Thanksgiving 101: How Not to Burn Down Your House While Cooking

Categories: Best Practices
Only you can prevent apocalyptic Thanksgiving fires.
Editor's Note: The author writes this from a pre-Thanksgiving pecan pie coma in the office.

I'm not dissing anyone, the disgustingly cloying pie I just ate was store-bought -- by me -- as will be all my other additions to my Thanksgiving potluck come Thursday. My domestic skills are weak, to put it bluntly, though I am rather skilled at disguising Trader Joe's yams in Tupperware to make it appear homemade. (A 2009 Thanksgiving coup! It's all about the homey container.)  

Yet, someone has to do the cooking come Thursday, and for the home chefs among us who will be bravely turning their kitchen into a buffet assembly line for the holiday, the Fire Department has issued some tips on how to keep from burning your house down while cooking. 

It's worth noting that the Fire Department thinks we are a bunch of lushes, because many of the department-issued bullet points hint that we need to (try to) hold it together while boozing around the turkey. In other words, cooking a bird while drugged up Valium or drunk off whiskey isn't the best idea.

  • Stay alert! To prevent cooking fires, you have to be alert. You won't be if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you're cooking.
To remind us we're cooking? How many pre-dinner whiskeys do you think we've had? 

But if the Thanksgiving roast does go up in flames, there's still time to act without burning down your entire building. If it's on the stove, you're supposed to put a lid over it and turn off the burner. If it's in the oven, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. If it's in the microwave, just hit the "off" button and keep the door closed.

Basically, isolate that bird. 

Yet if all these emergency methods fail, and the fire is getting bigger, our local firefighters have this sound advice: "When in doubt, just get out!"

It even rhymes, which makes it easy to remember after all those whiskey drinks.

So in summary: Don't forget who is cooking the bird; if the turkey does go up in flames, get the hell out of your building, call 911, and then resort to Plan B -- s'mores.

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