/ / Common Sense Cooking – Avoiding a Hot Mess

Common Sense Cooking – Avoiding a Hot Mess


Time for some common sense cooking to avoid a Hot Mess in the kitchen! I bring this up not only to remind myself, but to perhaps save some other soul from making mistakes that I have in the kitchen.

I was very fortunate to have a mom who enrolled both myself and my sister in 4H at a very young age. If you are not familiar with 4H, perhaps it is time we reference my friend named Wikipedia in the following definition:

4-H in the United States is a youth organization administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), with the mission of “engaging youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development”. –  take from wikipedia.org

And for overachievers who ask what the 4H‘s stands for, they would be your Head, Heart, Hands and Health. There is an abundance of good reading also over at the 4H website which you can access by clicking HERE.

To sum it all up in a quick shot, I know how to cook, sew, identify plants, present professional demonstrations about agriculture, camp, ride a horse, and basically use the means I have to save a buck or two. Nice, right? One day ask me about the demonstration I did on hermit crabs. My stupid hermit crab named Speedy fell off the table in the middle of the demonstration. Oops.

One particular class I took while in 4H was a cooking class. This was not your average high school cooking class either. We learned things about kitchen safety, food temperature preparation, proper measurements and safe serving guides, all while making one mean tastin’ omelet. One thing that has always stood out in that class was how to position pots and pan safely on the stove to avoid a Hot Mess! I remember being about 12 and having to demonstrate pan safety in front of a class of about 80 people.Talk about having some common sense woven into your very core.

pan positioned incorrectly on the stove

Funny that I scour the web looking for the perfect picture to demonstrate my Hot Mess, and look at what I find. Two pans just asking to be knocked off the stove on to some poor innocent cook or in my case dog, taking chances that something will drop. This picture, folks is the wrong way to prevent a Hot Mess in the kitchen! Can someone please do me a favor and turn those handles around so they are facing the counters to the left or right ? You would be preventing a Hot Mess and helping me out of this OCD fit I seem to be knee-deep in at the moment.

They way it was positioned to me was that you want to turn the handles away from the front of the stove to prevent little hands from reaching them. My kitchen has a gate for both the kids and the dogs, but often both seem to be offenders and enter my kitchen without permission. I have to be on guard 24/7 around this place to keep them in check.

Here are some other quick tips that I will hand down from my kitchen to yours.:

  • Turn your pot handles towards the counters to avoid someone bumping them or little hands reaching them on the stove.

  • Always use a pot holder to touch pot and pan handles to avoid burns.

  • Step away from the oven when first opening the oven door. I don’t think this is the type of steam facial you are looking for.

  • Set a wooden spoon over a pot of boiling water to keep it from boiling over.

  • Water and grease don’t like each other very well. Best to pat those potatoes with a paper towel before putting them in the fryer.

  • Olive oil has a lower heating point than canola oil. This one I will have to elaborate on later. Basically, less heat when using Olive Oil folks.

So there you have it.  A quick tip on turning your pot handles to the sides of your stove and perhaps a few more helpful tips for those who want to avoid a Hot Mess in the kitchen.

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  1. Thanks so much for these pointers even for the seasoned cooks they are necessary. There is such great value to 4H and Home Ec. Classes. They present the way behind the what.

  2. This is awesome. And I also carry your OCD gene for the handles. I am always scared my son will grab them so I point them away towards the back of the stove. I also only use my back burners for the same reason. I love that you are able to look back and reflect on your time in 4H. I didn’t know the wooden spoon trick, will definitely try that next time. Thank you!

  3. These are great tips! I enjoy cooking and cook most nights for my family. I have to admit I’m guilty of boiling water pouring over due to multi tasking. I will now use the wooden spoon method. 🙂

  4. Awesome tips I always do the handle thing, can’t stand it otherwise, I also like to forget to not look in the oven right away. It feels like all the water in your eyes boils ha ha

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