Sunday, June 16, 2013

Kitchen Dangers

Happy Fathers Day to everyone out there. My poor baby had to take off and work hard today so I'm left alone to think of him and my own father. If I were to think of those in my life who have affected me and been there for me the most, it is these two men. My father was an amazing example of justice and fairness. He has always been honorable. He works hard every day. He is just and fair to others. I've doubted the love of many in my life but never his. Underneath his hard work and consistent care for me, I knew beyond a doubt I was loved. I was always provided for and every day I saw my dad work hard to earn money... money he rarely spent on himself but generously gave to us. His eyes delighted in us. He never resented our cost to him. He enjoyed our company and we felt truly loved. He was a dear beloved father, one very hard to compare to. I adore him. I adore the way he taught me to work hard... the way he taught me to be consistent and keep being genuine and in the end, it would get noticed. I adore everything about him. I am so happy he was honorable and loving and I miss him dearly every day. I don't know if he'll ever now how much I love him but I do. so much.

My love is a little more carefree. I was attracted to his fun. I suppose I was in a rebellious state of mind. I liked that he was relaxed and less firm. I like that I could let down my guard and feel comfortable around him. I loved his acceptance of all of me. Over time, I suppose I've let down my guard perhaps too much and at times let him see the sloppier sides of me that it may not have been polite to show but in the end, no matter the fight there is a comfort of knowing he'll still be there. We fight, we have disageements.. but lately our new thing is to shout out after a series of shouts, "I still love you!!" It's a lovely ending to any fight. We don't really want to fight and every morning no matter the fight the night before, we are us. We love each other. He has been there through so many times when no one else was. They say hard times show you who really loves you, if so I am definitely with the right man. It's almost humorous the struggles we've had to face together but he has stayed there when 'no one' and I do mean no one else did. It has deepened my love for him in so many ways. There is an amazing beauty to a long lasting love. There is so much more to it than the simple attraction at first. There is the beauty of time with it's many thank yous for the many things that person has done for you. When I think of him, tears well at the many things he's done for me and the many times he's cared for me. 'love covers a multitude of sins' is so true. I can remember the bad times, yes but the loving times cover them all. I do believe that is how love is meant to be. If we were only loved for our good side, it wouldn't be love. It's when someone loves our bad, our good our everything that we know we are loved. The silliest thing in the world would be to leave one who has shown they love you through thick and thin for someone who only knows your good side. Love and cherish the men in your life today. Remember the things they've done for you... the times they've cared for you. Their gentle strength and protection. They are a gift from above. And their actions often show a deep love. Like a puppy that stands by your side consistently are the men who return home night after night. Their consistency is their love. Adore them for it.

Now on to the cooking lessons.

This part of kitchen work is a little more tedious which is why I've saved it for one day a week but when I get to cooking, these lessons are consistenly in my head.. 'did I leave a hot pad too close to a burner',  'ouch, I did it again, the cupboard was wide open' and there is not a spill that I don't immediately wipe up thinking 'I do not want the bugs or tracking through the house that this could create.' so bear with me in these courses. As I said, they are what taught me when I hit that point of realization that I didn't want a sloppy home anymore. That I wanted the loving dear home I saw in so many of the older women's lives that I knew. I would work hard all day and think, it just can't be done. No one can work this hard to do this but then I'd see those older women who had time to not only clean their house but groom, get their hair done, attend bridge parties and keep a house in their 70's so obviously it wasn't a strenuous thing. If someone in her 70's could do it, surely so could I. So what was it? Why did it seem so overwhelming? As I proceeded to do these courses I saw it was because of the way I'd let it build up. It was the thousand little actions that hurt me... the little "I didn't rinse out that dish and the little I didn't pull up that sheet, I didn't wash those two shirts and the little I didn't sweep the porch when it was just a dusting.

Letting the littles build up, causes bigs and bigs are not pretty.... seriously dried on food in dishes or worse dishes that sat and molded or got infested with flies, the porch thoroughly covered and much more difficult to clean, the piles of laundry etc.

Keep up on your littles.  Clean things when they're easy to clean. Clean up during and after each meal... it won't be a big job at all and you'll have much more of the day free for your choosing.
If you've neglected the littles for a while, well, you've got a lot of bigs to get through. The easiest thing to do at such point is just start. Don't sit and analyze. Don't cringe and decide to do it later. Just decide that right here and now for the next hour you are going to. Push your sleeves up and dive in. It won't kill you although it may be gag inducing for a bit. But as soon as you dive in and do it, 1) it will be done with and 2) you will be inspired not to do it again.

Keep up on your littles but for now, get through those bigs. A little at a time and soon the job is done.
When I first started, I had to do a few bigs every day as well as keep up on my littles. Soon the bigs were gone.
Clean up every new mess you make today as you make it, tackle a few lingering messes and soon your house will be lovely.

So back to the kitchen:

Kitchen dangers continued.

In your kitchen are tiny microscopic bacteria that need a warm, moist environment to grow and reproduce.  When they grow in great numbers, your food spoils. If you eat spoiled food you can become ill... sometimes deathly so.

Did you know that when many people think they have the flu, they actually have food poisoning?

It is VITAL that you know how to prevent bacteria from invading and growing on the food you prepare. You do not want to accidentally serve unhealthy food to your family or guests. With the joy of cooking comes great responsibility.

1) Use the refrigerator and freezer. Most harmful bacteria do not thrive in a cold environment. Put food away promptly after a meal. Don't leave it sitting on a countertop for hours.  Lukewarm food is ideal for spoilage.
   ***Although most foods will keep in the refridgerator for up to a week, eat them or dispose of them after that. If you can't use leftover food within a week, dispose of it!!****
I clean my fridge with deep cleaners every Sunday. This is when I freeze any leftovers that will go beyond that date as I'm planning my menu.

2) Thoroughly cook pork and poultry. There are especially  apt to harbor organisms that cause illness. The same is true for eggs.  Cook beef thoroughly too, although it's not as apt to carry disease causing organisms.

3) Be Clean - Cleanliness is important. Change dishcloths and towels frequently. Keep countertops wiped and clean. Wipe up foods as soon as possible. I always keep a bucket of soapy water with a sponge if working in the kitchen at all. One on the floor, one on the counter ready for any spill that will occur. It's a great habbit to get into. Rarely a meal occurs that I don't get spills in both areas and I'm always happy to have my buckets ready for immediate response. :) Wash your cutting board with a mild solution of bleach and water. This will kill microorganisms that may be hiding in the grain of the wood.
4) Store non perishable food in covered containers- I've learned this lesson the hard way. You only have to find bugs in your pasta or flour once to learn that this isn't worth it. Get creative now if short on funds. I save containers from foods I buy that are secure and the right size. Remove their labels, wash them thoroughly and voila a new container. Flies, mice, and ants can all share germs from the last place they visited. Sometimes this is NOT pretty. I work on a farm a bit right now... they seem drawn to cow feces you name it. It's not appealing. Use plastic containers or glass jars for pasta, rice, sugar, salt, dry beans etc. Rice, dry beans and flour can also be stored in the freezer to keep them fresh if they won't be used quickly.

                         *****Most accidents in the kitchen are PREVENTABLE.*****
Frying meat spits hot grease on you. Greasy food bubbles over the edge of a saucepan and catches fire on a burner. A not-too sharp knife slips and leaves a wound across a finger. You need to know what to do when such accidents happen. Here are some important things to remember.

-take a few breaths and stay calm. Take a few seconds to assess the situation.

-learn to use a dry-chemical fire extinguisher- every kitchen should have one in a convenient place. Learn how to activate and use it.

-do NOT try to put out grease fires with water. Water on grease fires splatters the grease causing it to spread...note what happens when you sprinkle water into hot grease... it flares. Try to smother grease fires with a lid or baking sheet first. You can also use salt or baking soda on the base of a fire to smother it. Keep this in a container nearby and easy to grab just for that purpose. Having salt near the stove is useful for cooking anyways. :)

-never thow water on a sparking electrical appliance. This can conduct electricity back to you. Unplug the appliance first. Then you can douse it with water. If it's a major appliance like the stove or refridgerator that catches fire, call the fire dept immediately. Then turn of the electrical breaker for that appliance. Know where the breaker box is so that you are prepared.

-take care of minor burns immediately. Hold them under cold water. This will relieve pain and help to prevent a blister. Keeping an aloe vera plant in the kitchen is also a great idea. A broken leave rubbed on a burn relieves pain and promotes healing. It is very likely you will get many working in a kitchen.
-learn to recognize the difference between minor and serious burns.
              -1st degree- reddeneed area, relieved with cold water, will not blister
              -2nd degree - deeper burn and will blister. only affects smll area of skin, can be treated at
                                     home but may need antibacterial cream and a bandage for a few days.
              -3rd degree - open red sore with charring and peeling of skin. This should receive
                                    medical care to avoid infection.

-keep simple first aid supplies in a convenient place. Several sizes of bandages, a box of gauze pads and surgical tape, a small tube of antibacterial cream, perhaps a topical anesthetic.

Most of the info today came from a home ec book from Christian Light Education. This is one of the many courses I used to learn the skills I  have learned. It is a menonite course but it is a great resourse for learning domestic skills.

I hope this was helpful. Take the time today to set up your kitchen with the above in mind. Be ready and happy homemaking.

Much love,

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