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Thanksgiving: A time of danger too!

November 18, 2011|By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • Deep-fried turkeys may be delicious, but do it wrong and you could start a fire, as warnings this time of year regularly remind us.
Deep-fried turkeys may be delicious, but do it wrong and you could start… (Iris Schneider / Los Angeles…)

Yep, Thanksgiving is hazardous, if alerts that regularly come our way this time of year are anything to go by. With titles like "First, a Thanksgiving feast. Then to the emergency room" and "New Report Finds BPA in Thanksgiving Canned Foods," they remind us to remain vigilant during this happy holiday time. 

There can be blood-pressure-raising fights over politics and religion or resurrection of other old family tensions at the Thanksgiving table!

We're going to consume 3,000 calories at the meal and we're all fat already!

If we  play soccer to work off a few of those calories, we're gonna damage our Achilles' heels -- that or drop to the floor with a heart attack because we're not used to that kind of physical exertion.  

A diet-water beverage company reminds us that "drinking water is key for your health all year round, but it is especially important during this stressful season." (It is?) "Instead of reaching for a sugary drink to refuel, grab an enriched water, such as [product name]," it helpfully offers. How about a glass of tap water, for that matter.

The most graphic warnings this time of year involve the preparation of deep-fried turkeys. Watch the iconic William Shatner ("Dammit Bill, that's too much oil!") tell us how NOT to deep-fry turkeys on this State Farm video.

As it reminds us:

Don't overfill the pot (remember what Archimedes learned about water-displacement by objects);

Turn off the flame when you're lowering the turkey into the oil;

Make sure you've defrosted the turkey well (the ice will turn to steam when it's heated by the oil and just generally splatter oil everywhere, into the awaiting flames);

Keep a fire extinguisher that can handle a grease fire close at hand.

Interestingly, it is possible to cook a frozen turkey safely (don't deep-fry it!) according to this information at the website of the Mayo Clinic.

And here are safe turkey-cooking tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among them, don't defrost your turkey at a temperature that food-poisoning-causing bacteria like to grow at, like room temperature.  

The warnings about risks of falling off ladders while stringing festive lights and reminders that holly and mistletoe berries are not to be eaten will probably be showing up soon. And please don't imagine Hanukkah is safe either: I once exploded deep-fried latkes all over my parents' kitchen ceiling. (Has anyone found a safety video for that?)

More health news and tidbits to be found at the Booster Shots blog 

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