Thanksgiving Stress: What Rates High on Your Meter?


Thanksgiving is meant to be a delightful day centered on family, friends, and food. Traditions play a big role on this day, whether it is a brisk pre-dinner hike, watching football on TV, or giving everyone at the table a chance to express what he or she has been most grateful for this year.

Thanksgiving is not necessarily a stress-free holiday, however:  Cooks feel pressure to produce a special feast; travelers are forced to deal with transportation and traffic delays; and increasingly, advertisers tempt us to shorten our Thanksgiving celebration and start our holiday shopping on Thanksgiving or in the wee hours of “Black Friday.”  A survey we conducted a few years ago found more than one-third of Americans polled were concerned about “being around an annoying relative” on Turkey Day.  In fact, more folks were concerned about sitting next to crazy Uncle Joe (37%) than they were about getting sick from improperly prepared food (31%).

We can’t help you with your traveling, shopping or interpersonal skills, but we can offer a concise bit of advice on avoiding foodborne illness as the kitchen is activated for holiday cooking.  Just remember: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill. See the box below for details:

Avoiding Foodbore Illness this Thanksgiving

Clean – wash all food contact surfaces with hot, soapy water followed by sanitizing with 1/2 tablespoon regular strength or 2 teaspoons of high strength chlorine bleach in 1/2 gallon of water. Do this before and after working with raw foods.

Separate – keep fresh fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood.

Cook – to kill any bacteria that might be present, thoroughly cook meat, poultry and eggs to the appropriate temperature.

Chill – refrigerate leftover perishables at 40 degrees within 2 hours of cooking or serving.

The Water Quality & Health Council wishes you a safe, healthy
and thoroughly enjoyable Thanksgiving!