Over the last week that I spent at my mom’s house in VA, I think I had written down 6 different topics that I wanted to blog about. I have to say that spending time at my mom’s house in Virginia is always an adventure in one way or another. The kids are completely out of their element with few toys; as a result their imaginations run wild finding games to play with the exercise ball, my spirograph from 1985, the couch cushions, the tree in the front yard, a mini pinball machine that looks old enough to be my great-grandfathers, marbles, and whatever other little trinket they can unearth in the basement. I do not feel in any way that this is a bad thing (lack of their typical TV shows and electronics); however it does cause slight friction in the house on occasion.  On this trip, we also ended up taking Champ (our dog) at the last-minute, with no crate!  Thus, this meant that the first day we were out back-to-school shopping, he thought it would be a fun activity to tear up a carpet into bite sized pieces for us to find displayed across the floor when we returned.

Despite these minor issues, we always have a great time at mom’s with a steady stream of laughter in the house. One of my brothers is usually around to add to the fun.  I have two younger brothers who I only see at the most, a few times a year.  They are both entertaining to have around, divergent in their personalities, and can make you laugh so hard that you can skip your ab workout for the day 🙂 My family is full of good cooks who love to enjoy good fresh food and a glass of wine (or more); consequently dinner is always a delicious production. Which brings me to my next point…..    

However much we do love to consume delectable dishes and purchase the fresh food to prepare them, my mother insists on storing canned/boxed foods in her kitchen for decades!  And when I say decades, it means that some of this food is truly that old!  This topic has become an ongoing source of humor between my brothers, my sister-in-law, Jay and me. It seems every time we are together, the topic of mom’s food artifacts provides us all with hours of amusement and laughter. I am uncertain if this food stashing is generational or just a matter of not cleaning out the closet, but I am pretty sure that I do not have any rusted cans of clam chowder in my pantry from 1953 (a potentially great source of botulism).  On to my next point….         

It was by no slim coincidence that on our 6 ½ hour drive home to NC, I was studying my nutrition book and the chapter happened to be on food safety! Topics such as keeping your kitchen bacteria in check, serving cold foods cold and hot foods hot, how long food can sit out before spoiling, how long food can last in the fridge, proper food washing techniques, bacteria and organisms that can cause sickness from food, etc.  Despite our jokes about mom’s antique food, I recalled having been to quite a few parties and having our own BBQ’s where food has sat out and then was still eaten hours later!  After reading the information in this book, my food storage rules have changed!

Here are some simple easy guidelines to follow for how long food lasts in your refrigerator:

                Cooked fresh veggies                        3-4 days

                Rice                                                      1 week

                Deli meats                                           5 days

                Other meats                                       3-5 days

                Cooked nuggets                                  1-2 days

                Cooked seafood                                   2 days

                Soups                                                    3-4 days

*Also, do not thaw meat on the countertop.  Marinate in the refrigerator. Refrigerate leftovers promptly. If not, bacteria will begin to creep into your food, making it something you may not want to be eating!

* Each year more than 75 million Americans experience food-illness – this is only a fraction of the true number because so many write off their symptoms as the flu and do not seek medical attention.

Bon appetite 🙂

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