I love cooking and I love the feeling of chopping food up by hand. However, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind when doing any chopping or cutting in the kitchen. Here are some tips to remember:
- Always use a clean cutting board. This is especially important when cutting raw meats and foods that will not be cooked after, such as veggies for a salad. It is ideal to have 3 separate cutting boards, preferably color coded, that you always use for their intended food. For example, a red board that is always used for meat, a green board that is always used for fruits and veggies, and a blue board that is always used for other foods like cheese and breads. The reason for the separate cutting boards is to prevent cross contamination of your foods. Also, do not cut cooked foods on a cutting board that you had cut raw foods on earlier. Be sure to properly wash and sterilize the boards between uses.
- Keep your knife sharp. This allows you to not only work faster and more efficiently, but it is actually a safety reason as well. A dull knife does not cut as well and is more likely to slip while cutting, putting your fingers at risk.
- If you drop your knife, DO NOT try to catch it. It is safest to jump back away from the falling knife.
- Never put a knife into a sink full of soapy water or dishes. It is can cause nicks in the blade, cause the blade to rust, and puts you at risk for cuts when you reach in to grab something else out of the sink.
- Wear non-slip shoes in the kitchen when cooking. This not only keeps you from slipping, it helps to protect your piggies if you do happen to drop a knife on them.
- Keep knives well away from the edge of your counters and cutting boards. This makes them less likely to fall and more difficult for wandering children to grab.
Using food choppers and food processors are another way to limit the dangers of knives, though they are not always practical. Even so, they also need to be handled with care when using. Always be sure the cover is on the food processor before starting it (many will not start anyway if the cover is not locked in place) and take special care when removing and washing the blades.
A great meal can turn bad quickly when the cook gets hurt or the guests get sick. Take these extra steps to ensure that your efforts are not undermined by something preventable.