Turkey Talk: 8 cooking tips for a safe meal

Turkey Talk: 8 cooking tips for a safe meal

It’s that time of the year again.

Whether you’re hosting a holiday party or not, you’re bound to end up having to cook something.

Did you know, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, kitchen fires triple on Thanksgiving day?

“Nobody wants to be the person who caused the family to get sick or hurt,” says Dr. Jacqueline Ivey-Brown, an internal medicine physician at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill.

Follow these tips from Dr. Ivey-Brown for a safe, happy and delicious holiday:

  1. Wash your hands! It can’t be said enough that this is the best way to avoid contamination of food. Also, wash vegetables before cooking to try and remove as much soil and bacteria from the products as possible.
  2. Keep meat prep surfaces either separate from vegetables, or clean the surface thoroughly before switching to prepare a different food – this prevents the spread of bacteria.
  3. If frying a turkey, make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry. Any water on the poultry can cause the oil to bubble and splatter on the skin, resulting in minor to severe burns. If a minor burn occurs, make sure to rinse the affected area in cool water and apply a cool compress to the area for about ten minutes. Apply a loose-fitting bandage over the injury and avoid breaking any blisters that may form. When in doubt about how serious a burn is, see your primary care doctor to make sure there are no signs of a skin infection.
  4. It’s common to walk away after everyone has eaten at the table to enjoy family games, football and graze on leftovers over the course of the evening. However, remember that most cooked food should be refrigerated after two hours to prevent infection from foodborne illnesses such as Salmonella.

Dr. Emelie Ilarde, a family medicine physician with Christ Medical Center, has hosted over a dozen Thanksgiving dinners in her lifetime – and that’s just one holiday!

She recommends the following holiday cooking tips:

  1. For starters, don’t forget to tie your hair back and roll up your sleeves. The last way you want to kick off the holiday season is by catching on fire.
  2. If you’re going to be defrosting foods, do so in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. Do not defrost on the countertop at room temperature.
  3. Stuffing is a popular holiday food item, but make sure it is cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees. Otherwise, bacteria can and most likely will survive in the stuffing and potentially cause food poisoning.
  4. Burns are one of the most common cooking injuries we see. Always use oven mitts, keep an eye on oil and heat it slowly. Never add water to hot oil, and hold the pot handle when stirring items so that they don’t slip off the burner.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.