Before You Begin

A Word about Safety

Safety and common sense are the two most important ingredients in any recipe. Before you begin to make the recipes in this book, take a few minutes to master some simple kitchen safety rules.

  • Ask an adult to be your assistant chef. To ensure your safety, some steps in a recipe are best done with the help of an adult, like handling pots of boiling water or hot cooking oils. Good cooking is about teamwork. With an adult assistant to help, you've got the makings of a perfect team.
  • Read the entire recipe before you start to prepare it, and have aclear understanding of how the recipe works. If something is not clear,ask your teammate to explain it.
  • Dress the part of a chef. Wear an apron. Tie back long hair so that it's out of your food and away from open flames. Why not do whata chef does and wear a clean hat to cover your hair!
  • Always start with clean hands and a clean kitchen before you begin any recipe. Leave the kitchen clean when you're done.
  • Pot holders and hot pads are your friends. The hands they save maybe your own. Use them only if they are dry. Using wet holders on a hot pot can cause a serious burn!
  • Keep the handles of the pots and pans turned toward the middle of the stove. That way you won't accidentally hit them and knock overpots of hot food. Always use pot holders to open or move a pan on the stove or in the oven.
  • Remember to turn off the stove and oven when you are finished cooking. Sounds like a simple idea, but it's easy to forget.

Be sharp about knives

  • A simple rule about knife safety is that your hands work as a team. One hand grips the handle and operates the knife while the other guides the food you are cutting. The hand holding the food should never come close to the blade of the knife. Keep the fingertips thathold the food slightly curved and out of the path of the blade, and use your thumb to keep the food steady. Go slowly. There is no reason to chop very fast.
  • Always hold the knife handle with dry hands. If your hands are wet,the knife might slip. Work on a cutting board, never a tabletop or countertop.
  • Never place sharp knives in a sink full of soapy water, where they could be hidden from view. Someone reaching into the water might get hurt.
  • Take good care of your knives. Good chef knives should be washed by hand,never in a dishwasher.

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