MY FAVORITE PART of the holiday season making your list and checking it twice, be
isn’t wrapping or unwrapping presents, trim- sure to include steps to ensure food safety.
ming the Christmas tree or singing carols. My “We think it’s important for our mem-favorite holiday tradition is eating! bers to realize that the risk of food-borne ill-
I love it all—from hams and yams to ness is nothing to be taken lightly,” says Craig
turkey thighs and apple pies to casseroles and Wilson, Costco’s assistant vice president of
egg rolls (yes, my family has unique holiday food safety. “Costco is continuing to develop a
eating traditions!). comprehensive program to ensure a safe food
But when it comes to eating, quality is supply. Unfortunately, there are no 100 per-
more important than quantity. When you’re cent foolproof methods of guaranteeing food
safety from supplier to the home. That’s why
it’s critical that all food is cooked properly.”
In an effort to keep the holiday eating sea-
son delicious and safeguarded, we’ve included
some clip-and-save food-safety tips.
—Mark E. Stroder
Use different-colored cutting boards
for raw and ready-to-eat items.
Cook. Cook to proper temperatures. Foods are properly cooked when
they are heated for a long enough
time—and at a high enough tempera-
Keeping holiday ture—to kill the harmful bacteria that
cause food-borne illness. Follow prod-
meals safe uct guidelines and use a thermometer
to check for doneness. Always probe
the thickest part of the food.
FOOD-BORNE ILLNESS is a frequent Chill. Refrigerate foods promptly.
uninvited guest during the holiday Cold temperatures keep most harmful
season, and it’s often a food handler bacteria from growing and multiplying.
who allows it to come in and set up Keep food out for no more than two
housekeeping. Though most food-borne hours after removing from heat or re-disease outbreaks occur in the summer, frigerator. Reheat all leftovers to 165°F.
the holidays warrant special attention Refrigerators should be set at 40°F and
because certain foods and food practices freezers at 0°F, and the accuracy of the
popular during the season can increase settings should be checked occasion-the risk. Hear are a few basic guidelines ally with a thermometer.—MES
to safeguard your family during the holiday season.
For comprehensive coverage of food
safety, including additional tips, go
Clean. Wash hands and surfaces that
come into contact with food often. Wash
hands for 20 seconds; always use soap
and hot water when washing Cook fish, shellfish, lamb and
hands, utensils, counters . beef to at least 145°F;
Separate. Don’t holding temperature for
cross-contaminate and all hot food is 140°F
allow bacteria to or above
spread from one food Pork (145°F)
product to another. Ground beef (155°F)
This is especially
true for raw meat, Poultry (165°F); also,
poultry and seafood. reheating temperature
for all foods
41°F and hotter
than 140° F
VANILLA MAY NOT have the seductive allure and star power of chocolate, but when it
comes to holiday baking, it plays a popular
and important supporting role.
For pastry chefs and home bakers alike,
vanilla is indispensable. Vanilla, usually in the
form of extract, enhances virtually every
recipe for baked goods and desserts.
Kirkland Signature™ 100% pure vanilla
extract is made from Bourbon beans from
the island of Madagascar, considered to be
the finest—and most expensive—in the
world. Madagascar Bourbon vanilla is noted
for its highly delicate rummy flavor, sweet
aroma and high vanillin content.
“Madagascar beans—which account for
the majority of the world’s vanilla supply—
are sweet and creamy in flavor,” says Tess
Wilkins of Costco corporate foods.
Why is pure vanilla the popular pick over
imitation vanilla? Tess explains, “The imitation vanilla extracts are made with synthetic
vanilla [from coal extracts or from glycoside
found in the sapwood of certain conifers]
and leave a bitter aftertaste. Pure vanilla has a
pleasant bouquet and a full, well-rounded
flavor that is not present in an imitation
Kirkland Signature vanilla can be used to
enhance the flavor of many foods and beverages, such as milkshakes, coffee, ice cream,
cakes, frostings, whipped cream and pies.
Vanilla is also a key ingredient in low-fat,
low-calorie recipes. Cutting fat often results
in a loss of flavor, but a little extra vanilla can
often compensate, adding flavor to low-fat baking. Extra vanilla also enhances sweetness in
recipes that have minimized sugar.
But don’t limit vanilla to desserts. Used
in very small amounts, pure vanilla can enhance the flavors of meat sauces, marinades,
vinaigrettes and many other foods both sweet
and savory, while softening harsher tastes.
Try a dash of it this holiday season in a
cup of hot chocolate.—MES