Treat kitchen like workshop

In retirement, many men find the time, at last, to develop their cooking talents. But for some, the kitchen remains foreign territory. That can pose difficulties for widowers who must manage a kitchen on their own. Eating well is the cornerstone for good health for seniors. So what’s a fellow to do? There’s a limit to take-out food and invitations to dinner.

If you think of the kitchen as your workshop, you’ll have no problem in keeping it safe and orderly. Whether it’s a hammer or a potato masher, the rule is the same. Keep each tool is in its place, so that you can find it easily when you need it.

Here are some other easy tips for organizing yourself in the kitchen:
When cooking or using the microwave:

  • Keep curtains, towels and potholders away from the cooking range.
  • Never leave food cooking unattended on the stove.
  • Turn pot handles away from the front of the stove.
  • Don’t wear baggy clothes when working around a gas stove.
    · Always keep the stove burners clean.
  • Vent gas stoves to the outside of the house.
  • When cooking or warming food in the microwave, don’t overcook it. This might result in a fire.
  • Baware of foods that will explode in a microwave. So prick a whole potato or an egg yolk with a fork. For food in containers, leave the top ajar or a vent space in the plastic wrap.

When using knives:

  • Use a good sharp knife that does not require you to apply too much pressure.
  • Choose a large knife whenever possible. It makes you aware of the danger.
  • Don’t try to grab a knife when it falls accidentally. Instead, step backwards quickly and then pick it off the floor.

Electrical fires:

  • Be aware that modern coffee makers, blenders and toasters carry enough electricity to start a fire.
  • Frequent overloads, the smell of burning plastic and flickering lights are all signs of inadequate wiring. Have an electrician check the situation promptly.
  • Keep motors on refrigerators and other appliances clean to avoid overheating.

Housekeeping and storage:

  • Use the lower cupboards and shelves for heavy pots and pans.
  • Don’t store food above the stove where your grandchildren may try to climb for it.
  • Reach high places with a step stool of utility ladder.
  • Wipe up food and drink spills immediately. It will be easier to maintain the kitchen in a clean and orderly state.

Gitta Levi is author of the Ask Gitta column for and an associate broker with Century 21.