With Thanksgiving less than a month away, you should start thinking about the steps you can take to have a safe and enjoyable holiday no matter where you are- Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana. Any time you host friends and family members in your home, you are exposing yourself to some potential personal liability, and remember that the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving celebration is the food, which can come with its own serious safety issues. By taking the necessary steps to prevent illness and injury, you can ensure that your guests enjoy their holiday and that you don’t end up with a lawsuit filed against you.
No Thanksgiving celebration is complete without a properly prepared turkey. In recent years, it has become very popular to serve deep fried turkeys instead of the traditional roasted turkeys. However, when you consider how large of a fryer is required to cook an entire bird, it can be a rather daunting proposition. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a section of their website devoted to the dangers of deep frying your turkey. The high temperature and tremendous amount of oil used in the process presents a very serious risk to anyone involved in the process. Not only is the danger of injury present, but the the fryer and oil also present a fire hazard that can damage your home. A deep fried turkey can potentially cause both a liability and property damage claim on your home insurance policy. The NFPA recommends avoiding the practice completely, even for well-informed consumers.
Aside from being a fire hazard, the Thanksgiving turkey can possibly be a source of foodborne illness for you and your guests. Many hosts who are not regular cooks will take on the task of preparing a large holiday feast. However, the defrosting and cooking of a large bird presents many potential opportunities for food illness. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides good holiday food safety information on its website. If you serve improperly prepared food that sickens your guests, you may face a serious personal liability claim. It’s also important to keep in mind that food illness doesn’t always arise from the preparation of the holiday meal. In many cases, the leftovers cause illness after sitting out too long after the meal is over. Take the necessary precautions and you can avoid anyone becoming ill as a result of your cooking!
One more thing you can do to reduce the chances of injury to yourself or your guests is to reduce traffic in your kitchen. During the preparation of your meal, you may be stressed or even a bit frenzied as mealtime approaches. The greatest source of danger will be your kitchen, so it’s a good idea to reduce as many hazards as possible. Unless someone is invited into your kitchen to assist you with meal preparation, establish a rule that everyone stays out. This is especially important with children in the house, as they can easily be injured from hot pots and pans on the stove. Take your time to plan out the meal preparation with a schedule for the day. The more you can do to avoid a rush during the day, the less opportunity you have for an injury.
Ultimately, remember to breathe, and step back from everything. It’s a holiday and the most important thing is enjoying the company of your friends and family, so don’t rush things like cooking. After all, everyone will understand if the meal is a few minutes late.