Cooking Safely Around Pet Birds

This article is intended to inform and warn all bird owners and those who spend any time at all with feathery companions, about the potential dangers of cooking and food preparation in the vicinity of the birds.

Whether your avian friends are little budgies or parakeets, or the largest and most majestic parrots, they can all succumb to the fatal, toxic condition caused by fumes from certain coatings used on a lot of cookware and stove top wares including frying pans, baking trays, pots and pans, and other kitchen utensils.

The coating used on many, many items of kitchen and dinnerware is a chemical coating called PTFE, used to make cookware “non-stick” so it is easy to clean. Proprietary brands such as Teflon are PTFE based. Be very aware when searching for new cookware, that most, if not all, “non-stick” cookware is PTFE based and can kill your precious birds under the right conditions.

Generally, when the PTFE coatings are heated on a stove top or cooker, they release fumes into the atmosphere. These are supposedly non-toxic for humans, and carry no odour, making it very insiduous. Unfortunately, these fumes affect the birds’ delicate respiratory systems and ultimately kill them in a rapid, fulminating manner.

PTFE coated cookware when scratched or damaged, is more likely to give off a lot of fumes. It is also very unstable when overheated or burnt. Bird owners should strongly consider giving away all their PTFE coated cookware, as even if it has not seemingly caused a problem in years, the day will come when it does.

What could you use as an alternative to PTFE coated cookware then? And how do you identify the coating?

The easy answer to identifying the coating is to read the label. If the manufacturer states it is PTFE free, then it will be safe to use around your birds, but you must make absolutely sure of this.

Ceramic coatings are a great alternative although more expensive than the PTFE dinnerware. They are stable and also provide non-stick qualities.

You can also use stainless steel, or copper, or enameled cookware, or even cast iron.While these may not be quite as easy to clean as the PTFE coated non-stick cookware, they are at least safe to use around your beloved birds. A good quality stainless pot can last a lifetime, and is a much better buy for you, your family, your birds and the environment than something which releases toxic fumes into the atmosphere and kills birds in a very short while – only taking 20 minutes in some cases.

It will help if your bird is not very close to the kitchen, but remember, gas travels easily and can permeate the house very quickly and kill your bird in a room outside of the food preparation area.

If you should see signs of acute distress in your bird, it is probably already too late to save them, but try to open all windows or rush outdoors with the bird before getting them to an avian vet if they survive the ordeal for long enough to get them to a vet.

Unfortunately, thousands of birds die in this needless, awful way every year. Existing legislation is insufficient to stop manufacturers making false claims and covering up the dangers of PTFE as round birds. And now, many other household items are PTFE coated, too – irons, hair straighteners, ironing board covers, even childrens clothes!! Be sure to check very carefully before buying any new kitchen items, your birds life could depend on it.

How to Pick New Stovetopware

Buying a new set of pots and pans for yourkitchen may not be very difficult, but there are a number of considerations before you should part with your cash.

Firstly, of course, you need to set your budget. Pots and pans and casserole dishes and other stove top and baking and oven ware comes in many forms and all price ranges from very cheap to extremely expensive.

If you can, its a good idea to invest in a good quality set as this will last far longer than a cheap set from a supermarket or market stall. Plus, good quality cookware can certainly make the act of food preparation into a pleasurable art.

Of course, cheap also means you may have to replace the pots more often, so this can be a false economy, and you generally get what you pay for, certainly as far as cookware goes.

A word of warning here to the many pet owners who keep beloved pet parrots and birds- your choice of cookware needs to be very carefully considered as the wrong choice can be lethal for your feathered friends. Cookware widely available called “non stick” as well as other proprietary names, is potentially fatal to pet birds when heated. Thousands of our avian friends have died as a result of the toxic fumes emitted by this non-stick coating when heated. The coating is known as PTFE and if cookware contains this (check the label very carefully) it should NOT be used by bird owners. If you have any, and you own a pet bird, bin the PTFE cookware or give it to people who do not keep pet birds.

Cookware which is coated with a ceramic coating is safe for birds, and is generally of a better quality than PTFE coated cookware. It also cleans up easily and is often also suitable for use on induction hobs. A quick way to check if pots and pans can be used on induction hobs is to see if a magnet is attracted to the base – if it is, it will work on an induction hob,if it isn’t , it won’t.

Cast Iron cookware holds heat very well and is coated by some manufacturers in an enamel coating which is also safe for use in households with pet birds. Cast Iron can be very heavy, however, and unsuotable for use by some people with medical problems like arthritis.

Other good quality choices include stainless steel pots and pans and copper, lined with stainless steel. Copper, in particular, is the choice of many an eminent chef.

Some people will want all their cookware to match, and have a specific modern or traditional design. Others will want designer, iconic brands in their kitchens, to complement their electrical goods. Yet others still, will be happy with simple, utilitarian cookware which is functional.

Whatever your choice, you will inevitably need to live with it for some time. So take your time, consider the options, and if you own pet birds, think of their safety when you will be cooking. Research your purchases carefully before you commit to them and enjoy using that cookware for many years to come.

Cooking Recipes, Anytime And Anywhere.

Have you ever known exactly what you want to cook but searched and searched through all of your cook books and had no luck finding that tender morsel that has been making your mouth water all day? Having to settle for something else is so disappointing isn’t it? Or have you been to a restaurant and fell in love with a dish or a dessert but don’t have the money to go there to enjoy it all the time? Well I have got the answer for you, and that is internet cooking recipes!

You know all of the advantages of computers and the internet by now but let me run through them real quick just to emphasize my point. First its paperless, you don’t have the clutter of cookbooks and cards and other random loose cooking recipes that you have collected over the years.

Second the search is so much better than paging through each paper recipe, all you do is simply type a small description of what you are thinking and the computer spits out several cooking recipes that match your request. Other things are the incredible access that you gain when you have the internet at your disposal. You can get recipes from the chef’s themselves. You can get recipes from any country in the entire world directly. You can even find the secret recipes from the famous dishes at restaurants that you crave. Sounds like its worth it to make the switch doesn’t it? Even if it would cost you a little money!

Well the cool part is that many if not most of the cooking recipes on the internet are free. You simply have to search on one of the main search engines and you will get more options than you can handle some times. You can often download the text so that you can have it on your computer filed away in an organized fashion for the next time you feel like making that dish. Often too there is contact information for the person who posted the recipe on the internet for you to contact if you have a question about a certain ingredient or a change that you are thinking about making.

There are sites that if you pay a reasonable one time membership fee or a small monthly fee will allow you access to award winning restaurant dishes and dishes from famous chef’s as well as popular international dishes that are translated into English for you. If you are serious about cooking it is certainly worth checking out all the wonderful cooking recipes that are available to you.

Top 10 Bbq Mistakes By Novices

There are several common mistakes that many barbecue cooks make when preparing food on the barbecue. Check out these top ten mistakes NOT to make when preparing food on the barbacue.

1. Being in too big of a hurry. Barbecue takes time and patience. You can’t rush it. Figure 1 to 1 1/2 hours per pound for most meats. If you’re tending a wood-burning smoker, figure on adding fuel every 30-45 minutes.

2. Opening the lid to peek too often. This lets out the heat and the smoker will be below temperature. Open the lid only when necessary to mop or move or turn the meat. The meat’s not going anywhere, so you don’t need to keep checking up on it.

3. Trying to do a brisket or spare ribs the first time you use your smoker. Start off on the road to ?Perfect Q? with the simplest meat to smoke?a whole chicken or a pork picnic roast. They’re cheap and hard to ruin. Don’t fill up the smoker with meat until you?ve had some successes. Start with just one item.

4. Using lighter fluid to start your charcoal briquettes. This can give you some really awful odors and tastes in your smoked meat. Use a chimney starter for charcoal. If you must use a charcoal lighter fluid, let the coals burn for at least 30 minutes before you put on the meat.

5. In a wood burning smoker, making the fire too big and closing the inlets and exhaust dampers to control the flame. This is a no no. Open that exhaust damper all the way. Regulate the oxygen intake with the inlet damper. Be careful how you close that inlet damper?your fire can smolder and give you some nasty-tasting smoke. Best advice?keep your fire low and your dampers open. Remember, a bad-smelling smoke=bad-tasting meat.

6. Using green wood. You must use seasoned wood to get good results when you begin barbecuing. The old pros can use a mix of green and seasoned wood, but beginners should not use the green stuff until they know about fire and temperature control. Using green wood without knowing what you’re doing is the surest way to ruin the meat. You?ll get creosote and that will make bitter meat that cannot be saved.

7. Trying to adjust too many things at once. Don’t adjust everything on the smoker at once. Change one thing, see what happens, then change another.

8. Changing things too much at once. Make small changes to the smoker. Open or close the intake vent a little bit, not a lot. If you are continually making big changes, you will continually overshoot the correct temperature point. Your temperature curve will look like a giant sawtooth. Make the changes in small increments.

9. Putting cold meat into the smoker. This can lead to the condensation of creosote on the surface of the meat if you don’t have a clean-burning fire. Beginners should allow the meat to warm up on the counter, but for no more than an hour, before you put it in the smoker. Experienced smokers can put the cold meat directly into the smoker. Some say this helps smoke penetration.

10. Inviting the family, the in-laws, and the preacher and his wife over the first day you get that new smoker. Practice some, get to know your smoker on a personal basis. Do a pork picnic shoulder, some chickens, then some ribs and finally when everything’s coming together, do a brisket. Then invite the whole gang over and wow ?em good.

Making Your Kitchen Convenient For Cooking

Are you someone that enjoys cooking and does it as much as possible? Yet, do you actually like cooking in your kitchen? Typically, cooking areas are not organized for frequent cooking. For example, the cutting board is not near the stove, but far from it on a separate counter top. Then again, you might have a small kitchen that you have a hard time maneuvering in.

Here, are some good ideas to help you be able to have a convenient and easy kitchen to enjoy cooking in.

What Would You Change In Your Kitchen?

Is it easy for you to prepare meals in your kitchen? Chances are if you have a huge, roomy kitchen, you cook a lot and love it. On the other hand, if you have to squeeze past things to move around your kitchen, or if the tools and supplies are not conveniently placed, you probably do not enjoy being in your kitchen very long. The most important thing to do to help your organization is to think about what you do not like and what you do like in your kitchen.

Get More Storage Space

Having plenty of storage places is one of the things that makes a kitchen a great place to work in. First, you will want an area to hold your food and kitchen tools and utensils. This may be a daunting task for those with smaller kitchens. But, you may be surprised just where you can find storage like putting a rack or shelf on the wall, another one underneath the upper cabinets, or by hanging items on the back of doors. It may be fun and a good idea to go to a kitchen store or even hire an expert to help you figure out your best choices.

Use Magazines

There are a ton of cooking and home decorating magazines that often highlight the kitchens with pictures of the most effective kitchens. You can easily figure out what suits you the best by closely examining several of these pictures. What can you take and apply to your own cooking space? Since decorators are the people that designed these kitchens, their examples should provide you with a lot of great ideas.

Add Color

Adding different colors may be another option to add inspiration to your kitchen organization. Try to personalize your kitchen decor and see that your cooking area as a reflection of your personal style. This will positively influence the atmosphere of your kitchen and the way you cook. You can just add one piece of equipment, like a hanging copper pan rack over the stove, adding decor and convenience to your kitchen.

To get more tips and instruction on setting up your kitchen and cooking, simple visit the Internet and pick up your copy of an ebook on everything you ever wanted to know about cooking, but never dared to ask, to add to your cooking enjoyment.