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Turkey insurance? Believe it!

By Jay MacDonald ·
Friday, November 19, 2010
Posted: 10 am ET

Let's talk turkey, shall we? Specifically, this unspeakable, artery-clogging, make-Julia Child-roll-over-in-her-grave practice of subjecting a perfectly toned Tom to the ignominy of a deep-fat fryer. It's just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. On so many levels, not least of which is what this culinary crime might do to your homeowners insurance.

Are YOU talking to me? Are YOU talking to ME? Are you TALKING to ME?

As a public service, allow me to share with you the raison d'etre of this redneck rite of passage in the hope that it might spare you the actual scarred-for-life moment.

Turkey frying owes its popularity to a single anecdote that goes something like this: My crazy (pick one) uncle/cousin/cardiologist filled the fryer with 12 gallons of (pick one) peanut oil/shortening/30 weight and (spoiler alert: stop here) dropped the bird in and the boiling oil overflowed like it was defending a castle! Which, come to think of it, may have been the origin of this practice.

Food Network Chef Guy Fieri chronicles the series of calamitous events that befell him and his homeowners insurance during what he calls his "deep-fried-turkey phase" in "How NOT to Deep-Fry a Turkey."

But I digress. The point is, once you have this anecdote in your wit kit, actually deep-frying a turkey sort of becomes superfluous, don't you think? Not to mention dangerous, as the folks at Allstate recently reminded their homeowners insurance customers.

According to FEMA's U.S. Fire Administration, cooking is the leading cause of home fires on Thanksgiving Day, causing on average 2,000 fires, five deaths, 25 injuries and nearly $21 million in property damage. Who wants to bet that most of that destruction is NOT related to deep-fat fryers?

If you must partake of this misadventure, Allstate offers these suggestions to avoid sending your homeowners insurance up in smoke:

  • Only use turkey fryers outdoors at a safe distance from buildings and flammable materials.
  • Never use a fryer on a wooden deck or in a garage.
  • Place fryer on a flat surface to avoid accidental tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Oil may ignite in units without thermostats.
  • Keep children and pets away from fryer, even after it is turned off. The oil from a fryer remains dangerously hot for hours after use.
  • Do not overfill the fryer.
  • Be careful with marinades and other liquids. Oil and water do not mix, and liquids could cause hot oil to ignite or even explode.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher handy.

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