Get Kids in the Kitchen This Holiday

Old-Fashioned Christmas Butter Cookies

Image by Sifu Renka via Flickr

Are you saying, “but it takes too long to work with my kids in the kitchen”, or “it’s too messy when they help me”? In her book, Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun, Amy Houts says that with a little planning and imagination, you can make holiday baking stress-free and enjoyable. The part children will remember is that they were able to “help” you in the kitchen.

Some points to remember when working with children:

  • Read through the recipe completely from top to bottom. Talk about the recipe. Explain what you will do and what the child will do. Know what needs to be done first, second, and so on.
  • Emphasize hand washing. Be a role model for your child. Practice food safety.
  • Collect all of the ingredients and tools that you need before you begin.
  • Measure everything carefully.
  • Clean up as you go.

Using this strategy, will help make cookie baking or any food work much more pleasant and enjoyable.

To your cooking enjoyment,

Lee Jackson, food writer

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How to Help Prevent the Spread of Viruses and Bacteria in your Kitchen

Paper towel roll on stand
Image via Wikipedia

All too often we allow viruses and bacteria to invade by not washing our hands, undercooking food, leaving food set out too long, and allowing meat juice to drip on counters or cutting boards.

Here are tips for helping prevent the spread of viruses and infections while preparing food for your family.

Wash your hands often. Especially wash with hot soapy water before preparing food, after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling pets. Using a simple chemical-free soap will help decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus or infection to your nose, mouth, or to other people. An antibacterial soap is not necessary.

Keep raw meat, poultry, and fish and their juices away from other food. Do not use the same cutting board for meat and then use it for cutting up vegetables before thoroughly scrubbing it. You must wash your hands, cutting board, and knife in hot soapy water before using it to dice salad ingredients. Using a disinfectant on the cutting board such as is described in the last tip in this article is helpful. Washing hands often after handling raw meat is important.

Use a plastic cutting board rather than a wooden board. Bacteria can hide in the grooves of the wood. However, if using a wooden board, wash in hot soapy water and disinfect using the method described below.

If you are marinating meat, place it in the refrigerator and not on the kitchen counter.

Use plastic gloves while preparing food if you have a cut or sore on your hands.

Thaw food in the refrigerator and not on the kitchen counter. Bacteria can grow on the warmer outer layers of the food before the inside thaws.

Kitchen towels, sponges and cloths must be washed often. Sponges can be washed in the dish washer when using the hot cycle. Replace them often.

Keep all counter and food preparation areas clean. Use a reliable disinfectant and wipe dry with a clean towel or paper towel. To prepare your own disinfectant, use 3 percent hydrogen peroxide that is not more than six months old as it will have lost its fizzle then. First spray this on the counter, unless it is a granite or marble counter or other material not recommended for this. Then fill a second 32-ounce bottle with 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar, filling rest of bottle with distilled water. Spray the surface first with hydrogen peroxide and then follow with the vinegar solution. Wipe dry with clean cloth.

Help keep your kitchen clean and safe.

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