4 Barbecue Safety Tips from the USDA

4 Barbecue Safety Tips from the USDA

by Katie Waldeck

Independence Day is just around the corner. And, if you’re like millions of  Americans, you’ll spend your day grilling up some tasty foods with friends and  family. It’s certainly a fun time, but it’s also important to recognize the  possible dangers that exist in outdoor barbecues. Indeed, food safety is even  more important in the summer, when hot temperatures foster an ideal environment  for bacteria to grow at a faster rate.

Luckily, the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) has you covered,  with their helpful guide to preventing foodborne illnesses this 4th of July  holiday. Click through to check out their 4 basic tips for safer  grilling. For even more information on food safety, you can download the  USDA’s Ask Karen mobile phone app or check out the web version. You can also call the USDA hotline at  1-888-MPHotline.

1. Keep It Clean

Just because you’re cooking outdoors doesn’t mean you have to forgo the  cleaning you would do inside the house. If you don’t have access to clean water  during your barbecue, you can either bring some with you or use moist towelettes  and clean cloths to keep surfaces and utensils clean. Keep your hands clean  with hand sanitizer.

2. Keep Everything Separate

Have plenty of clean plates, utensils and platters on hand. Don’t ever reuse  platters or cutting boards that have been exposed to raw meat and poultry — if  there’s harmful bacteria present, it can contaminate even safely-cooked  food.

3. Make Sure Food is Cooked  Thoroughly

Meat and poultry can look perfectly done and safe to eat from the outside,  when, internally, that’s not the case.  Use a food thermometer to make  sure your food is cooked to a safe temperature. The USDA suggests the following internal temperatures:

  • Whole poultry: 165 °F
  • Poultry breasts: 165 °F
  • Ground poultry: 165 °F
  • Ground meats: 160 °F
  • Beef, pork, lamb, and veal (steaks, roasts and chops): 145 °F and allow to  rest at least 3 minutes.

You’ll also want to make sure that your hot food stays hot. Someone not ready  for that burger? Well, you can keep it hot by placing them on the side of the  grill and away from the coals.

4. Keep Food Chilled

Packing food into a cooler is the last thing you should do before leaving  your home for a barbecue. Have a thermometer in your cooler, and make sure  the temperature is always below 40°F. If you can, try to use one cooler for food  and one cooler for drinks. That way, you’ll be able to open up your drink cooler  as often as you like without exposing the food to warmer temperatures.

If it’s hot outside, make sure to keep your food in the cooler. Keep your  food out of the cooler for an hour at most. If you’re not sure how long a food  item has been sitting out in the sun, don’t take the risk. As the USDA says,  “when in doubt, throw it out!”

 

Chicken Soup for the Soul: On Becoming a Grandmother

Chicken Soup for the Soul: On Becoming a Grandmother

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandmothers

BY: Terrie Todd

Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.
~Welsh Proverb

I thought I was prepared. I was a mother, after all. I already knew what it meant to love someone so much it hurt. I understood the old adage that to be a parent is to walk around forever with your heart outside your body. I had written in my journal, revealing all the emotions I’d discovered tag-teaming in my heart: happiness, melancholy, anxiety, joy, anticipation, worry. I had seen the ultrasound pictures. I’d crocheted a soft, fuzzy blue blanket, patiently undoing all my bungled stitches and doing them over so it would be a perfect square. I had memorized the verses in Psalm 139 that tell how God wonderfully forms us in our mother’s womb. I had prayed for this child and for his parents daily since I learned of his existence. I had written letters to his mom and dad, assuring them how proud I was of them both, how I’d be as supportive as I knew how to be, how they would be excellent parents.

I’d prayed for myself, too. I’d wrestled with the idea that I was going to be a grandmother. Shouldn’t I be wiser first? Or sweeter? Or at the very least, a better cook? How exactly did one cram for this event? I had even admitted to myself that I would soon be sleeping with someone’s grandfather. That idea took a little getting used to, let me tell you! 

I had bragged to my friends. I had celebrated with my mother. I had gifted my daughter-in-law with maternity clothes and bought the most irresistible little stuffed puppy for the baby.

I had done all of that. I thought I was prepared.

The day he was born, I rode along with his other grandparents to the hospital to meet our mutual little descendant for the first time. We were told to wait in the hallway while the nurses finished up whatever they were doing with him and his mother in the room. While I waited, I studied the instructional posters on the walls, filled with advice for new parents. I remembered how challenging those first few days could be. Given the hospital rules, I fully expected that my first sight of my little grandson would be in his plastic baby bed and I was prepared. But when I turned around, I instantly knew that no amount of groundwork could have prepared me for that moment. Instead of the expected baby bed, I was beholding my own firstborn carrying his firstborn in his arms.

I came unglued. Part of me was carried back twenty-six years to the day I first laid eyes on my son. But those twenty-six years had passed in an instant, and here I was looking at the next generation, with the same dark skin and the same head full of thick, dark hair. He was beautiful and I was smitten. I didn’t even try to check the tears running down my cheeks as I held him in my arms and hugged his dad as tight as I could with the baby between us. What a cherished moment!

This little boy is about to turn three years old and now has a baby brother. Every day brings new adventures, new things to learn, new memories to make, and new opportunities to wonder at the marvelous work of our Creator. These little guys have taught me that sometimes stopping to watch ducks is more important than getting in out of the rain. They’ve uncovered my own impatient ways, the ones I thought I had overcome. They’ve reminded me that time spent cuddling a sleeping baby in a rocking chair trumps pretty much anything.

Most of all, I’ve come to realize that no matter how hard I tried, I could not have prepared to love someone so profusely, or to learn so much from someone so small.