Quick Tip: Food Safety
Memorial Day means picnics and family gatherings. Taking foods from the kitchen to the great outdoors requires a few extra safety precautions. Rule of thumb: keep hot foods hot (above 125 degrees) and cold foods cold (below 60 degrees). If you are using thermal containers, fill them with ice water or boiling water to bring the containers themselves up to the proper temperature.
And even though it's common sense, it still bears repeating at this start of the summer season: pack a first aid kit and refresh yourself on emergency first aid procedures. Kids, barbecues, nature and pets almost guarantee that an injury of some kind will surely happen—and the best precaution against serious injury is to anticipate the hazards and plan against them.
Safe Grilling Tips:
- High Winds: If winds are gusty and strong, avoid outdoor grilling. A single spark can do untold damage.
- Don't Leave: Never leave a burning grill, even if the coals are just starting to get hot. Completely extinguish coals before leaving a cooksite.
- Starting the charcoal: The safest way to start charcoal is with a metal chimney, available at hardware stores; it requires no lighter fluid. When using lighter fluid, never add it to hot coals.
Other Food Safety and Kitchen Tips:
- Grease Fires: Never throw water on a grease fire. Smother it with salt, baking soda or extinguish it with a pan lid.
- Wash bacteria away: Raw poultry is notorious for carrying bacteria so wash it and any surfaces it comes in contact with, avoiding cross-contamination with other foods.
- Marinades: If using your food's excess marinade as a sauce, be sure to boil it for 2-3 minutes to kill any bacteria from the poultry or meat.
James Trager's book, The Food Chronology, took this year's Julia Child Award for best book in the Food Reference/Technical Category, deservedly so. It is a valuable resource to any food writer or editor and anyone interested in culinary history. As this year's awards were held in Philadelphia, I decided to see what Mr. Trager might say about this historical city. To give you a better idea of the scope of this book, here's a selection of just some of the items listed under the heading of Philadelphia:
- 1682: Philadelphia's Blue Anchor tavern opens..."sturgeon and sea turtle are the chief delicacies."
- 1745: Philadelphia's Second Street market opens ..."to supply the city's homemakers with meat, poultry, fruit, and vegetables."
- 1778: "Philadelphia Pepper Pot Soup (actually tripe soup seasoned with peppercorns is invented by some accounts at Valley Forge, where a Philadelphia-born cook to Gen. Washington's Continental Army employs makeshift efforts to sustain the hungry troops wintering in Pennsylvania."
- 1893: The Reading Terminal Market opens..."to give the city the world's largest indoor market. Built by the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Co., it is modeled after the great roofed-gallery markets of Europe with refrigeration controlled by a basement installation."
- 1930: "New York has 82 breadlines by year's end, Philadelphia has 80."
- 1969: Le Bec Fin opens..."serving 140 diners per evening (two sittings of 70 each) with 420 dishes (120 per sitting), each made to order from scratch in 70 minutes, will come to be regarded...as Philadelphia's finest eating place and by many as the best in America (by 1992 the prix fixe dinner will be $92)."
The Food Chronology
A Food Lover's Compendium of Events and Anecdotes, from Prehistory to the Present
by James Trager
Henry Holt and Company
784 pages; $40.00
Copyright © 1996—the electronic Gourmet Guide, Inc. All rights reserved.