September 7th 2010
If you are almost always the host in parties for family and friends, you should have knowledge of the food safety guidelines for many reasons. For one thing, your guests’ welfare is in your hands while in your home, which include safety from the health complications of food poisoning. For another thing, food safety guidelines are also a big factor in making food taste delicious and look attractive, two things that you want guests to compliment you on.
We can say that food safety comes first and food taste will come after it has been achieved. There are for main principles to follow when cooking for yourself and for others during parties – clean, separate, chill and cook. You need not worry as these principles can be applied in simple but effective ways in the home without the necessity of going to culinary school.
You have to clean all the equipment from the spoons and forks to the pots and pans used during the cooking and serving process. You may have to sterilize these cooking utensils and equipment but your conscientiousness will pay off most handsomely. Naturally, your kitchen must be clean as well – no cockroaches, no rats and no other disease-carrying pests.
You must also wash your hands before, during and after cooking. To paraphrase the old adage, too many unwashed hands spoiled the broth simply because the bacteria, germs and other unhealthy microorganisms are transferred from one dish to the next primarily through your hands.
You must separate the equipment like the cutting boards, knives and even sponges for poultry, meat and seafood on one hand and fruits, vegetables and herbs on the other hand. Keep in mind that raw meat contains bacteria that can contaminate fresh produce, the latter of which is often raw or cooked in a lesser time that the former.
You may think that it is a hassle to keep separate equipment for the two food categories. Again, we prefer a few minor inconveniences for the greater good of your guests.
You have to chill the prepared foods, leftovers and other perishables within two hours after preparation or purchase. If possible, we suggest marinating foods before placing in the refrigerator as the natural preservatives in the marinate help in keeping the food fresh and safe for consumption.
We cannot overemphasize the need to load the refrigerator according to its capacity and to load the foods in the refrigerator according to the ideal temperature. For example, poultry requires placement in the freezer while fresh produce are in the refrigerator.
You should follow the instructions on the cookbook about the oven temperature or the number of minutes for cooking. You must know by now that meat and fresh produce have different cooking temperatures and times for good reasons.
And of course, make sure that you serve food according to the way it is recommended by the recipe. Serve food like soups hot with the use of chafing dishes, warning trays and crock pots and keep food like ice cream cold by storing in the freezer before serving. After all, the delicious taste of food also depends on the way it is served.
In the end, you want to ensure food safety balanced with food flavor. If you can balance these two aspects of food preparation, you are a great host.