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1. Getting distracted
Cooking requires a chef's full attention. Bubbling pots, hot elements and sharp knives can create scary situations if left unattended. Give yourself time to cook:
• Turn off distractions such as televisions and computers.
• Use a timer to remind you when things are done or need to be stirred.
Of course, some distractions, such as phone calls or a knock on the door, are unavoidable, but don't forget to focus on the task at hand.
2. Not reading the recipe
One of the most common mistakes chefs of any age make is not reading the recipe all the way through before starting in the kitchen. This can lead to wait times for the oven to preheat, or a pause in the cooking while Mom runs to the grocery store for a missing ingredient. To avoid this, read the recipe first. Pull out all ingredients, prep any pans before you start and preheat the oven if necessary. This will make the whole cooking experience quicker and more enjoyable.
3. Measuring improperly
If your cookies are too dry and crumbly, or your cake is too flat, chances are something wasn't measured properly. Read the ingredient list carefully, and be sure to use the correct measuring cup:
• Use liquid measuring cups (usually glass or plastic) for liquids only
• Use dry measuring cups (usually metal) for dry ingredients only.
Measuring flour in a liquid measure can add up to 2 tbsp (25 mL) more flour to the recipe, altering results greatly.
Watch our short Canadian Living video for more tips on measuring ingredients for best results - How to properly measure ingredients.
Page 1 of 2 — Learn what four common mistakes kids and parents make in the kitchen – and how to avoid them – on page 2.4. Trying to cut with a dull knife
Even in small hands, a dull knife is a chef's worst enemy. Using a dull knife increases your chance of nicking (or worse) a finger because you end up sawing instead of slicing effortlessly. Ask Mom or Dad to keep the knives sharpened. Be sure you get permission from an adult or have adult supervision before you handle any knife.
We show you how to sharpen knives in our Canadian Living video - How to steel a knife
5. Grabbing hot pots or leaving stovetop on
Things get hot in the kitchen, and heat can be dangerous. Always use oven mitts, pot holders or dry tea towels (wet or damp ones transmit heat) when handling pots or pans that have been on the stove or in the oven. To prevent burns, turn stovetop off when you're finished using it. Don't ever leave tea towels or utensils on the stovetop.
6. Misusing appliances
Always get permission and a demonstration before using appliances. This can help you avoid mistakes such as pulling electric beaters out of batter before turning them off, or using the blender without the lid. Both of these can lead to big messes that take lots of effort to clean up!
7. Leaving a messy kitchen
Using the kitchen is a privilege – don't take it for granted. To guarantee you'll have another chance to play in the kitchen, put ingredients away, wash the dishes and leave the kitchen at least as tidy as it was when you started.
Page 2 of 2 — Discover the top three mistakes kids make in the kitchen on page 1.