How to Avoid Poisoning Your Guests!
If it’s not your worst nightmare, it must come close. Picture the scene – you’ve spent a week or more planning your dinner party right down to the very last detail, from the intricacies of the menu, to the smart, sexy but cooking spills-friendly outfit. The night’s a huge success; you’ve even matched two of your single friends. Then someone asks if you’re feeling ok and you mutter something about too much wine. Your tee-total friend is also feeling unwell, though, and soon it becomes clear that you’ve given all your guests more than just a good time.
If that rings some bells you’ll benefit from a quick summary of how to keep and cook some of the foods most likely to cause you a problem, particularly if you’re rushing or trying to play host or hostess while preparing a menu you may not be used to. It’s all too easy to focus on the way your food looks and tastes on the plate, but make food safety your primary concern and you’ll serve up a meal that won’t come back to haunt your guests.
Trolley DashCareful handling of meat begins way before you begin to cook it, and even before you bring it home. At the supermarket make sure you pack raw meat products separately, especially from foods you intend to eat raw, like fruit and vegetables. It’s not uncommon to come across leaking packaging in supermarkets, so packing these products in another plastic bag will help to prevent contamination. Adopt the same principle when storing items in your fridge and place raw meat and fish on the bottom shelf where it can’t drip down on to other foods.
Cold CutsWhen you freeze meat check how long it can safely be kept, and make sure you eat it or throw it out by that date. Write a note on the packaging so that you don’t forget how long a product has been kept. Wrap meat in material specifically designed for freezing, too. It’s important to follow the package instructions for defrosting – generally you’ll need to defrost meat products overnight in your fridge, rather than on a worktop where bacteria can flourish. Once defrosted, don’t keep raw meat longer than 24 hours and don’t re-freeze it.
Clean SweepIt goes without saying that when you’re preparing any food you must wash your hands well before you start. If you’re working with raw meat, make sure you also wash them afterwards to avoid spreading harmful bacteria to other foodstuffs. Use separate chopping boards for raw meat and fish, keeping them clean and away from surfaces used for preparing vegetables or salads and anything else that won’t be cooked. Be fastidious about worktop cleanliness, too, as a damp cloth serves simply to move bacteria all around your kitchen. Antibacterial wipes are a great addition to your cleaning regime.
If you follow these guidelines you can be confident that you won’t risk poisoning your guests. We want to make sure you host an evening that’s going to be talked about for all the right reasons.