The kitchen can be a dangerous place if you do not take precautions. So its extremely important for children to listen to adults when it comes to cooking. No matter the age, these are important rules to keep you, your family and your guests safe. The rules I posted below are there for that reason. I will add a printable so you can print it and hang it on your fridge or within your kitchen as a reminder. In all my cooking classes, i always go over the rules. Safety first. As a parent who is using my website for their own family, its up to you to determine what your child will need help with (cutting, oven etc) every child is different and as a parent I completely understand how nerve wracking it can be.
- Wash hands before and after handling food
Germs spread very easily, you need to do your part in preventing it by washing your hands before starting to cook, during (if you touch meat, seafood etc, and after. Its always a good idea to wash your hands before and after eating too. When i say wash your hands that means wet your hands for 5 seconds, use soap and scrub hands and wrists for 15 seconds then rinse off.
2. Roll up sleeves and wear an apron
You can also also wear a chef’s jacket if you have one. There are kid ones that are on amazon. Its important to keep your body as clean as possible. That means sleeves (if your wearing long sleeves) need to be rolled up so they don’t drop or slide into your food. Apron should be a must. Apron not only keeps your clothes from being ruined or dirty but makes it easier to see how messy you were. Is it okay to get messy? Yes in certain situations but in general with cooking, you want to be as clean and organized as possible.
3. Make sure there is plenty of space and the counter is clean
Not everyone has large kitchens, I get it. We grew up in a tiny NYC kitchen. Counter space is valuable. Mae sure you have enough room to work. Make sure you clean it after you for and keep organized.
4. Wash fruits and vegetables before cutting and cooking (always in cold water)
Yes, washing is a must. Now maybe you’ve recently seen the vinegar wash with fruits and veggies. Thats not necessary to go that far but washing is a must. Bugs, dirt and yes the pesticides will be on your food. to clean it wash in cold water.
5. Always ask an adult to help, especially with knives and stoves
I mentioned this above. Parents if your not comfortable with your child doing specific tasks, please let them know. Until you feel confident enough they are okay on their own, supervise. As for the kids, ask for help when you need it.
6. When using a knife, cut away from you and use a cutting board
Knife safety is a must. As we know knives are dangerous. Always point the knife down and hold to your side as you walk. Use a clean cutting board to cut. keep Meat and veggies on different words and clean them, and the knife in-between uses, even if its the same dish. that will help prevent the spread of salmonella. When cutting, cut away from you and use bear claws (hand position) when you cut to avoid getting cut
7. Pot handles should NOT be sticking out from the stove, always handle with oven mitts
Pot handles should never be in a position where it can be hit walking by. Do not allow it to stick out. If someone walks by, not only can you get hurt but you can start a fire, and you will ruin what your cooking. It really depends on your pots and pans, but its always a good idea to handle pots and pans that are being used with an oven mitt.
8. Do not run around the kitchen and do not climb
This should be closer to the top but running in the kitchen is dangerous as there are knives, hot object and more. Climbing is a big no as as well. Being short, I get the temptation for reaching ingredients out of reach but please use a step stool or ladder, or as for help. We don’t want broken limbs.
9. Wipe up spills immediately
Spills happen, and its okay. Just clean up it up immediately so no one slips and falls.
10. Store food properly
I will go through more Food safety in another article but proper food storage is important to avoid food born illness. The food danger zone is 41F – 135F. If its frozen, keep it at 41 until in use (you can thaw in different ways safely) and if its hot food, it should be at 135. Between that, it needs to be stored. Being in a home kitchen is different than a commercial kitchen but its always a good idea to label food. We use specific containers, you can use tape and a sharpie to mark used by dates so you know when to throw out by if not used.
11. Wash utensils in hot soapy water
Washing dishes is a must. Not everyone and not everything has a dishwasher. Home sinks aren’t properly put in for safety like a commercial kitchen but you will make do. Make sure you watch in hot soapy water.
12. Wear closed toed shoes
I know this one will get broken, being at home, but you really should be wearing closed toed shoes to avoid injury.
These rules are for everyone who wants to cook. No matter what your cooking, you need to be safe.