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How To Stay Safe In The Kitchen

Dick Stein
Don't try this at home.

This encore Food for Thought originally aired  August 31, 2016

Wrong-way handles and high-altitude deep fat drops are just a few of the kitchen safety topicsNancy "Band-aids are a girl's best friend" Lesonand I took up on this week's Food for Thought.  All that and more -- plus a genius method for threading meat onto kebab skewers.

All praise to J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of for coming up with thisgreat new method for getting meat onto kebab skewers: Cut an onion or potato in half and place flat side down.  Put your meat chunk on top and shove the skewer down through it.  Pull it out, slide meat back on the skewer and repeat.  Safer, easier and way faster. 

By the way, forget about that "soak wooden skewers for 20 minutes before using" stuff.  I once soaked some for 24 hours and they still got all charred and crumbly.  Now I have a set of flat stainless skewers.  They're fireproof and their flat shape is much better at holding the kebabs in place.

The Deep Fat Follies

Don't drop stuff into deep fat from a high altitude.  Sure, it's understandable that you don't want to take a chance on French frying your fingers.  It's actually safer to gently slide the fry fodder into the fat from just above the surface.  That way nothing splashes up.

While we were on the subject, Nancy ratted out her son Nate's attempt to cool down a hot vat of fat by pouring water into it.  She said it looked like something blew up in the kitchen.  Which, in a way, it did. You know the old saw about oil and water?  It's even more true about hot oil and water.

More Kitchen Safety Dos and Don'ts

Keep pot handles over, not sticking out from the stove.

Never try to catch a falling knife.

Always wear shoes.

Always wear clothes.

And, Because It's The Right Thing To Do...

Before dropping that chicken into the boiling oil, always offer it a chance to recant its heresy.

"Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety." William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.