Eat, Fry, Love: A Cautionary Remix

State Farm's Thanksgiving Day grease and cooking-related fire claims were chopped in half after William Shatner's video Eat, Fry, Love: A Cautionary Tale" ran last year, says the insurer.

The safety campaign featuring Shatner's "docu-drama" also contributed to an overall dip in cooking and grease-fire claims for November 2011 --  the daily average for the month sunk to a seven-year low, says State Farm.

This year the insurer reprised Shatner's turkey fryer footage in an auto-tune remix on YouTube in honor of its annual tally of grease and cooking-related claims filed on the national holiday.

Here are the top 10 states for grease and cooking-related claims on Thanksgiving Day for the past five years, according to State Farm.

For 2007 to 2011:
  1. Texas with 19
  2. Illinois with 18
  3. New York with 18
  4. Ohio with 13
  5. Florida with 13
  6. California with 12
  7. Louisiana with 12
  8. Pennsylvania with 12
  9. Minnesota with 11
  10. South Carolina with 11

For 2005 to 2010:
  1. Texas with 36
  2. Illinois with 24
  3. Ohio with 21
  4. New York with 17
  5. Pennsylvania with 17
  6. Michigan with 15
  7. Florida with 14
  8. Minnesota with 14
  9. Indiana with 13
  10. Louisiana with 12


Thanksgiving is clearly when the grease hits the flame, but State Farm spokesperson Heather Paul says the danger exists year-round as the popularity of deep-frying grows: "Fire departments are responding to more than 1,000 fires each year in which a deep-fryer is involved," she says. "The National Fire Protection Association says deep-fryer fires result in more than $15 million in property damage each year and hot oil splatter can cause serious burns."

Filing an insurance claim when your fowl plans go afoul

Paul says insurance companies handle deep-fryer and kitchen fires in the same way as other blazes that damage your home or property--you're covered for the entire loss minus the deductible.

To file a claim, contact your agent immediately--if possible, the same day the fire breaks out. Paul also recommends taking photos of the damage and gathering any fire or police reports on the accident. The agent should be able to walk you through the process, she says, adding that most insurance companies have 24-hour hotlines.

"It's so easy to become distracted this time of the year because so much is going on," Paul says. "You can step away from your cooking and, in a second, a fire has gotten out of control."

Shatner on-board with video

When the man who has gone "where no man has gone before" went into the back yard to record a video recounting how he almost burned his house down while deep-frying, he offered these safety steps:
  • Cook outdoors away from any buildings or trees and keep the fryer off any wooden structures, such as decks or patios.
  • Avoid spillovers by filling the pot with cold oil and then lowering the thawed turkey to see if oil should be added or removed.
  • Turn off the flame when adding the turkey to prevent flare-ups if oil spills over the rim.
  • The turkey must be completely thawed before slowly lowering it into the pot.
  • Never leave the deep-fryer unattended.
  • Use an extinguisher approved for cooking or grease fires to put out a blaze. Never use ice or water to douse a grease fire or to cool oil.