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Keeping an eye on what you fry and other helpful cooking hints for a fire-safe holiday season

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By LisaMarie Sinatra

I received the monthly newsletter from my gym the other day and they had an interesting statistic that caught my eye. Did you know that around 75% of annual weight gain takes place during the holiday season? That’s a sobering thought!

The article went on to say that eating healthy during the holiday season (usually between Halloween and New Years’ Day) can be challenging, especially when there’s lots of oh, so delicious dishes and cocktails to choose from.

This stat definitely got me thinking. Not just about weight again, of course, though I know we can’t help but think about it, right? No, it actually got me thinking about fire safety. If you can imagine how much food is cooked, baked, sautéed and fried during this time, well, that adds up to a lot of time in our kitchens. It also means we’re probably hosting parties and/or when visiting others, talking to the host while he/she is busy preparing food.

So this holiday season, especially with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I just want to remind everyone to keep safety at the top of your list. The winter holiday season is the peak time for home cooking fires. It’s really easy to get distracted this time of year and lose track of what you’re doing in the kitchen. Think you don’t? Liberty Mutual Insurance did a study in 2013 with over 1,000 people and here’s what they found:

  • Forty-Two percent of surveyed consumers say they have left the kitchen to talk or text on the phone, and 35 percent left the kitchen to use the computer to check email while food is cooking.
  • Nearly half (45 percent) of consumers say they have left the room to watch television or listen to music.
  • A large majority (83 percent) acknowledged that they have engaged in dangerous cooking behaviors such as disabling the smoke alarm and leaving cooking food unattended to perform non-essential activities – including watching television, talking or texting on the phone, checking email or doing laundry.
  • Looking at the general survey population, a startling one in 10 adults has actually left the home completely while cooking, and others left cooking food unattended to perform non-essential activities.

But we can reduce these numbers, right? NFPA has lots of great tips and ideas you can implement right now as you start working on your holiday party menus (my colleague, Susan McKelvey, recently wrote a great blog that outlines these for you). Why not download and review them today before the holidays really kick in? By doing so, you’ll feel great knowing you’re taking a proactive role in reducing your fire risk and keeping yourself and your loved ones safer.

And let’s face it, even if you do gain a pound or two over the next few weeks, give yourself a pass. Spending time with loved ones and enjoying friends and family is what makes the holidays so special. And heck, you still have all winter to take it off. So enjoy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Find more great information about holiday cooking on NFPA’s cooking webpage.

Source:: NFPA – Safety Information


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