed with the idea of buying a big rug for my kitchen to make the floor softer. I would have tripped on it, guaranteed. Thanks for making me think.

                  A readily available, never used heavy duty pot holder that's fire resistant would be a necessity I'd add, if I could find one.

                  1. Superglue (to seal wounds)

                    Tobacco leaves (to stop bleeding)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      And just when I was thinking I didn't have any first aid supplies in the kitchen, it turns out I got it covered.

                    2. :) When I see this I feel grateful that Mr. Huntress is in occupational health and safety and I'm a registered nurse. We're pretty covered in our house.

                      That being said I still set fire to the kitchen every so often, so we do have a fire blanket. Ice is non-negotiable at all times in our house and I have a basket full of nursing supplies, so we're pretty covered.

                      1. E_M, great post. I'll add one that's saved my rear countless times - plenty of MSM (or DMSO) cream. If you can get that stuff on a burn immediately, it really mitigates how bad the burn ends up. Great stuff.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Vetter

                          I just heard something today about plunging your burned finger or hand into a cold bag of flour, and leaving it there for about 10 minutes. Supposedly, you will have no evidence of a burn after that. Has anyone ever heard of this before?

                          1. re: roxlet

                            I don't see how the flour would do any good. It would only hold the heat of the burn to your hand rather than cool the burned area as ice water does.


                        2. Dustpan and brush with easy access and teach dogs to get out of the kitchen as soon as there is broken glass!

                          1. I wouldn't think of entering my kitchen without wearing my hard hat and safety shoes.

                            1. Oh glad to see this: I've always thought I was a dolt for needing first aid supplies in the kitchen cabinet! Sadly, must admit I have no knife skills (other than cutting my fingers, with plenty of scars to prove it). Have gotten a tad better over the years, but that just means slightly smaller band aids.

                              1. Don't drink and dish.

                                I was handwashing wine glasses after a night of Thanksgiving prep work and a bottle (or more) of wine.

                                I was chattering away to Mr. CB, holding the base in one hand as I pushed the dish rag into the bowl with the other, snapping the stem, sending it right through my palm.......

                                I looked like a CSI extra walking into the emergency room.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: cleobeach

                                  The DH almost severed a finger by having a broken bottle slip out of his hand while attempting to put it in the recycling.

                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                    Been there, done that and had the 10 stitches to prove it. Ouch!

                                  2. You not only need a fire extinguisher but you should learn how it operates before you have to use it. I learned this the hard way when I had smelled smoke coming out of my oven broiler drawer. I opened it up to investigate and flames shot three feet high. I grabbed the extinguisher but couldn't figure which thing to push or pull to get it to work. It turned out my landlord had invested in the cheapest extinguisher you can get and it operated with a cheap plastic pull ring that had become brittle with age.

                                    I replaced it with something better.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: taos

                                      Nice to know! I'm going to go read the label now...

                                      1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                        Contact your local fire department, they often have hands on demonstrations and classes complete with practice fires in controlled settings (usually a metal wastebasket). It really makes a difference since you know what the extinguisher will feel like and even though it's totally practice you will still a quite a jolt of adrenaline. So it's good to see what that feels like, try shooting out the fire and have a sense of what will happen in the real world. However, don't try to do this on your own or you might end up with a real fire in the backyard or driveway etc. Which really messes up your day.

                                        Oh and make sure that extinguisher has a guage that shows if it's still up to pressure or not, they don't last forever.

                                        1. re: aggiecat

                                          Thanks, I'm planning on doing the class. We live in a fire zone and this years fires have been nine times the 15 year average...or some big number.

                                          I'm in the process of implementing a fire/emergency protocol for us and all our friends since we all live up in the mountains. Between us all we are eight adults, three kids, six dogs and two cats. So, I really think we should get our acts together. I've even ordered the stickers alerting firemen as to what pets are in the house.

                                          Not really the same as a kitchen fire, but this got me to thinking...

                                          Hmmm, I didn't see a gauge! Time to call the landlords...


                                          1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                            Or they may have an expiration date if they don't have a guage thingy. Yep, call the landlord. Living in a college town, there's at least one apartment fire a year and usually more. So check the fire extinguisher and the smoke detectors. At least one fire is someone leaving something on the stove forgetting it and...surprise kitchen flambe'. Which isn't funny since down in Houston there was that horrible day care provider who went off and left a pot of hot oil on the stove which caused a fire that killed 4 poor children. But that's a whole 'nother issue.

                                    2. I'd add a large box of baking soda to douse stovetop or broiler pan fires. You only have a single shot that lasts about one to two seconds with most kitchen model extinguishers, and you will have to throw the food out. If the fire is contained in the pan, baking soda works well and you may be able to save the food. The kitchen extinguishers are not as easy to use as they look. I have fond memories of the shrimp scampi causing my DH and daughter to scream when it ignited in the oven under the broiler. The extinguisher gives you distance for bigger flames, but baking soda may work fine for most things.

                                      Also, keep a pot cover handy -- always.