Saturday, September 11, 2010

To sleep or not To sleep

Weekends are part of everyday life and they keep coming without much control. The effort however gets consumed between the weekends and most of the time wishing that there were a couple of days less before the next weekend arrives. On a few rare occasions one does hope that there were a little bit of more time before the week actually ends but that’s definitely not normal.

What is that one big decision that one has to take for the Sunday morning and in our case Friday morning? The Saturday night is usually dictated by the social circles while the more active socialites spend partying the lesser mortals have some quality family time. But challenge is on the morning of the holiday. Do you wake up early because this is your day and you want to enjoy and actively utilize every moment of the day or you want wake up late and use the opportunity to give your body and mind a well deserved rest.

On a working day morning there isn’t much that I can do before rushing off to work. I sleep till the last moment during weekdays using the snooze to squeeze out the last bit of available time and stretching up to the limit. I prefer to wake up early on the weekend to devour the early hours and let it seamlessly flow into my rest of the day. A nap in the afternoon goes a long way to compensate for much required rest for the body and soul. I had slept till late in the morning a few times and invariably got depressed upon waking up that my holiday was almost over and guilt that I have wasted it.

Everybody has their own priorities for the holidays but sleeping in the morning is not on that list of mine!

Images from the Internet.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

How does a frozen Chicken Expire?

Coming from an Indian Town and growing up in the seventies, we never used frozen foods. As a matter of fact frozen food was simply not available. The man of the family used to go to the bazaar every morning and the lady of the family used to prepare fresh foods twice a day.

So when I got introduced to frozen foods and packed foods there were a few questions that started to pop up. One thing that I could never understand is how could a chicken have a expiry date while it was already slaughtered and frozen and packed quite some time back….. Well I am still looking for that answer.

I read this article in the Yahoo webpage and found it quite interesting and thought of sharing it here…..

Food expiration dates: What do they really mean?
By Ann Pietrangelo
Posted Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:30pm PDT

Are you one of those people who pour the milk down the drain on the expiration date?

Expiration dates on food products can protect consumer health, but those dates are really more about quality than safety, and if not properly understood, they can also encourage consumers to discard food that is perfectly safe to eat.

A recent poll of more than 2,000 adults showed that most of us discard food we believe is unsafe to eat, which is a good thing, of course, but it is important that we understand what food expiration dates mean before we dump our food -- and our money -- down the drain or into the garbage. On average, in the U.S. we waste about 14% of the food we buy each year. The average American family of four throws out around $600 worth of groceries every year.

Which five foods are most often feared as being unsafe after the printed date? According to, we are most wary of milk, cottage cheese, mayonnaise, yogurt, and eggs, and the site offers these helpful explanations:

• Milk: If properly refrigerated, milk will remain safe, nutritious, and tasty for about a week after the sell-by date and will probably be safe to drink longer than that, though there’s a decline in nutritional value and taste.
• Cottage cheese: Pasteurized cottage cheese lasts for 10-14 days after the date on the carton.
• Mayonnaise: Unopened, refrigerated Kraft mayonnaise can be kept for 30 days after its expiration date or 3-4 months after opening, the company told ShelfLifeAdvice.
• Yogurt: Yogurt will remain good 7-10 days after its sell-by date.
• Eggs: Properly refrigerated eggs should last at least 3-5 weeks after the sell-by date, according to Professor Joe Regenstein, a food scientist at Cornell University. Note: Use of either a sell-by or expiration (EXP) date is not federally required, but may be state required, as defined by the egg laws in the state where the eggs are marketed.

The “Use-By” Date

The “use-by” or “best if used-by” date indicates the last day that the item is at its best quality as far as taste, texture, appearance, odor, and nutritional value. The decline after that is gradual. The use-by date refers to product that has not yet been opened.

The “Sell By” Date

The “sell by” date is not really a matter of food safety, but a notice to stores that the product should be taken off the shelf because it will begin to decline in quality after that date.

The Law

From the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): “Product dating is not generally required by federal regulations. However, if a calendar date is used, it must express both the month and day of the month (and the year, in the case of shelf-stable and frozen products). If a calendar date is shown, immediately adjacent to the date must be a phrase explaining the meaning of that date such as "sell-by" or "use before."

There is no uniform or universally accepted system used for food dating in the United States. Although dating of some foods is required by more than 20 states, there are areas of the country where much of the food supply has some type of open date and other areas where almost no food is dated.”

Food-Borne Illness

Cross-contamination and unsanitary conditions are a primary cause of food-related illnesses, whether it occurs in the home or in a restaurant, and this is independent of any expiration date. The leading culprits are:

• Improper hand-washing prior to food preparation.
• Storing food at the wrong temperature.
• Cooking food to an inadequate temperature.
• Cross-contamination (raw meats that come into contact with salads, for instance).
• Improper washing of fresh produce.

The Yuck Factor: Common Sense Approach to Food Safety

Aside from any expiration date or lack thereof, if a food item is moldy or if it smells and looks spoiled, err on the side of caution. If it makes you say, “yuck,” throw it away.