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Cooking    Dieting    Food preparation    Grilling food    Groceries    Kitchen    Nutrition    Restaurants   
COOKING
Also see: FIRE, FOOD (Preparation), KITCHEN

For cooking information, recipes and a wide variety of cooking accessories:
____Click on All Products

Before cooking:
____ Avoid wearing clothing which is bulky, frilly or has long loose sleeves, e.g., bathrobe

Immediate actions:
If there's a fire on your stove and it's out of control:

____ Escape the structure
____ Call for help, e.g., dial 911
If the fire is not out of control and is contained to the stovetop:
____ Don't put water on the fire - will probably spread the fire
____ Turn off the burner(s)
____ Place a lid on the pot containing the fire
____ Get a fire extinguisher
____ Stand approx. 6 feet from the fire - if you're too close, you could spread the fire
____ Spray the fire extinquisher at the base of the fire (unless otherwise directed by instructions on the fire extinquisher)

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FOOD PREPARATION
Also see: EATING, GRILLING, GROCERIES, NUTRITION, SHOPPING

- Approx. 9,000 people die and approx. 50 million people get sick from food-borne illnesses in the U.S. each year

Before preparing:
____ Have available:
          - Separate items (e.g., cutting boards, dishes) and preparation area for raw meats and poultry - to avoid contaminating food which won't be thoroughly cooked before serving
          - Meat thermometer
          - Anti-bacterial soap and sponge
____ Wash hands with an antibacterial soap ... dry them with paper towel(s)

While preparing:
____ Keep knives, hot pans, etc. out of the reach of children
____ Use a separate cutting board for raw meat
____ Wash hands if you switch from preparing raw meat or poultry to foods which won't be thoroughly cooked, e.g., salads
____ Consider microwaving meat/poultry before cooking - to help prevent salmonella poisoning
____ Cook foods thoroughly
____ Ensure center of ground beef is no longer pink and has reached a temperature of at least 160°F - to kill dangerous bacteria
____ Ensure pork and poultry are cooked until no longer pink

After preparing:
____ Cover food, especially if outdoors - to keep bugs out and the heat or cold in
____ Don't leave food out (unrefrigerated) for more than approx. 2 hours - bacteria grows best if the temperature is between 40 and 140° F
____ Wash all surfaces with anti-bacterial soap and/or sponge, then disinfect with bleach and water solution

After serving:
____ Refrigerate or freeze leftovers ASAP

Apple cider:
If unpasteurized:

____ Heat to at least 160°F or boil it

Breakfast - See Egg dishes

Cakes:
____ Don't eat uncooked batter which contains raw eggs - could cause salmonella poisoning

Chicken - See Poultry

Cookies:
____ Don't eat uncooked dough which contains raw eggs - could cause salmonella poisoning

Eggnog:
____ Use only pasteurized eggs - to help avoid salmonella poisoning
If not pasteurized:
____ Heat egg/milk mixture to at least 160°F

Egg dishes:
____ Cook until yolks are firm - to help avoid salmonella poisoning
French toast:
____ Cook thoroughly - to reduce risk of salmonella poisoning
Omelettes:
____ Cook thoroughly - to reduce risk of salmonella poisoning

Fish:
____ Don't thaw at room temperature

French toast - See Egg dishes

Mayonnaise:
____ Consider using commercially-prepared (pasteurized) mayonnaise instead of making it yourself with raw eggs - to help avoid salmonella poisoning - using mayonnaise made with pasteurized eggs can help prevent food spoilage due to its high acid content
If you make mayonnaise:
____ Use only pasteurized eggs

Meat:
____ Consider microwaving meat before cooking, especially if you intend to grill it - to help kill bacteria
Ground beef:
____ Defrost in the refrigerator, not on the counter
____ Use a thermometer to ensure the entire hamburger is cooked to at least 160°F - bacteria may still be a hazard even if the center is brown

Omelettes - See Egg dishes

Poultry, e.g., chicken, turkey:
Before handling raw poultry:
____ Clear the countertop
____ Keep the raw poultry and all juices well away from other foods, especially foods which will not be thoroughly cooked before being eaten, e.g., produce
After handling raw poultry and before handling other foods, surfaces, etc.:
____ Wash your hands, countertop, cutting boards, utensils, etc. thoroughly with hot soapy water

____ Consider microwaving poultry before cooking, especially if you intend to grill it - to help prevent salmonella poisoning

Whole turkey:
____ Start defrosting in refrigerator in the unopened wrapper on a tray early (approx. one day for every 4 lbs.)
____ Don't thaw on countertop - warm temperature can allow harmful bacteria to grow
____ Prepare and cook stuffing separately, then stuff into the turkey after the turkey has been fully cooked
If you want to cook the stuffing inside the turkey:
____ Don't place the stuffing inside the turkey until just before you start cooking the turkey
____ Cook until the stuffing reaches a temperature of at least 165°F
____ Place a meat thermometer in a thigh
____ Cook until:
          - Thermometer reads at least 180°F
          - Juices run clear (no pink juices)

Salads:
Caesar's salad, etc.:

____ Use only pasteurized eggs - to help avoid salmonella poisoning

Turkey - See Poultry

Vegetables:
Brocolli:
____ Soak in salt water for approx. 20 minutes - to let any bugs float out

Carrots:
____ Brush with a vegetable brush (don't peel them - more nutritious)

Cucumbers:
____ Rinse off with cool water - may be contaminated with animal feces, pesticides and/or bacteria from handlers

Lettuce:
____ Don't peel off leaves until rinse and drain
____ Bang stem end on counter
____ Remove core
____ Let leaves fill with water
____ Drain upside down
____ Refrigerate to maintain crispness

Peppers:
____ Rinse off with cool water - may be contaminated with animal feces, pesticides and/or bacteria from handlers

Potatoes:
____ Brush with a vegetable brush (don't peel them - more nutritious)

Tomatoes:
____ Rinse off with cool water - may be contaminated with animal feces, pesticides and/or bacteria from handlers

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GRILLING
Also see: FOOD PREPARATION

Well before grilling:
____ Minimize use of grills - adds to air pollution
____ Check your propane gas tank
If tank is 12 or more years old:
____ Replace it

____ Ensure propane gas tank has adequate amount of gas remaining
If you take the tank to be refueled:
____ If your tank requires it, put a plug in it
____ Don't transport the tank in the trunk of your vehicle
____ Place the tank on the floor in the back seat

____ Marinate meat/poultry - to reduce the release of dangerous chemicals from meat/poultry during grilling which cause mutations in bacteria and may cause cancer
____ Consider microwaving meat/poultry before putting it on the grill - to help prevent salmonella poisoning
____ Check your grill's condition
____ Ensure grill parts are in good shape (e.g., not damaged by animals, insects, weather, etc)
____ Have available:
          - Brush and scraper to clean grill
          - Lighter fluid designed to light charcoal (not gasoline, kerosene, etc.)
          - Charcoal
          - Matches
          - Separate dishes, plates, etc. for raw meat and food which is ready to be eaten
          - Extra long oven mitt(s)
          - Long-handled tongs
          - Long-handled spatula (flipper)

Right before lighting:
____ Ensure you have lighter fluid which is designed to light charcoal
____ Ensure the grill is at least 10 feet from structures
____ Clean the grill with scraper, brush, etc.
____ Avoid using newspaper to get fire started
____ Roll up your sleeves
____ Raise lid
Before lighting a match:
____ Ensure you and/or other adults are prepared to monitor the grill continuously to ensure children and pets stay away
____ Put lighter fluid on charcoal
____ Close cap on lighter fluid container
____ Put lighter fluid well away from grill
If charcoal doesn't light initially:
____ Never spray lighter fluid on smoldering charcoal
____ Instead, add some kindling, tinder, paper, etc. and attempt to light with a match

If charcoal still won't light:
____ Let charcoal cool off and try later

After lighting:
____ Put matches out of the reach of children
____ Stay near the grill
____ Ensure children and pets stay away
____ Put on extra long oven mitt(s)
____ Use long-handled utensils

While grilling:
____ Once you've used a dish, etc. to hold raw meat (e.g., chicken, beef), don't use it for food which is ready to be eaten
____ Use medium heat - to help ensure meat/poultry is thoroughly cooked (- to reduce risk of food poisoning) without burning it (- to reduce risk of cancer)

After grilling:
____ Turn off gas controls
____ Turn off valve on gas tank
____ Refill tank if necessary
If you're going to store the tank:
____ Put a plug in the outlet
____ Don't store tank indoors, e.g., garage

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KITCHEN
Also see: COOKING, FOOD (Preparation), FREEZERS
Items to have available:
___ Bleach
___ Paper towels
___ Antibacterial soap - for washing hands
___ Meat thermometer which can be used on hamburgers, etc.

Organizing your kitchen:
___ Keep combustible items away from the stove, oven, toaster, etc., e.g., dish towels
___ Set up places for:
          - Treats (e.g., cookies, candy)
___ Put note next to treats: "Consider having fruit, vegetables and/or healthy snacks instead"

Upon bringing groceries home from the store:
___ Wash hands before and after handling raw meat and produce (fruits and vegetables)
___ Keep raw meat and produce separate from other foods, items and surfaces
___ Store raw meat and produce so that it won't contaminate other foods, items and surfaces
___ Wash hands after handling raw meat and produce

Cleaning your kitchen:
___ Use an anti-bacterial cleaner - to prevent spread of E. Coli, Salmonella, Listeria, etc.
___ Use 2 tablespoons of bleach with a quart of water to clean cutting boards, etc., then let sit for several minutes before rinsing bleach off

After cleaning:
___ To kill bacteria, place dish rags, sponges, etc. in either:
          - The dishwasher on the dry cycle (be sure to secure them)
          - The microwave for one minute on high

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RESTAURANTS

Before dining at a restaurant:
____ Be aware that most restaurants serve fattier foods than you prepare at home because they usually:
          - Use more high fat ingredients
          - Use high-fat cooking methods
          - Give you large portions
____ Check for rating by local health board and/or certificate(s)

If you plan to eat food from a buffet/salad bar:
____ Be aware that buffets/salad bars may be more likely to give you food poisoning than ordering from the menu
____ Plan to eat soon after the buffet/salad bar is set up - to reduce the amount of time bacteria has to develop on food - to reduce the number of other customers who might come infect the food

____ Wash your hands

Before ordering:
____ Ask server which menu items:
          - Are healthiest
          - They recommend
If you intend to order a steak:
____ Consider ordering a sirloin or filet mignon - less fatty than other steaks

After dining at a restaurant:
____ Leave a tip (15-20% of total bill) (unless the service was poor)

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