Cooking IS fun!! This may not seem like the case if you have been used to the delicious dishes that you have been used to whilst living at home. Now you are perhaps, living on your own for the first time and are responsible for making your own meals and really don’t know where to start, below is a few useful tips to get you going in the kitchen:

  • Never cook in loose clothes and keep long hair tied back. You don’t want anything accidentally catching fire (not to mention hair ending up in the food!).
  • Never cook while wearing dangling jewellery. A bracelet can get tangled around pot handles which could result in tipping boiling how food all over yourself and inevitably eating a bag of crisps from the vending machine at A&E!
  • Turn the handles of the pots away from the edge of the cooker. Turn the pot so that the handle is at the back of the cooker and not in a position to be knocked resulting in a similar scenario as the point above!
  • Don’t let temperature-sensitive foods sit out in the kitchen. Raw meat, fish, and certain dairy products can spoil quickly, so pop them in the fridge or freezer straight away.
  • Wipe up spills immediately. Keep the floor dry so that no one slips and falls and ends up in A&E!
  • Separate raw meat and poultry from other items. Raw meat can pass on harmful bacteria to other foods so always ensure you store them separately away from anything you may be preparing or cooking.
  • Always wash your hands before handling food and after handling meat or poultry. Hands can be a virtual freight train of bacteria.
  • NEVER cook if you are under the influence of alcohol!
  • If you leave the cooked (even just for one minute to answer the door/phone) take all pots and pans off the heat and switch the cooker off.
  • Don’t eat leftover food that has been stored out of the fridge overnight.
  • Always store open food in storage containers before refrigerating, to ensure no contamination between foods.

How to NOT get food poisoning

In the UK, there are more than 500,000 reported cases of people falling ill with food poisoning and not all cases come from eating at fast food outlets, café’s or restaurants, according to the Food Standards Agency you are just as likely to fall ill with food prepared at home.

If you have never experienced food poisoning then it is definitely not something you want to, so below are a few tips on how to avoid food poisoning:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry them before handling food and particularly before and after handling raw meat, fish and eggs.
  • Ensure the worktops are clean before preparing food.
  • Use separate chopping knives for the different food groups i.e. raw meat, fish, poultry and vegetables.
  • Always keep raw meat separate from everything else and on the bottom shelf of the fridge where it can’t touch other food or drip onto them.
  • Always ensure your cooked food is steaming hot all the way through.
  • Never wash raw meat and poultry before cooking, this simply spreads the risk of bacteria throughout the kitchen.
  • Ensure your fridge is below 5C, this stops bugs from growing and spreading.
  • If you do have leftovers that you know you aren’t going to eat straight away, cool it down quickly – within 90 minutes – and store it away in the fridge, ensuring that it is eaten within 2 days.
  • Always pay attention to the “Use By:” dates on food. If it is passed its date throw it away.

Signs and Symptoms of Food Poisoning

The main symptoms of food poisoning are listed below. Most people with food poisoning often do not need to seek medical advice and find the symptoms ease over 1 or 2 days, but if your symptoms gradually worsen or you are ill for a prolonged period, then you should contact your GP for advice.

  • Feeling sik (nausea)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach cramps and abdominal pain
  • Lack of energy and weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • A high temperature
  • Aching muscles
  • Chills

More information: