Kitchen Gifts that Really Please

teamakerLet's face it, gift-giving can be a chore.  Even now, when online buying lets you avoid store lines, it's often difficult to decide what to give.  It's not always easy to think of items that the folks on your gift list will want and/or need.  And, admit it, you also want your gifts to show what a clever and imaginative gift-giver you are.  Shelf Life Advice is here to help. 

 

Since everyone eats, let's think food and cooking utensils--items that help a chef handle foods more safely, easily, or successfully.  Here are our 2013 gift suggestions, gleaned from our Advisory Board scientists, various publications, online sites, and our own huge collection of gadgets. In this list, you may find appropriate gifts for winter holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, house-warming, even grab bags. 

Tips for Winter Holiday Meals

New Years Eve party toastFrom eggnog to fruitcake and all that’s served in between, our Advisory Board members have provided tips to help make your holiday feast(s) safe and tasty. So let’s get started on our journey through the traditional holiday dinner.

 

BEVERAGES

Food process engineer Dr. Tim Bowser provides these tips on handling the season’s traditional alcoholic beverages.

 

Making and storing eggnog:

Of course, you can buy non-alcoholic eggnog in almost every grocery store this time of year and then add the alcohol. But if you want to make your own, you’ll find some of my favorite recipes are available at the following links.

Our Board Scientists Answer Questions about Corn, Milk, and Sour Cream

Wonder no more.  The answers to  some common  kitchen questions (mine and yours) are paraphrased directly below the questions, thanks to the five scientists who serve on the Shelf Life Advice Advisory Board. I think you'll find their responses useful and enlightening.

Using a Turkey Fryer: Tips and Warnings

Turkey FryerThere have been a lot of advancements in turkey fryers over the years, and I think that in general, the newer fryers are much safer than the older, open-pot, open-flame models. At least one manufacturer offers an oil-free turkey fryer (www.masterbuilt.com), which looks a lot more like a smoker than a fryer to me, but it must be safer than the oil-filled alternative!

 

Electric turkey fryers have the advantage of no open flame to possibly ignite the oil.  This is why many can be used indoors. Also, the temperature controls on an inexpensive electric-powered home fryer are more likely to be automated than on the gas version. Finally, the indoor turkey fryers can be used for conveniently frying other foods plus many can be used for steaming too. One negative aspect of frying indoors is the odor and airborne oil particles that invade your home.

What NOT to Do With Thanksgiving Dinner

TurkeyNo one wants to share Thanksgiving dinner with unwanted, invisible visitors—the kind that can sneak in and cause food-borne illness. But you can keep bacterial growth at bay by following these recommendations from food safety experts.

Yikes! The Turkey Is Done, But the Guests Are Delayed! How Do I Keep My Thanksgiving Dinner Warm?

Woman serving Thanksgiving TurkeyThe turkey is done, but where are the guests? Winter weather and too much traffic can slow down cars and planes. And then there are those who live around the corner from you but are chronically late for everything. Don’t invite them next year. Find prompter friends. But that doesn’t solve this year’s problem: how to keep food at a safe and appetizing temperature while waiting for dilatory diners. This article will cover holding techniques used by experts.  But first, some basics about food safety and the definition of a cooked turkey.

Everything You Need to Know about Cranberry Sauce

CranberriesIf there are no cranberries on the table, it can’t be Thanksgiving, right? That’s true now, but maybe not for the Plymouth colonists. They didn’t have enough sugar to make the sweetened cranberry sauce that’s on every holiday table today. If they had cranberries at all, they probably put them in the turkey stuffing, which you can do, too, if you’re striving for a very authentic meal. At any rate, cranberries in some form are a must on this holiday, so read on for facts about proper preparation of the popular Thanksgiving side dish, cranberry sauce.

Suggestions for Handling Your Child’s “Trick or Treat” Treasures

SweetsChances are, your kids will come home from trick-or-treating too tired to eat much of the junk they collected. (We hope so anyway.)  But, in the weeks ahead, they may be snacking on it all afternoon and evening if you let them.  Here are some post-Halloween suggestions for dealing with that stash of sweets hidden under their beds.

Halloween Treats Even Parents Will Love

HalloweenWhat a dilemma! You don’t want to contribute to the junk food or childhood obesity problems now rampant in the U.S., but you have to hand out something kids will consider a treat and something their parents will allow them to eat.  Here are some suggestions:

USDA Offers Food Safety Tips for Areas Affected by Hurricane Maria

The National Hurricane Center expects Hurricane Maria to affect Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as an extremely dangerous major hurricane tonight and Wednesday.

 
 

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