Cooking and the Holidays


The holiday season is here and cooking is a major activity most families take part in. While cooking and sharing food with family and friends is fun and joyful, there are many risks that can turn a meal into a terrible experience.


To reduce the risk of injury while cooking and hosting a gathering, follow these tips:

  • Do not leave any cooking food unattended! Always have someone present and watching food while it cooks.

  • Keep floors clear to avoid slipping/tripping. Clean up spills immediately.

  • Do not allow electrical cords to dangle over or across the kitchen counter.

  • Clear any items that can burn away from the stove or other open flames.

  • Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.

  • Turn pots and pan handles away from the edge of the counter. If possible, point handles to the back of the stove.

  • Use a timer (or multiple timers) to keep track of cooking times.

  • Monitor meats with a meat thermometer to make sure meats are cooked to the proper temperature.

  • Test smoke detectors and make sure they work properly.

  • Keep an ABC fire extinguisher, pan lid, or cookie sheet nearby to respond to small kitchen fires.

Deep fried turkeys are a common dish served during the holidays but not regularly cooked during the rest of the year. Doing something that is not part of a routine can increase risk for accidents. When deep frying turkey, follow these tips:

  • Deep fry turkeys outdoors. Keep the deep fryer out of garages and away from decks, trees, and other structures.

  • Choose a turkey that fits the size of your fryer. Turkey must be thawed and dry before cooking.

  • Do not operate the deep fryer in the rain or snow.

  • Place the deep fryer on a level surface. When using a propane-powered fryer, leave at least 2 feet distance between the burner and the propane tank.

  • Turn the burner off before lowering the turkey into the pot. Turn the burner on after the entire turkey is in the pot.

  • Monitor the oil temperature when cooking. Do not leave the fryer unattended.

  • Keep an ABC fire extinguisher nearby in case of a fire. Do not use water to put out a grease fire.

  • When finished cooking, put the lid on the pot and place the pot on a level surface to let it cool overnight.

  • Do not dump used oil down the drain! Dispose of the used oil in accordance to your local waste disposal regulations.

COVID-19 presents additional health risks for family gatherings during the holidays. Unfortunately, the best way to prevent disease spread is to not invite people outside your household for holiday celebrations. However, there are ways to reduce disease transmission risk:

  • Establish a bubble, as discussed in a previous blog post.

  • Hold gathering outdoors and limit the number of households you invite.

  • Wear a mask whenever possible and maintain physical distancing with others during the gathering.

  • Limit the duration of the gathering.

  • Ensure guests have access to hand washing supplies and/or hand sanitizer.

  • Follow all restrictions implement by your local/state public health department.