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Blog Archive: November 2015

On Thanksgiving, Calories Are Not The Biggest Problem

Posted Nov. 23, 2015

For many years, diet-conscious people have tossed around this commonly known “fact:” consuming 3,500 calories more than you burn will cause you to gain one pound of body weight. It may or may not be true. Metabolisms vary, and numbers like that are difficult to measure and harder to prove. But here’s a number that is absolutely true: roughly half of all the home fires in Minnesota start in the kitchen. That’s a number to think about during the holidays.

Here are more good numbers: 99 percent of Minnesota fire departments report their fire calls to the State Fire Marshal Division, where the data is crunched and reproduced in a report called “Fire in Minnesota.” On page 14 of this year’s edition, there’s a pie chart that clearly illustrates why Turkey Day is a potential concern. Heating, open flames, arson, electrical malfunctions and all the other fire causes — the ones that come to mind when you think about house fires — are tiny slices of the pie. Cooking is huge.  
​Photo: Stay in the kitchen and watch the stove this Thanksgiving to prevent a fire in your home.
Most cooking fires can be attributed to one behavior: someone didn’t watch a hot stove. Maybe they left the room to greet some guests. Rearranged the refrigerator. Went to set up folding chairs. Couldn’t find the tablecloth.

Eventually, the errant cook smells something wrong. They return to the stove to find a cooking vessel on fire — and often, instead of putting a lid on the pan to smother the fire, they do something unwise.

Unwise responses to a cooking fire include (1) picking up the pan to move it and (2) using water in any fashion. Water on hot oil will cause a sort of explosion of flames that can light the room (and the cook) on fire. Put a lid on the pan and turn the heat off. No oxygen, no heat, no fire. In an oven, close the oven door and turn the heat off. Again — no oxygen, no heat, no fire.

Better yet, avoid cooking fires altogether by reviewing and following these rules:

Stay in the kitchen. Watch the stove. Stay in the kitchen. Watch the stove.

On the State Fire Marshal Division website there is a slightly longer list of tips you can print and hang on your refrigerator. On holidays there may be more than one cook in the kitchen, so it’s good to keep everyone reminded. If you review and discuss the list, safe behavior will become habitual and you won’t need to worry about roasting more than your turkey.

Then, with your home and family safe, you can think about your waistline.