If turkey, chicken or another bird is on your menu this holiday season, follow this tip from the U.S. Department of Agriculture: don't rinse it before cooking.
A food safety expert at Drexel University in Philadelphia found that washing raw poultry doesn't kill or remove bacteria, but actually spreads it around the kitchen.
Cooks began rinsing their birds to remove the sliminess that can come with commercial packaging. Others wipe raw birds with vinegar or lemon juice.
None of these practices are recommended by the USDA. Instead, to minimize the spread of bacteria, be sure to wash your knives, cutting boards and other surfaces with hot, soapy water.
Don't let raw poultry or its juices touch other foods, and wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
Cooking poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees, as measured with a food thermometer, will kill any bacteria.
'Tis the season for baking. To ensure your cookies and cakes come out perfectly, follow these tips from What's Cooking America.
It may sound too simplistic, but be sure to read the recipe all the way through to be sure you have everything you need. Baking isn't like making a soup, where you can wing it if you don't have an ingredient. Baking is chemistry and demands accuracy.
Assemble all the bowls, measuring cups and pans you will need before starting a recipe.
Use the correct size pan or dish. Measure across the top of the container from inside edge to inside edge. The depth also is measured on the inside from the bottom to the rim.
Measure carefully and be sure liquids and solids are evenly leveled off. Use measuring spoons, not tableware, for teaspoons and tablespoons.
The book: Good Housekeeping Step by Step Cookbook by Susan Westmoreland and the editors at Good Housekeeping.
Best for: If there's a novice cook on your shopping list, this is a cookbook they'll reach for time after time for years to come. The cooks at Good Housekeeping have included 1,000 time-tested recipes along with 1,800 photos showing how to execute hundreds of cooking techniques. There are charts for cooking times for a wide variety of foods, advice for entertaining and even tips on choosing wines to go along with your meal.
-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive a recipe via email each Tuesday, register at tricityherald.com and click on newsletters. If you already are registered, click on edit account and newsletters to select Recipe of the Week. This exclusive recipe does not appear in the newspaper.