Holiday cooking safety tips

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

SHERMAN, TX-Thanksgiving is upon us and cooks everywhere are busy trying to get meals ready for tomorrow. But with so many things going on at the same time, it can be easy to forget to prepare your food properly. Victoria Maranan tells us how you can protect yourself from getting sick.

Thanksgiving also happens to be a very busy day for area hospitals. With a lot of people coming in sick from what they ate, I spoke with a doctor, as well as an experienced cook, on how you can keep yourself from spending your holidays in the bathroom or, worse, the emergency room.

Texas Health Presbyterian hospitalist, Dr. Qasim Nayeem expected to have a busy Thanksgiving.

"A lot, especially after Thanksgiving dinner, I'm going to be on call and I'm going to have a lot of patients coming in for nausea and vomiting and they feel bad throwing up," he said.

He said most of the illnesses he's seen in the holidays past stemmed from overeating or food poisoning. If your food isn't prepared properly, it might still contain live bacteria that could make it into your bloodstream...

"Especially meat, you know? It has to be, if you're grilling it, you have to grill it well done. If you eat it raw or medium rare or something like that, you're in trouble," he said.

"Either they don't cook it quite long enough, it's not done down to the bone inside and they overcook it and it just falls apart."

Which Judy Barker, who's made Thanksgiving dinner for her family for the past 30 years, said it's a common mistake for first time cooks.

"It can possibly make em sick. It more than likely would so you always want to cook it until it's the right temperature," she said.

She said she's extremely careful preparing the turkey before it gets into the oven.

"The best way is to thaw it in the refrigerator for three or four days depending on your pounds and to wash it and dry it thoroughly," she said.

Barker said cooking in the right temperature is not only key for a tasty turkey, but also makes it safe to eat.

"Usually around 350 because you want to cook it slow and it takes three or four hours depending on your pounds and you just want to cook it nice and slow it makes it tender," she said.

Barker said the turkey is ready when its temperature reaches 160-180 degrees and Dr. Nayeem reminds those at the Thanksgiving table to watch what you eat.

"Less is more, eat only if you're hungry not just because the food is there. You'll be okay."

Dr. Nayeem also said it's important to pace yourself while eating your Thanksgiving dinner because it takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to realize you are full.

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