- Meat and Poultry
- Fish and Shellfish
- Cream and Cream Products
- Eggs and Egg Whites
- Ice Cream
- Dairy Spreads
- Fruit, Fruit Products
- Sauces, Dressing, and Dips
- Condiments, Herbs & Spices, Spreads
- Ingredients for Cooking
- Prepared Foods
- Bakery Goods and Sweets
- Grains, Pasta, and Cereal
- FAQs on Bacteria
- What are bacteria?
- How can I avoid getting sick from a bacterial illness?
- How dangerous is a staph infection?
- Can I assume that if food smells bad its unsafe to eat and if it smells ok that it is safe to eat?
- How dangerous is botulism?
- How dangerous is listeria?
- How many types of bacteria are there?
- What foods are likely to be contaminated by listeria?
- What foods can give a person a staph infection?
- What foods can give a person botulism?
- Why do some bacteria make people sick?
- Why does refrigeration keep bacteria from multiplying?
- Can I avoid all contact with bacteria if I’m careful?
- How Many Bacteria Does It Take to Cause Illness?
- FAQs on Cookware
- Are Ceramic and Enamel Cookware Safe and Practical?
- Are Nonstick Coatings on Cookware a Health Risk?
- Do Cast Iron, Glass, Copper, and Titanium Cookware Have Any Disadvantages?
- Does Using Aluminum Cookware Increase the Chances of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease?
- Is Stainless Steel Cookware a Good Choice?
- Is the New Silicone Rubberized Cookware Safe?
- Nonstick Cookware: Is it Dangerous?
- What Brands of Cookware are Recommended by Experts?
- What Features Should I Look for When Selecting Cookware?
- What Should I Know about Selecting and Using Aluminum Cookware?
- FAQs about Definitions
- Exactly what is meant by the phrase perishable food?
- Defining Some Current Language about Food
- What Does the Word “Foodie” Mean? It Depends Who(m) You Ask
- What do “sell by,” “best by/before,” “use by” and “expiration” mean?
- What does the term shelf life mean?
- What's in Our Food? Maybe Processing Aids, Maybe not
- “Fresh,” “Natural,” “Processed”—What Do These Words Mean?
- FAQs on Dropped Food
- FAQs on Farmers' Markets
- Exactly what defines a farmers’ market?
- Farmers' Markets: Why They're So Popular; How to Find One Near Your Home
- How should I handle produce at home?
- What foods are sold with restrictions at a farmers’ market?
- What should I bring to the farmers’ market?
- What shouldn’t I do or eat at a farmers’ market?
- What signs indicate a sanitary farmers’ market?
- What time of day is it best to go to a farmers’ market?
- FAQs on Food-borne Illness and Mishandling of Food
- About how many cases of food-borne illness occur in the U.S. each year?
- Answer Key to “How Much Do You Know about Safe Handling of Food?”
- How Much Do You Know about Safe Handling of Food?
- I Left It Out Too Long! Can I Still Eat It?
- Should Your Grocery Card Track Food-Borne Illnesses?
- Sudden, Awful Intestinal Distress--Is it the Flu or a Foodborne Illness--or Both?
- What YOU Can Do to Avoid Food-borne Illness
- What does the phrase food-borne illness refer to?
- FAQs on Food Product Dating
- Are stores required, by law, to remove outdated items from their shelves?
- Do most consumers actually pay attention to the dating on foods?
- Does the “use by” date matter once the product is frozen?
- Is information on food longevity and safety available by phone?
- What are expiration dates?
- What do the terms closed dating and open dating mean?
- What if there is no date on a product, and I don’t remember if I bought it a month ago or ten years ago?
- What should consumers know about food product dating?
- When Did You Buy It? When Did You Open It?
- When to Throw Food Out? Not on the Use-By Date
- Who establishes these product dates?
- Who requires and regulates dating on foods?
- Why do “best by” and “use by” dates sometimes seem conservative?
- FAQs on Food Safety
- "Is It Safe To….?" FAQs Answered by our Advisory Board
- FAQs about Ground Beef, Seasonings, Olive Oil, Lemon Wedges, and Fish
- FAQs about Mushrooms: Are they Very Dirty or Very Clean?
- FAQs about Soft Cheeses--What's Safe, What Isn't
- FAQs on BPA: the attacks continue, but are they justified?
- FAQs on Food Safety and Nutrition
- FAQs on Raw Fruits and Veggies—the Answers Can Protect Your Wallet and Your Health
- FAQs: Cutting Boards and Kitchen Counters--Selection and Care
- Food Bars/Buffets in Supermarkets--Is the food safe? How can you tell?
- Food/Meat Thermometers—What You Need to Know
- How Long Should Cheese Be Aged? Will the Rules Be Changed?
- How Long Will They REALLY Last? Part I: Non-perishables
- How Long Will They REALLY last? Part II: Perishables
- Imported Foods—What’s Safe, What’s Risky?
- Is It Safe? Is It Nutritious? More Survey Answers from Scientists
- Is It Time to Switch to Pasteurized Eggs?
- Is the Food Safety Modernization Act Making Our Food Supply Safer?
- More FAQs about Minimum Safe Cooking Temperatures: Pork and Other Perishables
- Sushi: Why Such a Short Shelf Life?
- Winter Food Storage—Can I leave It in the Car or in the Garage?
- Would You—Should You—Do You--Eat Irradiated Food?
- FAQs on Food Wrapping
- Are any plastic wraps or containers really “microwave safe”?
- Are some plastic wraps more effective than others?
- Can I refrigerate meat and poultry in its store wrapping?
- Can I use plastic freezer bags to store produce in the fridge?
- Can chemicals leach unto food from plastic wrap or containers?
- Do coated plastic bags really help produce last longer?
- Does aluminum foil give foods a metallic taste?
- Does exposure to aluminum cause Alzheimer’s disease?
- Everything You Need to Know about Wrapping Food Right
- How should fruits be wrapped before refrigeration?
- Is it safe to use aluminum foil in a microwave oven?
- Should I wrap raw vegetables loosely or tightly before refrigerating?
- What are some advantages and disadvantages of aluminum foil?
- What produce needs to be wrapped before refrigerating?
- What’s better for wrapping food—plastic or aluminum foil?
- Why does foil sometimes darken, discolor, and leave black specks on food?
- Will a foil cover help keep foods on the table hot or cold?
- FAQs on Freezing Food
- FAQs on Leftovers
- FAQs on Mold
- What is mold?
- Does mold ever grow on nonperishable food?
- Can I remove a moldy part from food and eat the rest?
- About how many different kinds of molds are there?
- How can I avoid getting mold on my refrigerated food?
- Is mold always visible?
- Are any molds harmless?
- What food groups are most susceptible to mold?
- What kinds of illnesses can result from eating moldy food?
- What kind of packaging protects foods from mold?
- What other safety tips will help prevent mold from growing?
- Why are some molds dangerous?
- FAQs on Organic Food
- What Is Organic Food?
- Are Organic Methods More Humane to Animals?
- Does Conventional Food Have a Longer Shelf Life Than Organic?
- Does Organic Food Taste Better than Conventional Food?
- Is Organic Food More Nutritious Than Conventional Food?
- Is Organically Grown Food Better for the Environment?
- What Do the Various Organic Labels Mean?
- What Important Contributions Has the Organic Movement Made?
- Which Are Safer: Organic or Conventional Food Products?
- Will Organic Baby Food Make Baby Healthier?
- FAQs on Oxidation: How It Affects Foods
- FAQs about Plastic Products Used with Food
- Pyrex® Glassware: Is it safe to use?
- Are plastic bags safe to use in the microwave?
- Are some plastic wraps safer and/or more effective than others?
- Are there any health risks from reusing plastic water bottles by refilling them with tap water?
- Are we eating chemicals from plastics along with our food?
- Can I microwave food in my plastic containers?
- Does the plastic used in water bottles pose a health risk?
- If I heat food in an open can, will that cause the plastic lining to leach chemicals into the food?
- Is it safe to heat frozen entrées in their plastic containers and with their plastic wrap?
- Is it safe to use plastic wrap as a covering when microwaving food?
- Is it safe to wash and dry plastic plates, cups, containers, and utensils in the dishwasher?
- Is there good evidence that BPA is harmful to human health?
- Of the plastic products used to store, heat, or eat with (wraps, bags, containers, silverware, plates, etc.), which contain BPA?
- What is BPA?
- Why is so much of today’s food packaged in plastic?
- FAQs on Preservatives
- What are Preservatives?
- All things considered, is our food supply safer or less safe because of preservatives?
- Are the preservatives in hot dogs and similar products health risks?
- What preservatives are known to cause allergic reactions?
- What are some common preservatives used in food?
- What food groups commonly have preservatives in them?
- Why are preservatives added to food?
- Will the label on the product tell me if it contains a preservative?
- FAQs on Washing Produce: Why and How
- Other FAQs
- Can chicken soup really cure a cold?
- Is Chocolate Good For You?
- Can Science and Technology Help You Save Food Dollars?
- FAQs Answered By Our Board Scientists: on Chickens, Bananas, Old Salad Dressing, and More
- FAQs about Food Price Increases
- FAQs about Products We Use with Food
- FAQs about Shelf Life: Tortillas, Pancakes, Wine, and More
- Food Fraud: Are you paying for scallops and getting shark meat?
- Is Cheese Addictive? Only If You Eat It
- Missing Chickens: Where Have All the Small Ones Gone?
- Nine FAQs about Food Labels
- Quiz Yourself! Check Your Knowledge about Food Temperatures
- Scientists Answer Two FAQs about Egg Safety
- Should Sour Cream and Cottage Cheese Be Stored Upside Down?
- Some Shelf Life Info, General and Specific (Spirits, Defrosted Veggies, Green Tea, and More)
- Syrup from a Tree or from a Lab--Which Should You Pour on Your Pancakes?
- Ten FAQs about the Prickly Pineapple
- What's New in Food? IFT Expo Offers Tasty Innovations
- What's on the Menu in Cuba?
- What’s in My Water? Answers to FAQs
- What will you be dining on this year? Here are predictions from folks in the know
- FAQs on Bacteria
- Books: Food for Thought
- Food Safety
- It Says "Use By Tomorrow," But You Don't Have To
- Ten Tips for Consumer Food Safety
- Food Allergies: Recognizing and Controlling Them
- “Is It Spoiled?” When in Doubt, Check It Out
- How To Keep Your Cooler Cool
- Recent Recalls: Salmonella Threatens 100s of Products
- STOP! Don’t Rinse That Raw Chicken!
- Sous Vide—A Better Way to Cook?
- Why You Need a Safe Cooking Temperature Chart and How to Get One Right Now
- “Myth-information” about Food Safety: You’d Better Not Believe It
- After The Storm: What You Can Save and What You Must Throw Out
- How to Protect Your Food During a Power Outage
- Meet Your Beef--Via Bar Code Info
- Organic Food, GMOs, the Safety of American Food, the Value of Use-By Dates, and More--Scientists Tell Us What They Think
- Raw chicken, Leftovers, Deli Meats, and More-- What Surveyed Scientists Said
- Tips About 4 Popular Beverages: Wine, Coffee, Water, and Soda
- Tips on Reheating for Safe, Yummy Leftovers
- Tips on Water Safety During and After a Storm
- Introducing our Advisory Board Scientists
- Produce: Handling Tips
- Seasonal Tips
- A Novel Method for Cooking a Turkey
- Crock Pot Cooking Tips for that Ideal Winter Dinner
- Cucumbers: for Cool--and "Cool"--Summer Treats
- Going Away for All or Part of the Winter? Prepare Your Kitchen for your Absence
- How To Grill Safely During the Summer
- How do summer squash and winter squash differ?
- New Year’s Resolutions For a Safer Kitchen
- Preserve the Taste of Summer by Canning—But Do It Safely
- Summer Food Fests Offer Much More than Calories
- Summer Party Tips: Baby Carrots (Using for Dips) Hot Dogs (Ditching the Guilt), and Watermelon (Finding a Ripe One)
- Tailgating: How to Do It Right
- Tips on Keeping Your Summer Fruits Flavorful and Healthy
- Shelf Life Tips
- A Food App You're Apt to Like; A Brand-New Invention for Getting Shelf-Life Information
- Battling the Ripening of Bananas
- Food Preservation--Low-tech Past, High-Tech Present and Future
- From Purchase to Storage, Tips on Extending Shelf Life
- Pesto: Ingredients, Uses, Shelf Life, Contamination, and More
- Shelf Life of Foods: What You Need to Know
- Shellfish and Shelf Life Aid from the Canadian Maritime Provinces
- Tips for Carry-along Lunches for Work and School
- Tips for Freezing Food and Freezer Care
- Cooking Frozen Foods
- Freezers And Food Safety
- Freezers And Freezer Burn
- Freezers And Nutrient Retention
- How Often Should You Defrost And Clean Your Freezer?
- How To Defrost And Clean Your Freezer
- How To Defrost Frozen Foods
- How To Freeze Foods: The Quicker The Better
- How To Wrap Foods For The Freezer
- Refreezing Frozen Foods
- What You Can Freeze And What You Can't--Or Shouldn't
- Tips About Genetically Engineered Foods
- Tips for Grocery Shopping
- Tips for Holidays
- Answers to Questions about Thanksgiving Dinner
- Chocolate Is Even More Healthful Than You Thought
- Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day Without Cabbage Stink
- Everything You Need to Know about Cranberry Sauce
- Food-Related Gifts Recommended by Experts (2014)
- Halloween Treats Even Parents Will Love
- Kitchen Gifts that Really Please
- Kitchen Gifts that Really Work
- Our 2016 List of Gifts To Please Every Cook
- Spring Celebrations: What’s on Your Menu?
- Suggestions for Handling Your Child’s “Trick or Treat” Treasures
- Tips for Winter Holiday Meals
- What NOT to Do With Thanksgiving Dinner
- Yikes! The Turkey Is Done, But the Guests Are Delayed! How Do I Keep My Thanksgiving Dinner Warm?
- Tips on Kitchen Equipment
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- Food Safety Facts
- How To Clean The Refrigerator
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- How long can a pie be left unrefrigerated?
- Power Outage? Here’s What to Do with All That Food in the Fridge
- Proper Handling Of Produce In The Crisper(s)
- Proper Refrigeration Placement Of Raw Meat, Chicken, And Fish
- Six Tips for Extending the Shelf Life of Foods
- What Can and Can't Go In The Fridge Door
- Other Tips
- Microwave Cooking
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- Clever Inventions That Can Change Eating Habits
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- Food Definitions: Umami, Locavore, Fruit, Heirloom, and Artisan
- Hot Dogs: What You Should Know about Them
- If You Don't Know Beans about Beans...
- In Defense of Processed Food
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- Organic Farming and Organic Food: What Are the Benefits?
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- Ten Exotic Fruits: Novel Treats to Drink and Eat
- Tips on Fishing and on Selecting Healthful Fish
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Kitchen Gifts for Newlyweds or New Grads
Bridal showers, weddings, college graduations, housewarming parties--all these suggest that a kitchen gift would be appreciated. Often, there are store gift registries and Amazon wish lists to consult, but sometimes you can't find an item in your price range on these lists, or perhaps you want to give something original, something the bride or the grad moving into his/her own residence hasn't realized is needed. Here are some suggestions from our Advisory Board scientists and other sources. To find out where they're sold (if not mentioned), just google the product name.
Prices or price ranges are indicated for most products. These are included just to give you a general idea of cost. Remember that online prices may change daily even on the same site, and different sites offer different prices and special sales. It pays to browse.
Joseph Joseph Nest 5-Piece Utensil Set: This set includes 5 items--a slotted spatula, spaghetti server, slotted spoon, solid spoon, and ladle. The set has a compact, self-supporting design. The items are all held together by small magnets in the handles, which saves countertop space. Amazon's price: $23.41
Betty Crocker 20-piece Kitchen Starter Set: $100.00
Anchor Hocking 10-piece Mixing Bowl Set: $39.95
(See these 3 and other kitchen necessities on EverythingKitchens.com)
Food thermometer: Food scientist Dr. Karin Allen reminded us about this kitchen essential. To read about the different types, go to the USDA article "Types of Food Thermometers." A digital thermometer is the way to go since it's faster. My favorite is the CDN DTQ450X ProAccurate Quick-Read Thermometer, I use it almost every day--even to take the temp of my scrambled eggs! Amazon price: $15.52
Silicone Kitchen Utensils: Various kitchen tools are made from wood, metal, or plastic. The newer silicone ones have these advantages: they're good-looking, available in cheerful bright colors; they're heat-resistant; they won't scratch your non-stick cookware; they're difficult to stain. Dr. Allen recommends these for the reasons stated above and because "silicone cookware is much easier to keep clean and bacteria-free than wood, plastic, or even metal." Rachel Ray has a whole line of these, and many well-known companies make silicone utensils. Products include pot holders and mats.
In 2005, Yahoo! voices published an article entitled "The Lowdown on Silicone Bake Ware." The author tried several silicone kitchen items and discussed his experiences. In general, he liked the products. Three of the ones I own (the spatula, turner, and basting brush shown in the photo) have been just fine (even the basting brush, which I wasn't sure would work as well as models with traditional bristles).
My favorite pitcher: It's called the Ona pitcher, and you can see it on the Crate and Barrel site. It's described as having an off-center handle. I prefer to say it has no handle. By that I mean there's no handle sticking out to bang against the side of the sink and break. (I've lost many a pitcher that way.) It's also aesthetically pleasing. I've given this inexpensive item as a gift many times. One of my friends loves hers so much that she displays it as a decorative piece rather than using it to serve drinks. In addition to Crate and Barrel, Bed, Bath, and Beyond also carries it. It comes in two sizes; the larger one is more useful, I think. $24.95
Novel Utensils and Ideas
Marinade Express: Food process engineer Dr. Timothy Bowser recommended this one. Warning: it's expensive. To get the whole story, go to marinadeexpress.com. Here's a brief summary: This item is a tabletop vacuum tumbler that marinates food in minutes. The site says it's faster and easier to use and makes food tender, juicy, and flavorful. It "quickly infuses natural flavor, antioxidants, and moisture deep into protein tissues." The tumbler costs $299.99. The marinades are sold separately. A 12-pack of assorted marinades sells for $24.99.
HAPIfork: This product is discussed in an April 2013 Shelf Life Advice article entitled "Clever Inventions That Can Change Eating Habits." It won't be available until perhaps September. Be careful about whom you give it to since it's an item designed to help people lose weight (or to aid folks with digestive problems). It tells you if you're eating too fast, but it's high tech and can do much more. See our article or the HAPIlab website for more info.
A Basket of Goodies: Food scientist Dr. Catherine Cutter recommends making your own gift basket of some food pairings recommended by experts-- such as a particular wine and chocolate or beer and cheese combos). Another idea from Dr. Cutter: Pack up a variety of wines and label them for specific celebrations in the newlyweds' future--their one-month and one-year anniversaries, their first New Year's Eve as a married couple, and perhaps the birth of their first child. One married couple I know celebrates annually their "meetaversary;" a special wine would be good for that occasion, too, though the bride and groom would have to insert the date. Wine doesn't have to be expensive to be good. Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich recommends a French white wine, Domaine de Pouy 2011, which she found on sale at Whole Foods for $7.99.
The above suggestions from Dr. Cutter remind me of my Aunt Florence, who used to arrive at every bridal shower with an enormous box filled with a zillion individually-wrapped small kitchen gadgets that every household needs. It was fun to watch the bride dig in and unwrap all these.
A gift for new campers: Crossover kitchen kits, listed on Everything Kitchens and Amazon, have all the cooking utensils needed for a camping trip. They come in a lightweight wet-dry tote. Prices start at about $30.
A great stove for tailgaters and other campers: Dr. Cutter highly recommends this item: the Camp Chef Outdoor Camp Oven with Grill (listed for $257.99 on this site). It's also listed on meatprocessingproducts.com for $195.95 for the site's spring sale.
Products with Kid Appeal
Ice cream maker: There are many on the market. We saw some ranging in price from $24.99 to $69.99. Some can make both ice cream and sorbet; some make ice cream and gelato. Kids can have fun learning to make frozen desserts, but so can adults. I know. My husband enjoyed it.
Color-changing straws, spoons, and cups: Some color-changing items can add a surprise to a child's birthday party, and one of these can even be the take-home gift for each child. You can get a look at these on the frozen solutions website.
Cookbooks for kids: To reach the Shelf Life Advice list of cookbooks for kids, go to "Kids and Cooking: A Good Combo." You should be able to find the prices online.
Cookbooks for the avid griller: Since it's now high grilling season, we're passing on the recommendations from the Chicago Tribune for these three new titles: All Fired Up (by the editors of Southern Living with Troy Black, $24.95), Where There's Smoke (by Barton Seaver, $30), and The Grilling Book (by Adam Rapoport, $45).
Cookbooks for special interests and diets: When buying a cookbook for a gift, we suggest buying one recently published so that you don't duplicate what the recipient already has. Browse online to find the gift that matches your friend's dietary restrictions for medical reasons, self-imposed limitations, ethnic favorites, or special cooking interests. A new title for those who need to avoid gluten is Cooking for your Gluten-free Teen by Carlyn Berghoff. It can tell you how to make gluten-free pasta and pizza, among many other dishes. Amazon's price is $13.45; it's available on Kindle for $9.99.
Michael Pollan's new book: Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivore's Dilemma) has a new book out: Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. For your friends with a serious interest in what people eat and how it's prepared, this would be a good gift. $27.95
My favorite gift book about food: It's entitled Lobsters Scream When You Boil Them and 100 Other Myths about Food and Cooking. In addition to humorous discussions of the myths, the book contains 25 recipes. Amazon's price: $6.40
If the preceding suggestions don't have what you want, other Shelf Life Advice sources to consult are "Kitchen Gifts That Really Work" and "A Potpourri of Gadget Gifts for the Kitchen." (Note: a few items from the second article may no longer be available. Check online.)
Whatever gift you select, it shouldn't be about what you would enjoy having; rather, it should show that you were thinking of the needs and tastes of the recipient. If you like the item, go ahead and buy it for your own kitchen!
Karin E. Allen, Ph.D., Utah State University, Dept. of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences
Timothy J. Bowser, Ph.D. , Oklahoma State University, Dept. of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
Catherine N. Cutter, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, Dept. of Food Science
Chicago Tribune "From lake to poetry, here's help to savor the slide into summer" by Mary Schmich, May 26, 2013
Chicago Tribune "Lighting the way: 3 new cookbooks guide your grilling"
May 22, 2013