Think twins don’t fight? Think again… since we were kids, most of our fights with each other took place in the kitchen. Even when we moved to New York City and shared an apartment, our fights still took place in the kitchen. It was so small that we were on top of each other (literally) and we’d be so aggravated when we’d both be chopping our veggies and our elbows kept bumping into each other and we’d almost always end up in some sort of disagreement. If you’ve ever heard of the saying, “too many cooks in the kitchen” we truly feel that someone came up with that term as they’d watch us battle it out—and dangerously close to sharp objects!
So now, during the holiday season, we can’t help but be reminded that a lot of cooks (in our case one twin is more than enough) in the kitchen while trying to prepare holiday meals can spell danger! Although usually the danger is due to food safety issues. While everyone loves to help out in the kitchen during the holidays, the more food that exchanges hands, the greater the chance for foodborne illness to spread to your food. There are so many chances for food to come into contact with germs and other sources of foodborne illness, so we’ve come up with a list of must-dos to ensure that you and your guests steer clear of any potential sicknesses. (And for those who like to avoid family arguments, we advise having one Nutrition Twin in the kitchen at a time, controlling her delicacies). Aside from that, keep the food safe!
Here are our secrets to keeping your friends and loved ones safe:
- Any time you come into contact with a germ-source, remember to wash your hands! Run your hands under water and scrub with soap for at least 20 seconds to make sure that your hands are germ free!
- Make sure to thaw your food in the refrigerator. Leaving your food out to defrost for a few hours may leave you with a defrosted piece of meat, but the outside of your meat has been defrosted for a lot longer than the inside. This provides bacteria a perfect breeding ground for multiplying.
- Use separate cutting boards for different kinds of foods. Make sure your veggies aren’t cut on the same board as your meats, and make sure to scrub your meat cutting board extra hard after use, as raw meats and poultry have a much higher risk of bacterial growth.
- Make sure your food reaches the proper temperature to kill all potential sources of bacterial infection:
Chicken should reach 165 °F for 15 seconds, hamburgers to 155 °F and meat and fish to 145 °F.
- Buffets are great because you get to eat what you want, but if your food sits out for more than two? hours, you could be eating some things you don’t want to be eating! Food that sits out longer than four hours should be thrown out – as much as you love those holiday dishes, bacteria does too! Use buffet chafing dishes or chilling dishes to make sure your food stays in a safe temperature range.
Want to learn more about food safety? Go to http://www.foodsafety.gov/ for answers to all of your questions!