Dear Readers: There’s a new warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov) regarding washing chicken and food safety.
Washing or rinsing chicken before preparing it is NOT recommended; in fact, water splashing off raw chicken can spread harmful bacteria and cross-contaminate sponges, towels, silverware and dishes.
Any bacteria on the raw chicken will be destroyed by properly preparing the chicken. Cook the chicken to at least 170 degrees. Wipe up any spills, and wash your hands with hot, soapy water. Use a dedicated cutting board for meats, and place only raw meat on it — never cooked.
At the grocery store, wrap raw chicken in an individual bag, alone. After prepping and cooking chicken, wipe down the entire kitchen.
Dear Heloise: What is creme fraiche, and how does it differ from sour cream?
Judy L., via email
Judy L.: Let’s take a look. Creme fraiche is a lot like sour cream, but it’s thinner, less sour and has a higher fat and calorie content than sour cream.
One serving of creme fraiche (2 tablespoons) has 110 calories and 100 fat grams.
One serving of sour cream (2 tablespoons) has 60 calories and 45 fat grams.
Also, creme fraiche can be more than twice as expensive as sour cream! Experiment and try both to find your favorite cream garnish.
Dear Heloise: I read your column most days. We have been plagued with fruit flies and gnats. I hope you can help us. They seem to be coming up from the drains.
John R., Burbank, Calif.
John R.: Don’t despair; there are solutions for these gnats. They are attracted to the scent of apple-cider vinegar. Pour some in a shallow bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Poke some holes in it. The gnats will crawl in, but they can’t climb out.
Let’s tackle the drains. Mix 1 cup of household bleach in a gallon of water. Pour this down the drains. It will flush away eggs, larvae and any rotten foods (which attracts gnats). Persistence is the key.
Dear Heloise: With twin 2-year-olds, we have our share of bumps and bruises. I keep several small bags of frozen peas in my freezer. They make perfect ice packs; they conform to small elbows and knees.
I wrap the bag in a dish towel to prevent burning the skin. My pediatrician prefers flat ice packs, but she agrees: Peas work in a pinch.
Mary K. in Pennsylvania
Dear Heloise: Any time I receive generic junk mail (8.5 x 11 sheets) with printing on only one side, I save them at my computer desk.
I use the blank side to print things such as coupons or things I don't want to keep (one-time recipes, etc.). Then I recycle them with my newspapers. That way, there's at least something good coming from junk mail!
Pat S., Fort Wayne, Ind.