Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I have just spent an unpleasant hour cleaning my small kitchen appliances. I don’t know why they don’t make toaster ovens so that you can easily take them apart to get those crumbs out. Crumb trays certainly don’t work. In the end, my most effective tools were a long wooden skewer, a pastry brush and several small screwdrivers.

All this is part of my preparing for a safe food 2014.

As I have written a book on food safety, I really thought I ought to blitz kitchen hygiene, even though I have to admit I would much rather be doing something else. I much prefer cooking - and do a lot of it. Or, for that matter, painting the kitchen rather than cleaning it. Listening to Beethoven while scrubbing away and wrestling with screwdrivers helped a bit.

Cleaning those small appliances thoroughly (yes, including turning them upside down and doing the underneath) is only part of this day’s agenda. Not all of it is strictly aimed towards a safe cooking environment, but some of it is.

Here is what else I still have to tackle (after finishing this post and getting a second cup of coffee to spur me on):

• Check all packaged, canned and frozen items for best-by dates; toss out any that have expired and make a note of those that are close to their expiry or best-by dates (a red magic market helps).
• Clean out the refrigerators thoroughly and wash with a bleach solution or vinegar to kill any mold spores (The Safe Food Handbook – the book, not this blog –recommends using one part bleach to one part water).
• Go through my huge number of herbs and spices to eliminate those that are too old (this is for flavor as much as safety).
• Check all cutting boards and either thoroughly scrub, sand-down, or, toss out if needed (as in the case of my favorite wood board). If you want other cleaning alternatives for your boards, take a look at what Martha Stewart suggests on http://www.marthastewart.com/272072/a-clean-kitchen-top-to-bottom.

And then, of course, I still have to cook that duck that is waiting for attention for tonight. Much more pleasant than all those other nasty – but necessary - chores. At least I will feel righteous after finishing them. That is, if I do.

To your good health in 2014!


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