I recently came across the book The Power of Peak State at the National Publicity Summit in NY by a trauma surgeon by the name of Akram Alashari, MD. He discusses the concept of obstacles keeping you from your peak performance and I asked him about this is regards to cooking. He had a lot to say about his surgeon experience in the kitchen and he was kind enough to share some of the accidents he has seen and strategies on how to prevent them.
The list he provides below makes me think of the distracted chef who is not only challenged by cooking but also putting their life in danger by not putting their focus into what they are doing.
A Trauma Surgeon’s Guide to Safe Cooking
Cooking is such a great and necessary endeavor, however, with such great power comes great responsibility.
Cooking can in fact be a very dangerous undertaking and there are simple techniques that can be utilized in order to mitigate this risk.
As a trauma surgeon, I have seen myriad severe injuries due to mistakes made inside kitchens and outside on the grill.
This includes everything from oil spills to flash burns to finger amputations. This also includes lethal toxic ingestions. These incidents are largely preventable.
How to decrease your risk:
Avoid distractions while cooking, this includes texting, phone calls, young children and pets, and tv/internet
Wear appropriate clothing, including an apron
Wear specific gloves for slicing
Clean spills on the floor to prevent slips and falls
Discard open cans. The edges can be sharp and cut hands and fingers
Turn pot handles inwards and prevent young children and pets to enter while cooking
Lock kitchen cabinets from young children and keep hazardous chemicals out of reach to avoid toxic ingestion
Check expiration dates for all food items
Don’t microwave styrofoam or aluminum foil
These simple but effective ideas can literally mean the difference between life and death. I do not want to see you on my operating table!