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Thanksgiving and Hanukkah coincide this year and cooks all over Vermont are wracking their brains about the menu. Will it be brisket or turkey? Latkes or mashed potatoes? Will you serve rugelach or pumpkin pie? Family-centered holidays can pose plenty of challenges to our etiquette and sense of humor, add menu conflicts and the green bean casserole might just hit the fan.

Whatever menu you choose will involve some kind of oil or fat and extreme heat – a combination that makes Vermont firefighters quiver in their boots. Let’s take a look at some menu mainstays from each tradition:

Part of the magic of Hanukkah is the oil itself: according to the Talmud, there was only enough sacred oil for one day’s lighting of the menorah and yet the flames burned for eight days! This is why the holiday is celebrated with fried foods such as latkes. Ever drop batter into sizzling oil? Be careful! Thanksgiving on the other hand is less about the oil and more about the drippings. The popularity of turkey fryers just increases the potential for trouble.

Keep your family safe during these delicious holidays with the following recommendations from the U.S. Fire Administration:

  • Pay attention to what you’re cooking! Even if you are tempted  to mingle with guests or check on the football scores, stay at your post! Most cooking fires are the result of negligence. For that reason, never leave your cooking unattended. If you must sneak out of the kitchen even for a second, designate someone to keep an eye on things for you.
  • Keep any food packaging away from burners or heat sources. Wrappers have the potential to catch fire and spread to other areas of the kitchen and home.
  • If you’re using cooking oil, heat it up slowly and keep a close eye on it – cooking oil has the potential to ignite quickly.
  • Even though you’ll want to dress comfortably, don’t wear baggy clothing or shirts with loose sleeves around the stove or oven! Loose clothes and sleeves are susceptible to catching fire and more prone to catch on the handles of pots and pans!
  • Grease fires are always possible on a food-related holiday, so keep a lid nearby in case you need to smother one in the kitchen.
  • The simplest thing to keep in mind regarding fire safety is also the most overlooked: smoke detectors. Smoke detectors should be tested monthly to ensure they’re functioning properly. They should be placed on all levels of the home, especially outside of sleeping areas.

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah have not occurred together on the same date since 1888 and they wont meet again until 2070. The happy union of these two great food-centered occasions makes for some wonderful culinary possibilities. Let’s make sure none of them catches fire!

PuroClean Vermont wishes you and yours a happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful Hanukkah!

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