Coronavirus Food Safety Update + New! Insider Tips | The Food Party! | Laura Stec | Palo Alto Online |

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The Food Party!

By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Coronavirus Food Safety Update + New! Insider Tips

Uploaded: Apr 2, 2020
We’ve all been following the current info about food safety during WWC. More articles, studies, and news bits are coming out about best practices, and the information is coming more into focus. They are starting to basically agree with each other, some more strict, others less. This is the best we've seen.

Last week we posted a fantastic piece by chef J. Kenji López-Alt called Food Safety and Coronavirus: A Comprehensive Guide. Please read it if you have not.

We also posted the video by a Michigan doctor about how to bring food into your kitchen during the pandemic.

A Food Partier! wrote in saying reports from other doctors debunk the above video which “takes food cleaning way beyond what most Americans currently do or are even willing to do.” I heard other similar feedback online. In response, a Washington Post article was posted by a Harvard School of Pubic Health professor, which offers a simpler approach.

My take on this is it depends who you are cooking for; only yourself, others (maybe at-risk), or the public. Each category deserves more strict food safety standards.

San Mateo County of Health recently sent residents this handout on Takeout & Delivery Food Safety

If we hear more clarification, or you do, post updates.

Insider Tip
Time for our new weekly segment Insider Tips, :) easy meal prep suggestions for a world stuck inside and needing inspiration in the kitchen, especially with food you bought cuz it was on the shelf - but now have no idea what to do with it.

Food Party! Insider Tip #1: What do I do with that block of tofu?

A: BBQ’ed Tofu

What you need: Tofu (extra firm) and that not-too-old BBQ sauce in the back of the fridge

How to: Slice tofu into 1” thick slabs



Lay tofu flat on a dish towel.

Wrap up, place a cutting board over tofu, and something heavy on top. Press 20 minutes to remove excess water.



Place tofu in a flat tupperware, cover with your favorite BBQ sauce.* Let sit overnight if you have the time.



Preheat and oil your grill. BBQ on medium, until charred on both sides. Don’t cook it too fast; you want the tofu to dry a little, and char a little, but not burn. Use a low, indirect heat and cover the grill while cooking. Cooking time will vary depending on your grill, but try to give it 8 - 15 minutes per side. If you give it the time it needs, the result will be a meaty, seasoned slab of yummy protein. Eat as is, add to stirfries, or along with pasta and tomato sauce.

* Add an umami-like depth, and jump on a new trend by adding a splash of bottled liquid smoke into the BBQ sauce before marinating the tofu



photo from web

photos by LSIC unless noted


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Comments

 +   5 people like this
Posted by Carol Scheufele , a resident of another community,
on Apr 3, 2020 at 8:17 am

Hi Laura, I ordered food from a local food delivery company. The company sends all ingredients except olive oil & you prepare the dinners. Under normal circumstances they would arrive by 9:00 p.m. the first day. It is taking up to three days in the Bay Area right now! I have been told these dinners are sent with ice & can last OK that long. These boxed meals are being driven around in the back of regular non-refrigerated delivery trucks. What is the safe life spans of home delivery meals?


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: other,
on Apr 3, 2020 at 9:17 am

OOOOO - that doesn't sound good. Certainly raw meat and whole raw veggies can last fine three days under refrigeration, but I think this would depend on how much of the meal is processed, how effective their coolers are, and what else is a part of the meal. The standard thought for processed foods / leftovers is three days in the fridge max. Something may be safe to eat after that, but it loses all the energy, right? It's no longer "high vibe." That's the macrobiotic in me coming out - prepared food seems to "die" after about 3 days. Now soups, stews that you can reheat to an extended boil seem to refresh and last longer. But salads, sauces, prepped veggies, even sliced raw meats....don't last well in my thought. For instance, look at the prepared salads at Trader Joes. They are never very good, even if the expiration date is a few days out.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by DebbieMytels, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 3, 2020 at 11:06 am

DebbieMytels is a registered user.

Thanks, Laura, for the tofu recipe -- I've always wondered what you do to make it so delicious. Now I'll give it a try!
And thanks for all your informative -- and fun! -- columns.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Paly Girl, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 3, 2020 at 2:07 pm

That BBQ tofu looks amazing and I'm going to try it this week. I usually just dredge my tofu in cornstarch/salt/cayanne mix (or maybe some curry powder) then fry in grapeseed oil and add to stir fried veggies or rice. I am definitely a carnivore but love a good tofu. Thanks for the tip!


 +   6 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Apr 3, 2020 at 2:15 pm

Thanks Laura, great expanded article.

I love the idea of innovative businesses based on delivery ( oh no, here come the noisy drones, I hope not ) but I'm finding it real hard to get delivery slots. Most have no open slots and some are around a week away. Meanwhile, now I know that to do with my tofu!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Judy Buttrill, a resident of Community Center,
on Apr 6, 2020 at 3:05 pm

For food safety, I try to make sure the place we order from has food preparers wearing masks and gloves. Before we order, we check to make sure and then observe what is happening with the cooking when we pick up. Our favorite Mexican Place, Celia's in Menlo Park, is ensuring these safe practices happen, which is great. It is not that it is a 100% guarantee of safety. Still good to nuke for 15 seconds, but if they are making a salad with lettuce, then it may not be such a good thing taste-wise.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Judy Buttrill, a resident of Community Center,
on Apr 6, 2020 at 3:05 pm

For food safety, I try to make sure the place we order from has food preparers wearing masks and gloves. Before we order, we check to make sure and then observe what is happening with the cooking when we pick up. Our favorite Mexican Place, Celia's in Menlo Park, is ensuring these safe practices happen, which is great. It is not that it is a 100% guarantee of safety. Still good to nuke for 15 seconds, but if they are making a salad with lettuce, then it may not be such a good thing taste-wise.


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