Nov 24, 2021 5:00 PM

🎙Post Podcast: Small steps keep food safe during Thanksgiving holiday

Posted Nov 24, 2021 5:00 PM

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Transcript

James Bell 

Small steps can help keep food safe during the holiday weekend, Glen McNeil, from Fort Hays State University stops by to talk to us about that on his nutrition health and wellness segment on this episode of the Post Podcast.

Glen McNeil 

We are a social people, you know, they call social animals we are because we like to get together. And one of the things that generally happens when we get together is food. Because food shows comfort, it shows love, it shows respect, you know, it shows that we like and enjoy the people we're around. So we offer them something, and then that encourages them to stay for longer periods of time. And, and visit and so you know, we have a lot of food and holidays and, and a lot is what tends to be there and it tends to be around quite a bit. And since you know we're off, so to say work, or we're with family, we tend to spend a lot more time sitting in the same locale. And that's when we find more snacking going on. And a lot of times, especially when you look at Thanksgiving, somebody does a really good job on making a particular order or a particular dessert or whatever that that food item it is. And we as individuals feel whether we acknowledge it or not, we feel a little bit of responsibility to eat something of everything. Now, except me, I don't eat sweet potatoes. So I don't like sweet potatoes. So how can you not okay, well, we'll talk that would be a whole two or three days.

James Bell 

We got to know the story behind that.

Glen McNeil 

Well, they're good for you. Okay, we're good for well, they're good for you in the fact of like any potato, they're good for you if you just eat the potato. But when you put all those other toppings and sweets and marshmallows and brown sugar, you sort of take away the good from it, and they're good source of vitamin A good, they're good source of beta carotene if you skins are a good source of fiber. So you know all of that I know that I just don't really like sweep. So okay, why do you do that? And I guess that's true. I tell my wife that. So she makes it every year. And they she says they're good. So I'll buy into that. But in other words, we we feel a responsibility to eat something that people repair to show that. Oh, well, thank you for bringing it. Yes, it's, it's good. Yes, I respond to the love and time you put into that food product. And so at Thanksgiving, of course, you know, it's traditional Turkey in a traditional meal. So first thing is, if you have not yet been to Turkey, good luck. Okay, they're tough to get right now the stores have them. Prices are up a little bit. We haven't seen any of these fantastic Turkey sales we've seen in the past, but kind of like everything else that's going on right now. It's tough to get items and products like that. So if you haven't watched turkey for, you know, a week from in essence a week from today, probably got to get your shopping done, okay to do that. And then if you're going to cook your turkey, next Thursday, take it home and put it in the refrigerator. Okay, don't put it in the freezer, it's gonna take a while for that to thaw out. Right. And we usually say about seven days, okay. And depending upon the size of the bird, you know, if you get a, if you get a, you know, a 15 to 20 pound bird, it's probably gonna take about seven days, in the average refrigerator, when you put it in the refrigerator, put it on a pan, put it on the bottom shelf. Okay, make sure there's no raw food product or anything below it, just in case those juices would have to spill over the pant would spill over the pan a little bit because like any poultry, you have the concern of salmonella, okay. But they're usually you know, in a plastic case or whatever. And part of the reason it takes so long for them thaw out, they're big. They're frozen all the way through, and you leave them encased in that wrapping. Okay, you don't want to unwrap it and put it in the refrigerator laying out, you leave it in case in the wrapping. So that kind of traps some of that cold in there in that process. So give it a good, I mean, now's a good time to put it in there. Give it seven days or so to thaw out. And if your refrigerator is not one that gets opened frequently, it may take a little longer than the recommended time that's on the turkey or the information because the temperature of the refrigerator doesn't go up and down very much. Terry and I learned that a few years ago with the kids all gone. You know the refrigerator doesn't get open as much as it used to. So it takes an extra day or two for our turkey to thaw out. So ours is sitting in the refrigerator now getting ready for we're going to host it next weekend. So we're giving it about 10 days to get good and thought out and you're okay so long as it sits in there and thaws. Depending upon how you're going to cook it then that that has an effect to the popular method these days is deep frying your turkey. Biggest key when you deep fry that Turkey is make sure it's completely thawede out. Okay, there's no water and there's no ice crystals. Ttapped in the cavity of that Turkey, because if there are, you're going to get a, not just a foaming of that oil, when you put it in there, you're gonna, you're gonna get a little pop that goes a big pop that goes along with it. And that the immediate thaw of that moisture coming out through the cavity where the neck is causes that oil to shoot up. Okay, and so it's very dangerous process. So it's a good idea to make sure it's really thought out, you know, open the cavity, take the giblets out of there, there in the giblets and make sure the cavity is somewhat dry and thought out on the inside. If your bird is not completely thought out, okay, you can thaw it out under running water, don't put it on the counter, you can use a microwave. I've never been real fond of, of using the microwave to thought that big of an item. Okay, in terms of that, but she thought under cold running water, you don't throw it under hot water, because that causes part of the bird to come up to a warmer temperature. And if there's bacteria present, it may allow some minor growth there. So you just put it in a pan big enough that it can stay submerged in, let the turn the faucet on cold and get it full, get that pan full, and then turn it down to just a little bit of a dribble so that the water continually runs off of it. And you'll find that it will fall very quickly. You know that that water is considerably warmer, it's cool to the touch, but it's considerably warmer than the bird. And so that will thaw your bird out relatively quickly. Okay, I mean, it's not super fast and don't use hot water. Okay, from from that process, and then it comes down to how you're going to cook it, whether you're going to smoke it, you're going to barbecue it, you're going to bake it in the oven, you're going to defend fry it, you know, I don't know whether never I've never thought about air frying, full size Turkey, but I suppose you could do it these days? Probably a little bit, it's probably a little bit big and thick. To actually air fry, you could use your air fryer, I suppose if your oven has an air fryer in it, you could use it to crisp the outside of the turkey. Okay, I don't know, I have not researched that part hadn't thought about that. And the other reason that brought up is we just our oven of 30 some years died. Oh, so we had to replace it here. And we got one with an air fryer in it. And you know, I hadn't thought about that. But you know, we're usually not big on that. If you do not have a $2 stick thermometer, go by. Right it is worth it. And it'll tell you I'm not going to say temperature. What I'm going to say is right on that thermometer, it's going to say Turkey. Okay, you cook it until it reaches turkey. Alright, until you reach that point get out. If you buy one that has one of those pop up thermometers in it. You know, the little pop up stick thermometer is when the birds done it, it pops up. I still say go get you a stick thermometer. And it's a you know, they're about five inches long with a dial on the end. And don't do not I had a friend of mine one time called me says Glenn I went out bought one of those thermometers, but it's just I don't understand it, it melted in the oven. Well said they're not designed to be used some of them. That's a pretty special thermometer, not the $2 one not to $2 one and he said oh, okay, but you know, put it in, I usually encourage people to put a right in the center of the breast, okay, and the largest part of the meat, make sure that that is up to temperature. When you take that bird out of the oven or out of the fryer or whatever, let's meet continues to cook for approximately five minutes, the temperature will continue to rise for approximately five minutes after you take it out. Now you can take it out and what I think is good, you take it out, you cover it with some aluminum foil, and you put a towel on top of it and you just let it sit there on the pan for about five minutes. So many people take it out of the oven set on the table and slice it right away. Wow, look at the juices run that's going to be so good. And then what they find out is it sits there for a while it gets dry. Okay, well, the meat, the protein that cooks when you cook protein, meat butter is forced out of it. And then when you let it sit and as the temperature starts to drop, some of that water is pulled back in. So then when you slice it after about five minutes, yes, you're still gonna see some of the juices run. But your meats gonna be more tender, it's gonna be juicy from that standpoint so that that's a good process. Recommendations these days if you're going to stuff your turkey you know whether you make your stuffing or you use stovetop or whatever it is you do, smart thing to do is cook the turkey when it's nearly done, okay stuff or wait until it's done and then put the stuffing in it and let it sit in there for that five minutes or so and absorb some of that taste. Problem is that sometimes in the cavity especially the bigger birds, the as The juices cook out of the turkey during during the heat process, they get absorbed by the stuffing, sometimes that stuffing doesn't reach 165 degrees. So you have a little bit of an issue there. So that you know, just the safe thing is to fix your stuffing separately. And then stuff your bird if you want, but most people I know now just make a pan of stuffing and put it on the table. You know, and of all things left over after Thanksgiving.

James Bell 

Yeah, yeah, I mean, who doesn't?

Glen McNeil 

Well, some people,

James Bell 

I well, I don't want to associate with them. People I'm sorry. I'm sorry, folks,

Glen McNeil 

Kind of like sweet potatoes. Some people don't like stuffing, you know, leftover stuffing. So you know, if you're going to do that make your bird so you know, you can display it. And it looks really good in terms of that process in which you're going to do. So we've got turkey and we've got stuffing and then you know, cranberry sauce, if you really, if you want to go along with it, you know make it and some people make their own cranberry sauce or they buy real cranberry sauce or, you know what's popular is the jelly cranberry sauce and they can that's the good stuff. That's the good stuff. You know why it's the good stuff. For sugar? Yeah, there we go. So that's, that's one of those things you want to be a little bit careful with about how much you're going to consume as a commercial product, it does have some more sugar in it. And whether you do mashed potatoes or twice baked potatoes, or just plain baked potatoes, you know, that's that's up to you and how you fix them and fresh and to get the most nutritional value out of your potatoes leave the skins on. Now a lot of people don't like mashed potatoes with the skins on him. But you know, that's the the fiber component component of the potato, that's also the little little piece in there between the skin and the potato itself where the true nutritional value is. And, and I understand that, I mean, I like my mashed potatoes to be real fluffy and soft. And you kind of don't get that if you leave the skins on that process. But I know some people who basically bake their potatoes first, and then peel the skins off and make mashed potatoes that way gives a different tastes a little bit different texture, and then they fry the skins and eat the skins later, you know, as a snack later in the day. So there's a lot of things that you can do. Remember, the two hour rule, okay, from the time you put it out, two hours needs to be after that two hour time period, it needs to be broken down into smaller portions put in the refrigerator or the freezer, you know, because the longer you leave it out there past that two hour time period, the longer it's in that danger zone that 40 to 140 Danger Zone for bacterial growth. And that's true as appetizers you set out ahead of time. You know, if you set things out ahead of time, like you know, we like to put cheese and crackers and vegetables and dip out kind of the first thing in the morning. So those things to snack on, you know, while you're fixing the dinner and everybody's The kitchen is the center place because everybody's around the food the kitchen in the dining room, you know, so we have those kinds of snacks out you just want to be careful that you don't leave them out too long. I know it's it's it's tough to throw food away. So you always kind of need to watch the times a little bit and and some things that are smoked or fermented you know, can last a little longer because they're in essence they have enough preservatives in them but I always remind people that the two hour time limit you know just when you get past that that's the real safe side can go somewhat past that but usually with a and especially with colds and flues on the way up COVID still around. The fact is you don't want to leave all that food out exposed so people can read on it. It's gonna happen you know, and hopefully nobody gets sick but but you want to do that. What else we need?

James Bell 

I think that's it.

Glen McNeil 

You're quiet today.

James Bell 

Well, your have given us so much good information. I keep writing notes. I notice that you're just checking them off as I'm I don't even have to ask your just on it.

Glen McNeil 

Desserts. You know, whatever your favorite dessert is. Mine's called butter finger dessert and it's made with pool whip and ice cream mixed together pushed, put on a graham cracker crumb crust, and then cooled it put on top and then crushed Butterfinger candy bars put all over it.

James Bell 

I'd never heard of that. I would eat that.

Glen McNeil 

My mother in law made makes it all the time. And my wife makes it and I just think it's.  Pumpkin pie is okay, I like pumpkin pie tube of Oh yeah, it's got French vanilla pudding in it too. Okay, so by the time you're all done, and you get all that together, I really don't mind if nobody else eats any of it because it's really good in the refrigerator for three, four or five days, you know as the flavors plan but that's that's my favorite but we always have pumpkin pie and we have like a fruit pie and apple pie or a cherry pie that that goes along with it. And so you you know if you spend the time to bake them yourself. You can do those things ahead of time. Do what you can ahead of time so the The person in the kitchen also has the time to interact with everybody else. You know, that's, that's a key don't don't lock somebody away in the kitchen. But some, some people want to be, you know that, that their this is their meal to fix yeah playing the role of the host. And yeah, you know, this, this is their meal to fix this is in our house, this is my wife's meal to take care of, I can help if she wants me to go get something or peel some this or peel some of that, but, but she's in charge in charge of the meal and the food because that's something that, you know, this she likes to do now when it comes to Christmas, and we're doing primary ever ham or something like that. And that's my part. Besides we don't get along in the kitchen, you can believe that. She does things her way. And I do things my way, which we've just learned, you know, from that, so we get along pretty good. And I will admit, she's a better baker. Much better. I'd rather eat her cookies and pies and cakes than mine.

James Bell 

Nice.

Glen McNeil 

So you know, a selection of variety of foods and desserts and what goes on the probably one of the biggest things is just watch how much you eat. Remember, the key one of the keys is, the smaller the plate you use, the fuller, it looks with smaller portions, right. So if you're trying to moderate that, always think of it in this way, I'm going to take a small portion, because I can always take more, there's plenty there, I don't need to fill my plate up here, you know, and really do this, what I can do is I can have a small portion, I can leave a little bit of everything I want. And then I can go back and have more of the things that that I really want, what we run into so often holiday times is is is people lose the awareness of what they're eating, there's, you know, so much communication, people who see having a good time, we just don't think about how long we've been snacking, how many times we've dipped into the dressing, or you know, the the sauce that goes along with the chips that are out there, or how many different types of cheese and sausage we've had with the four different types of crackers that are sitting there before and after the meal, you know, all of that thing, we tend to get lost in it and, and that's really that's good for us to get lost. You know that social aspect is good. But you need to have a little bit of awareness and spread out your your food intake during the day, you know, you're going to eat a big meal. It's just hard to do with all that food sitting around. It's not do that. But then you also know that there's going to be things brought out for the afternoon while you're around. Okay, and then there's going to be that evening meal that comes back. And for many people, it's tricky. You know, okay, well that's okay, so long as when you're done with lunch, you get that turkey broken down into smaller packages, put it in the refrigerator, so it can cool. And then when you pull it out in the evening, it's safe to, to eat from that standpoint. So you know, you that's that's what you do in that process is be able to do those things. And a lot of people say that, you know, the best part of Thanksgiving is two three days afterwards.

James Bell 

That's when my wife is she cooks way so much to eat way too much food just so we have it or so she can have it.

Glen McNeil 

Well yeah, you can eat it after break it down into small meals, you know, and just watches things cool, cool things in your refrigerator properly, don't leave things sitting out. That's what you really want to be careful of, you know, you want to think of the meal and at the same time, you want to think of what what's going to happen the next few days or time period where you're going to eat all those leftover foods and enjoy it. I mean, that's that's pretty much what we want to do. Especially the way things have been the past few years, make your favorite foods, take your favorite foods along with you snack just be careful. And it's a good idea for the afternoon while you're watching football and you're doing all those things and you have those chips and depths and vegetables and all of those things set out have small plates for people to use. That will help them eat less than if they just go and dip

James Bell 

Then you end up just standing there right watching.

Glen McNeil 

So you put it on a plate then you move. People tend when they put it on a small plate like that they tend to move away from the food and then he eat what's on their plate now maybe they go back but there's less likelihood that they will consume more so you can help your guests you know in in terms of that.