No matter what you decide to serve for the holidays this year, make sure you prepare it very, very carefully: According to State Farm data, South Carolina from 2005-2012 had a greater incidence of Thanksgiving Day cooking mishaps than any other state in the continental U.S.
Although five states produced more cooking-related claims than South Carolina, those numbers can be attributed to much larger populations. In New York, for example, over the seven years covered by the survey, one out of every 889,545 residents reported an injury or fire caused by cooking. By contrast, one out of every 295,250 South Carolinians had a bad run-in with a turkey fryer or kitchen grease.
Only Alaskans were more likely to have their holiday end with an insurance claim: With five claims filed over the survey’s span, one out of every 146,289 Alaskans saw a holiday meal go dangerously awry.
Although the South’s reputation as a fry hub might suggest the region would lead the nation in Thanksgiving Day injuries, one way to read the statistics is as evidence that Southerners know what they’re doing around a deep fryer: By rate of incidence, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Oklahoma are among the most dangerous states in which to cook Thanksgiving dinner. (Louisiana is the only Southern state with an incidence rate approaching South Carolina.)
Cooking fire claims are on the decline nationwide, but State Farm spokesman Justin Tomczak says, “While the reduction is significant, the fact remains there are still injuries and damage to property as a result of turkey frying or cooking fires each year.”
He recommends home cooks stay alert in the kitchen (“the leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking”); create a “kid-free zone” around the stove and fryer; thaw their turkeys prior to frying and set up their fryers at a safe distance from buildings and trees. And if you’ve got more questions about how to fry your bird, State Farm’s posted a how-to video.