It’s natural to get the munchies when you’re under the influence of anything that alters or boosts your mood and reflexes, and cooking food is a nurturing act and can be very relaxing, especially during a high. Your senses are heightened, and every ingredient adds an extra layer of colorful, aromatic, delicious blissfulness.
At the same time, it’s important to take additional precautions when under the influence of cannabis in the kitchen. Follow these five safety tips for cooking after consuming to ensure that everything goes according to plan.
1. Get Zen With One Task at a Time
You see everything so much more clearly while high, and your senses are hyper-alert. Use that to your advantage. At the same time, cannabis doesn’t give you “I can bust this out in no time” powers. Don’t multitask.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a world-renowned expert on mindfulness and meditation, teaching that mindfulness is a deep awareness of the details immediate to you. Get zen and practice mindfulness of the task at hand — because multitasking can sometimes lead to forgetfulness, and that’s potentially hazardous when high.
Cooking, cleaning, and other routines are all opportunities to experience mindfulness. So just as you focus on your natural breathing rhythm in meditation, focus on each individual task in turn. Watch the sharp knife slowly cut into the tomato, making equilateral incisions, focusing on the fresh smell penetrating the air. “One thing at a time” is your new mantra.
2. Cook the Food, Not Yourself
This tip is pretty self-explanatory. Burns are not fun and you want to enjoy the experience of cooking, not end with an injury. So, cook the food. Don’t cook yourself.
If cooking with cast iron, always grip the hot handle with a towel. Use lids and lower temperatures where possible. While elevated, it’s best to focus on simple meals you know how to prepare. Make dishes you can pop in the microwave or cook using implements that won’t easily burn you should your fingers slip.
3. Careful With the Sharp Stuff
If you do need to slice and dice with something sharper than a butter knife, make sure you’re respecting its dangers. It’s not like you’re running with scissors here, but there’s something to pretending your mom is side-eyeing you from the corner. Remember mom’s sharp stuff rules in the kitchen, because accidents can happen at any age:
- Wear sturdy shoes in case you drop a knife or break a glass.
- Cut away from fingers and flesh.
- Place knives in their own area, away from the edges of counters where they could fall.
- Reduce clutter on countertops to keep blades from playing hiding and seek.
- Dry your hands, because you’ll have a better grip on sharp tools.
- Keep knives stored with blades and tips down.
- Don’t sharpen blades while high.
It’s always good to remember, “better safe than sorry.” Also, keep a broom nearby in case of broken glass, and have a first aid kit close at hand in case of cuts.
4. Time the Tastiness
Work with recipes that are easily prepared in under thirty minutes. You’re going to be super hungry, anyway, and the longer you’re in the kitchen, the more likely you are to let your guard down or get distracted. Before you get started, run the recipe through your mind to judge what you’ll need and how long each task or prep of an ingredient will take. You may hate countdowns, but keeping track of when you started baking or broiling will keep you from igniting the pizza or your perfectly cut home fries.
Timers are your ally here to get the perfect sizzle or sear without scorching — even if it’s only a two-minute time frame. Timing is definitely everything in the kitchen when you’re trying to remember each step and space them out just right.
5. Double-Check That the Oven’s Off
It’s so simple, but it’s what everyone forgets, sometimes even while sober. Check to make sure you’ve turned everything off, particularly the burner or oven. Then, check again to be absolutely certain before you leave the room.
Leaving the oven or stovetop on is dangerous and even may pose health risks. Gas stoves can emit hazardous carbon monoxide if there’s a malfunction. Dirty ovens may also emit dangerous fumes. FEMA has reported that kitchen heat implements, especially burners, are the top cause of home fires and injuries, particularly when someone has walked away from cooking.
As such, never leave a hot stove or oven unattended. If your brownies need half an hour to bake, sit nearby and put music on, or work on a craft and inhale the scents of delicious home-cooked munchies that’ll be ready soon. Whatever you do, don’t think to yourself, “I’ll just take a quick power nap and wake up when the lasagna’s done baking.”
It’s easy to laugh off safety rules like these, because you’d never be that forgetful or absent-minded. Right?
Don’t make these classic mistakes — accidents do happen. And really, taking a recipe one step at a time makes it all the more rewarding when you sit down at the end of the process to savor it.