Tuesday, November 22, 2011

‘Tis the Season for Foodborne Illnesses

Oh, “The Holidays”! What a glorious, joyful season! à Spending time with your loved ones or at least people you pretend to like. What could go wrong besides your aunt and uncle announcing, during the big game, that they are divorcing? ßDo NOT do this! Please wait until all food and football have been consumed. Back to the topic at hand that I have not yet presented. As I was asking, what could go wrong? WELLLLLL, you could kill someone with your cooking. It could taste perfectly awesome but because you did not follow simple rules whilst preparing your dish, you could cause someone excruciating pain and misery…. or death. From workplace potlucks to elaborate recipes taken from Irma S. Rombauer’s ‘Joy of Cooking’, some minimum requirements need to be in place before and whilst you prepare meals. Here they are:

photo from noholidaynolife.com 

1.    Clean your kitchen from top to bottom. Clean cabinets, floors, baseboards, sinks and refrigerator. Ok, I may have gone too far with the baseboards, that is a reminder for me to clean mine. And, YES, your refrigerator--- especially if you are storing food there.

2.    Wash your hands often. If you leave the kitchen for ANY reason, when you return, wash your hands including your fingernails. I don't care if you have to do this 27 times.

3.    Do you have pets? If so, they can NOT be in the kitchen with you whilst you prepare meals for other people. Unless they are caged (for the record I do not condone caging animals) they should not be in the kitchen with you. I find that animal owners (I also do not condone owning living things of any kind, so I prefer the term human or animal companion) take this advice especially hard. Apparently, they are offended when no one wants to eat their casserole with the knowledge that they allow their cat to walk on their counter as they prepare a meal. Your pet has fur, feathers, and/or drools. We understand that s/he is a part of your family, but we do not want them as a part of our meal (unless your pet is a chicken and its cooked wing is a part of the meal).

4.    I love to see children helping mom and dad in the kitchen. It is a bonding time and a time to teach basic life skills, HOWEVER when preparing food for others this is not the place for a teachable moment. Children tend to lack any caution or any observance to health and safety guidelines. Many of them have not met a booger that they did not like and this makes me nervous about them preparing my meal. This is what I have seen children do: Scratch any and all body parts before eating their food; Wipe their nose on their sleeves; Sneeze/cough without covering their nose or mouth; Pet the dog and then offer someone  a cookie; and Pick at their blistery hangnails. I will be honest I have seen many adults behave in the above manner but they do have some guidelines about when they do those things. Right? Right? I am not saying keep your kid out of the kitchen, but just let her/him observe. Thanks.

5.    DO NOT DOUBLE DIP. You can do it to your food but not to food that you are serving others. Do not taste the food and place that same spoon/fork/ladle back into the pot. NO. NO. NO! Change utensils or wash after each use. It is always a good idea to have a standing sink of hot soapy water so you can clean spills and wash dishes as you go any way. This should serve as a reminder! Also, do NOT taste food while standing over said food. Talk about backwash! Food from your mouth or saliva can drop in the food. TASTE AWAY FROM THE POT!

I do not claim to be the tidiest person in the world. Just recently the inside of my home resembled a crime scene, but know that if I have prepared a meal for you, I have followed the above rules. Once your food makes someone sick, you will NEVER live that down. Feel free to add your own rules. Happy Cooking!


  1. Love this post! Thanks for the tips. Thank goodness I'll be ignoring Thanksgiving this year!

  2. Double dipping grosses me out! I don't usually eat grocery store samples of any kind because of this. I've even seemn people reuse a toothpick when sample cheese cubes.

    But my children will be helping me out in the kitchen. If they're not involved, I couldn't get anything done.

    This is a good reminder for all to clean thoroughly before I getting started.

  3. Nikki, If no one invited me, I would be at home not celebrating. Steph, all I ask is that you have a little talk with them about boogers :-)


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