Do you ever taste cookie dough? Licking the mixing spoon or pinching a chunk of batter from the bowl can be tempting. If you said "Yes, I taste raw cookie dough," give yourself a pat on the back for your honesty. Now I need to tell you to avoid the temptation of tasting raw doughs and batters and take some extra precautions when baking.
Do you recall your first experience with pizza? The first time I tried pizza, at about age 5, I was not sold on it. In fact, I couldn't imagine why anyone wanted to eat it on a regular basis. I was enticed by TV ads that said pizza made from the kit being advertised was "scrumptious." I wasn't exactly sure what that word meant, but I figured that meant it was pretty good.
"Please enjoy these fresh pickles. Your food will be out shortly," the server said as she placed a plate of cucumber slices in front of us. They were sprinkled with dill weed and had a nice crunch. I was in a restaurant in another state, and the somewhat sweet yet vinegary flavor and crisp texture made me nostalgic for home. The pickles were very tasty and soon the serving plate was empty.
"My brother cleaned out his refrigerator after listening to you," my husband told me. "What do you mean?" I responded. My brother-in-law lives in California. I didn't remember being "the bossy sister-in-law" or food police lately. "He was listening to a radio program streamed on the internet this morning," my husband responded. "You were talking to a local station about how long food can be stored in the refrigerator." Sometimes I forget what a technological world we inhabit.
"We're going to have cold soup," I said to my older daughter and husband. We were in our kitchen talking about the upcoming evening meal. "Gross," my daughter remarked. She likes soup but expects it to be hot. I gathered tomatoes, red and green peppers, celery, an onion, a lemon and a cucumber, along with two cutting boards and two knives. I began rinsing all the produce under cool water. "I suppose we will be eating this for a week," my husband grumbled as he noted the lineup of colorful produce on the cutting boards.
The other day I was at my desk at work, talking to my computer screen, but I wasn't just being the "absent-minded professor." I actually had an audience sitting in a room across the state. Grilling fruits and vegetables was the topic of my webinar. I mentioned grilling watermelon to the audience because I had read the morning newspaper. Coincidentally, a local writing duo had featured grilled watermelon in their column. My listeners became very interested in grilled watermelon. They wanted details.
"For roll call, please say your favorite vegetable," our club officer announced. I was at a meeting of PEO, which is a philanthropic educational organization for women. We in Chapter V are getting to know each other a little better every month by answering questions for roll call. The officer stated green beans as her favorite. Then someone announced "rhubarb" as her favorite vegetable. "Isn't rhubarb a fruit?" another person asked. Then the laughter and spirited discussion began.
I answer a lot of questions by phone and email, and food storage questions usually top the list. "I picked up food at a fast-food restaurant for my daughter, and the milk container had a date that is three months from now," the male caller said. "Is that true? I didn't think she should drink it." "I bet it was UHT milk," I replied. "That means it is ultra-high-temperature pasteurized. UHT milk is sterile. It lasts a long time and doesn't require refrigeration. "Check that the label says 'UHT' to be sure, but it should be fine to drink," I added.