If you're inviting friends and family over for a New Year's bash, be sure you don't have any invisible party crashers.
Three who like to cause trouble are bacteria: staphylococcus aureus, clostridium perfringens and listeria monocytogenes. You can'tsee or taste them. The only way to ensure a healthy start to the new year is to follow these tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service.
It may sound simple, but wash your hands before and after handling food, and several times in between. Keep your work surfaces clean.
Cook foods thoroughly. All raw meat needs to be heated to an interior temperature of 145 degrees or higher. This is not the time to guess; use a food thermometer. Ground meats need to come to 160 degrees and poultry to 165 degrees.
Pulling out your largest containers may sound like a good idea to cut down on the number of times they need to be refilled. But from a food safety perspective it's risky. Instead, serve cold and room-temperature foods on several small platters. Keep one in the fridge, set one out and change the food out every two hours.
Another way to keep foods cold, 40 degrees or colder, is by nesting dishes in bowls of ice.
Hot foods can be kept at a safe temperature, 140 degrees or warmer, on warming trays, in slow cookers and buffet warmers.
Dinner in the Dark
Prosser High School senior Amanda Russell is organizing a Prosser Dinner in the Dark fundraiser for Jan. 13. Everyone attending will be blindfolded during the meal. Proceeds will benefit the Kennewick Edith Bishel Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
This is Russell's senior project at PHS. She's honoring the late Eileen Bradley, who was accidentally struck by a truck on Feb. 28 in Prosser. Bradley was blind since birth and lived in Prosser since 1971.
The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at Prosser High School, and the dinner will be prepared by Tuscany Downtown, a Prosser restaurant.
The event will include a silent auction and donations are welcome.
Tickets are $20 and available by calling 509-788-5946 or 509-786-3088. They also are available at the Sixth Street Art & Gift Gallery, 706 6th St., Prosser.
The book: The Science of Good Cooking by the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine.
Best for: Those who have ever wondered what makes cheese melt or if salty or low-salt marinades are better will enjoy learning the science behind great cooking without a lot of scientific jargon. The book includes more than 400 recipes to test out your newfound knowledge.
*Loretto Hulse: 582-1513