Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I’m sure everyone is already busy getting ready to visit with family or already in the kitchen beginning prep for today’s meal. I hope your travels are safe and your day full of joy. Since today is a particularly big cooking and baking day I thought I’d share a few cooking safety tips to keep this holiday happy and accident free. Today’s tips are courtesy of the USFA Cooking Fire Safety Webpage.
Watch What You Heat
- The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- 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.
- 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.
Keep Things That Can Catch Fire and Heat Sources Apart
- Keep anything that can catch fire – potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels, or curtains – away from your stovetop.
- Keep the stovetop, burners, and oven clean.
- Keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.
- Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire if it comes into contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
If Your Clothes Catch Fire
If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll. Stop immediately, drop to the ground, and cover face with hands. Roll over and over or back and forth to put out the fire. Immediately cool the burn with cool water for 3 to 5 minutes and then seek emergency medical care.
Prevent Scalds and Burns
- To prevent spills due to overturn of appliances containing hot food or liquids, use the back burner when possible and/or turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge. All appliance cords need to be kept coiled and away from counter edges.
- Use oven mitts or potholders when moving hot food from ovens, microwave ovens, or stovetops. Never use wet oven mitts or potholders as they can cause scald burns.
- Replace old or worn oven mitts.
- Young children are at high risk of being burned by hot food and liquids. Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove.
- Keep young children at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from any place where hot food or drink is being prepared or carried. Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges.
- When young children are present, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible.
- Never hold a child while cooking, drinking, or carrying hot foods or liquids.
- Teach children that hot things burn.
- When children are old enough, teach them to cook safely. Supervise them closely.
- Treat a burn right away, putting it in cool water. Cool the burn for 3 to 5 minutes. If the burn is bigger than your fist or if you have any questions about how to treat it, seek medical attention right away.
How and When to Fight Cooking Fires
- When in doubt, just get out. When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- If you do try to fight the fire, be sure others are already getting out and you have a clear path to the exit.
- Always keep an oven mitt and a lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan (make sure you are wearing the oven mitt). Turn off the burner. Do not move the pan. To keep the fire from restarting, leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool.
- In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing.
- If you have a fire in your microwave oven, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is completely out. Unplug the appliance if you can safely reach the outlet.
- After a fire, both ovens and microwaves should be checked and/or serviced before being used again.
Safe and Happy Thanksgiving to All!
Posted in Safety Tip of the Week
Tagged Burns, Cooking, Fire, Fire Prevention, R.A. Vaughn, Rayna Vause, safety, Scalds, Stoves, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving safety
This weekend I got to have another cool adventure. No there wasn’t a really awesome toilet with a remote control and heated seat, but an awesome time was had without it. This weekend I got together at the beach for writers retreat with friends. It was nice to get away, enjoy the beautiful weather, and focus on our manuscripts.
With all of the responsibilities and distractions of day to day life it’s nice to have some time to recharge the creative batteries with other writers. Conferences are a terrific way to do this, but conferences can be exhausting. However, this weekend Kiersten Krum, Caridad Pineiro, Nisha Sharma gave each other a creative boost in a relaxing environment. It was a lovely change of pace. Who else could you lounge around having conversations about demons eating entrails and ways to increase the gore factor without getting looked at as though you were insane? We also had some great brainstorming sessions It’s fun playing what if with other creative people and seeing what kind of story ideas come up. I know I got some nice feedback which helped me plug some holes in my plot for the third story in my series. I appreciated getting the prospective of people who weren’t as familiar with my stories they can come up with something better then you’d come up with alone or that wouldn’t have even occurred to you. In between writing sessions we took breaks to walk along the boardwalk, to get dinner at a wonderful Cuban restaurant in Asbury Park, and stop for dessert.
It was a wonderful weekend with great friends. We critiqued, we laughed, we got all manner of writing /writing related projects accomplished. Thanks for a lovely weekend, ladies! I had a great time.
It seems as though there is always something trying to suck the creativity out of you. Stress with work or family, the responsibilities of day to day living, in my case school all seems to build up and make finding the motivation and inspiration to write difficult. There is always something that tugs at you, pulling you away from your writing or simply draining the creative well dry. Still, if we want to get anything finished we have to find a way to push on, recharge, and unblock the clogged creative channels so that the stories start flowing again.
One of the things I do is go to conferences. RWA’s National Conference is always very inspirational and gives my creativity stores a huge boost. Although I will say the strength of that recharge was seriously challenged this year. I came home to discover I had tests due in both of the classes that I’m currently taking. This amounted to four tests in the course of one week since each class requires the completion of a pretest and the actual exam. Unfortunately, school work had to take precedence over writing productivity. Once I got through that I jumped back in and actually started making progress.
Another creative boost for me is brainstorming with friends. I love playing the what if game and seeing where it will take me. On a smaller scale a hot shower seems to be another way to help clear the cobwebs and help me focus in on the scene I want to write. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the solution to a plot issue come to me while I’m in the shower. Seriously, I need some sort of waterproof notepad so I can jot down these ideas when they come to me.
What about you? How do you keep those creative batteries charged?
I don’t know about you, but for me the beginning of a new book is the hardest part to write. When inspiration strikes it’s usually in the form of a vague story idea and the story climax. I’m very much a plotter. If I don’t hammer out a rough outline I’m just going to keep spinning my wheels. I’m finding the more detailed my outline the better. Still, no matter how much pre-planning I do before I start writing, I still struggle with the beginning of the story every time. I’m not sure what it is, but I inevitably rewrite the opening of my book multiple times before I’m satisfied enough with the opening to move on to the rest of the story. For example, with my latest WIP I actually rewrote the opening to change the point of view character as well as where the story starts chronologically. In this case, I also needed to rewrite one of the characters. I wasn’t happy with how he was developing and needed a stronger character as I moved ahead.
I know they say to just keep writing, you can always go back and edit later. If it were at any other point in the book I’d usually do that, but not at the beginning. I think, for me, I need to feel like I have a solid foundation to build on. If I don’t have all the story threads I plan to follow in the beginning of the book it’s a distraction that I’ll ultimately get tangled up in. It will nag at me until I go back and fix it. Call me crazy, but that’s just how I operate. Once I’m past the story opening the story seems to fall in place a bit easier. Perhaps it’s because now I’m more comfortable with my characters and where I’m going. Maybe it’s that I find my rhythm and I’m better able to go with the flow.
So tell me, do you have trouble getting over that beginning bump? Do you need your story opening just right before you move on? Is there another area of the creative process that you struggle your way through?
Last month I went on a cruise to then Mexican Riviera. I had a terrific time. The boat was beautiful, the seas calm and blue, and there was no snow in sight. We made two stops in Cabo San Lucas and one in Puerta Vallarta. While in Puerta Vallarta, I had the opportunity to go zip lining. SO MUCH FUN!! Here’s a picture of me on my adventure (gotta love the helmet look).
We slid from platform to platform among the tree tops, repelled down to the group, climbed back up and did it again. We ended the adventure with a tarzan swing.
On my way back to the boat, I got to think what a fun setting zip lines in the jungle would make for an action scene. Racing through the jungle, having to slide from line to line to escape your pursuers, the risk of falling to your death very possible. Or perhaps you have to zip across a long rope that crosses over a raging river. The scenario’s are endless.
My challenge to you is to come up with an exciting and unusual setting for an action scene. Get creative maybe we can inspire each other.
Before I sign off, I want to congratulate Jenn Nixon. She’s the lucky winner of a copy of The Demon He Knows.
Finally, since people seemed to enjoy the last critique we’re going to offer another. Same rules apply as last time.
- Send your unpublished fight/action scene (500 words or less) in the body of an email to email@example.com include “Action Critique” in the subject heading.
- Please include your name (or pseudonym) as well as the genre of your work. However, if you wish your scene to be posted anonymously let us know. We’re happy to keep your name confidential.
- We will pick ONE entry for critique.
Please be aware the critiques offered by the authors of Attacking the Page are personal opinions and neither guarantee publication, nor are responsible for any rejections you may receive. As with any critique you receive, take what works for you and dump the rest.
We encourage you to spread the word to your writing buddies, friends and even your enemies. Good Luck!
Now that we’re done with general announcements let’s get back to thinking up those fun settings.