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Monday, March 18, 2013

I'm Back with Safety First

     Hey everyone! I know it has been a while since my last post. With family life and a project that took longer than expected, time with my kitchen has been very minimal. That all has been settled and I finally have some time to enjoy my kitchen.

   Before I go into food and recipes, I have to apologize to all my readers. I feel as though I have not delivered on my promise of teaching and learning with you. My blog has become more of a digital photo gallery rather than an aid for others. Now, I know some you might not agree with me, but I also know I can share a lot more knowledge. With my new found dedication to provide education, I will be tackling the most important topic in food, safety.
Photo by International Association for Food Protection
     Even though we may just cook for our immediate family, food and kitchen safety should be our top priority. Though we may not be professionals, I believe we should still use those professional guidelines for cleanliness and avoid cross contamination in our home kitchens. After all, who would like someone to be sick from the meal made? Not me, and I am sure not you. So lets begin with the most obvious.
      Hand washing is the number one defense against food contamination. You would be surprised how many germs can be spread just by our hands. 30 seconds in hot water with soap can provide tons of protection.
A clean kitchen is the next line of defense against any type of food contamination. The littlest things are the most important when cleaning. I have seen some pretty horrible kitchens and did not want to eat or drink a thing out of them, so you might want to avoid that. Clean surfaces and utensils would save who ever you plan on serving from any type of contaminants. I have also seen some really bad practices when preparing food, so here are some things you should and shouldn't do. 
Photo by International Association for Food Protection
     When preparing our foods, we have to cut up vegetables and prep our meats. These actions are significant to cooking and we need to know how to do them safely. The best way to prevent cross contamination is to have separate cutting boards for each action. In addition to this, you must clean your knife after each use or have two of those also. This is very important because we don't want raw meat touching our fresh veggies (especially chicken). 
      Speaking of chicken, it might be the most dangerous (but delicious) protein in our kitchens. Salmonella is found in chickens and can spread if not properly handled. Just so you are aware, properly cooked through chicken doesn't contain salmonella. Maybe its just me, but I do not condone the washing of chicken or any meat for that matter. "Washing" the chicken doesn't really clean it. The only way to rid chicken, pork, beef, or any meat from any type of natural bacteria is to cook it. When it is brought to proper cooking temperature, that is when it will be free of contaminants. Washing also adds moisture to your proteins and doesn't allow them to get the crust you are looking for when searing. With chicken, washing only allows salmonella to spread even further than it would if you just took it from the pack. Every drip of water that falls off your chicken is now full of salmonella and is hitting every surface in your kitchen. This situation requires a full scrubbing of your kitchen. 
      It may sound like a lot to remember, especially if these practices are not already in your kitchen prep routine. However, they are necessary practices if you wish to create delicious dishes that won't cause any type of sickness. So cook safely my friends and enjoy the meals!!


  1. Great tips and reminders. Great to have you back, Frank. Any Easter favourite foods?

    1. Thank you for a warm welcome Helene. I am happy to be back. I love a nice roasted ham for Easter dinner. Ham always makes me happy! :-)