Tremendously Terrific Thanksgiving Tips
What could be more satisfying than having your kitchen remodeled? Using it silly! And Thanksgiving is one of the most fun times of year to be in the kitchen — especially with the expectation of a visit with hoards of friends and family. Our most favorite moments are spent being with everyone as they raise their glasses, and/or munch their favorite part of the meal, while everyone else laughs and scratches in unison.
If you are the one that will be cooking this year here are a few tips that you will be able to count on that will help to increase everyone’s pleasure by making meal preparation, serving and cleanup safer and easier. Here are 5 of our favorites:
- Bust bacteria
- Cook certain things separately
- Be especially sharp about carving
- Cheap — yet luxurious — cooking aids
- Eliminate a waxy finish
According to the folks at Sunset Magazine’s Test Kitchen bacteria is easier to remove from a wood cutting board than from a plastic one. So, our first safety tip is to use a wooden cutting board instead of a plastic one. Wash wood cutting boards after every use with a mixture of bleach and detergent. Keep in mind that you should never ever mix bleach and ammonia as the combination can be lethal. Raw poultry and eggs are especially dangerous to work with and should be handled carefully with frequent hand washing. By the way, Sunset also recommends the use of mineral oil to preserve your cutting board. According to their staff conventional vegetable oil will become rancid and should not be used. Yes, mineral oil is also used as a laxative.
Separate Certain Stuff
If you are like most you sauté onions and garlic in oil or butter to prepare your turkey dressing. This process is then followed by stuffing the turkey with as much of the dressing as it will hold. However, nothing could be more dangerous. The warmed butter or oil is just warm enough to produce a science experiment inside your dinner. No matter how many times you have done this without incident you are still at risk. Refrigerate the dressing to insure that it goes into the turkey at a safe temperature – when it’s cold. Bacteria loves to grow in dark warm places. Don’t give it any help – be cool!
Have A Cutting Personality
A carpenter’s tools include a hammer and saw. A cook uses fork, knife and spoon. The carpenter makes his hammer safe by rubbing the hammer head with sandpaper. That’s because the roughed surface is less apt to slip off the nail. Similarly, professional cooks insist on razor sharp knives. That’s because they work best – and most easily – when they are sharp enough to shave with. Cutting with a sharp knife does not require the use of force to cut effectively. Using a dull knife can smash food. Cutting effectively requires moving the blade in a sawing motion. The sharper the knife the easier it will cut through things. A slightly dull knife requires you to exert more pressure. When you must use force to achieve a cutting task it can take your attention away from the important part of the job – not cutting yourself. This year, right now – send your knives out for sharpening. The local saw shop usually sharpens knives. If you don’t have a saw shop in your neck of the woods, simply call any restaurant and ask one of the cooks who they use.
Fancy For Free
A trivet purchased from a cooking store can cost dozens of dollars. But wouldn’t you love to have a set of magnificent trivets that don’t cost an arm and a leg? Take a trip to your local tile center. A good one will display hundreds if magnificently beautiful tiles in every color, pattern and texture imaginable. Ask for a look at discontinued items – often you can get these for a song. Are you a good singer? Make them your own by adding a layer of stick-on felt to the back. No one will ever know how creative you are.
Candles are a really big part of holiday events. And with candles comes waxy waste. Drips and drops on the floor and furniture. Get wax out with a shopping bag and a clothes iron. Lay the brown paper bag over the wax. Use a clothes iron on high atop the paper bag. The warmed wax will be drawn into the brown paper. Repeat the process with a clean are of the paper bag until all the wax has been absorbed.
Oh, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
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