SafeFood© and the Over Active Mind
Welcome to my first blog. I’m Janell Meyer and I’ve recently joined the ISU Extension and Outreach team as an Extension Associate working with Catherine Strohbehn. We’ve decided to share the SafeFood© blog, so I’ll be joining in with my food safety thoughts about every other week. For the last 7 years, I’ve coordinated food safety projects and research with Dr. Strohbehn and others in the Hospitably Management program at Iowa State University. Prior to this, I worked in foodservice and restaurant management for 20 years. I’ve always been a foodie, even before it was fashionable. My deepest understanding of food safety in the retail foodservice world has come through the research I’ve helped with. Collecting observational data has taught me just how hard it is to practice safe food handling and still meet all of the demands of a retail food operation.
Keeping in mind I’m now hypersensitive to safe food handling practices, when my husband announced in early November his father had just purchased the oysters for Christmas Eve’s Oyster Stew all sorts of thoughts went through my head. Did they know they should freeze them? Were they keeping them in the 1950’s circa basement refrigerator that I know isn’t anywhere near 40° F? Would we all die on Christmas day? What do dairy farmers from the Midwest know about storing fresh oysters?
These thoughts persisted for all of November and December. Then on Christmas Eve standing in my mother-in-law’s kitchen I tried to inquire in the best daughter-in-law way. “Were the oysters frozen?” I asked. “No”, she answered, adding how hard it is to get the lid off of their container. I started to panic. Then for some reason it dawned on me for the first time: they had ordered/paid for the oysters in early November and picked them up at the grocery store the day before Christmas Eve, thus the last-minute trip to town. Relief flooded over me like warm Kerrygold butter. It turned out to be the best oyster stew my mother-in-law had ever made and I’ve been eating her stew every other year for 26 years. I just needed a little more faith and a less active mind.