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Serving Up Memorable Holiday Dishes

With the holiday season right around the corner, friends and family begin to fill their schedule with parties and celebrations.  Gatherings are accessorized with new found recipes and family favorites.  As dishes of diverse presentation make their way to the table, the possibility of foodborne illness follows.

Start food preparation with clean hands and a sanitized work area.  Refrain from putting prepared foods on plating used for raw foods without washing and sanitizing them.  Never partially cook a dish and continue cooking to temperature upon arrival.  As your shopping for all the menu items, invest in a food thermometer and make sure foods are cooked to the proper temperature.

Social gatherings often fill an afternoon or evening and often the table of food stays as long.  Prevent foodborne illnesses by making sure the food is attended to throughout the event.  Food should be refrigerated or frozen within two hours, unless the temperature is above 90 degrees, then it should be properly stored after an hour.  Hot foods should remain at a temperature above 140º F and cold dishes should remain at 40º F.  Always keep foods out of the danger zone (40º – 140º F).

Stock up on shallow storage containers to pack up the leftovers.  Food stored in shallow containers can be reheated to 165º F with consistency through the dish, avoiding under cooked leftovers (USDA, 2011).

As you review your calendar and prepare your holiday traveling menu, prepare to serve your dish for everyone to enjoy.  From sanitary preparation areas to serving leftovers, keep your friends and family healthy this festive holiday season.

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