Air Time Less Sweet for Kids

HISTORY AND GOALS. BBB and 10 leading food and beverage companies launched
the CFBAI in November 2006 to shift the mix of child-directed advertising messaging
to include advertising for healthier or better-for-you foods and/or healthy lifestyle
messaging at least half the time. The Institute of Medicine’s 2005 report, “Food
Marketing to Children: Threat or Opportunity” (IOM Report), and the Federal Trade
Commission had urged delivery been that and,. that industry self regulation do more to address concerns about
food and beverage advertising. IOM specifically had recommended that food and
beverage companies “shift their advertising and marketing emphasis to … foods and
beverages that are substantially lower in total calories, fats, salt and added sugars,
and higher in nutrient content.” (IOM Report at 11). The participants all exceeded the
original 50% commitment requirement and now the program requires a 100%
commitment (i.e., all covered child-directed advertising must be for healthier foods).
PROGRAM EXPANSION AND DEVELOPMENT. Since the program as launched it
has grown to 17 participants from 10.

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Readiness of Burgers

September is National Food Safety Education month and the American Meat Institute has a bit of news to share: eight out of 10 adults do not use a thermometer to determine doneness for burgers. More than half of us rely on cooking time, and nearly three-quarters of us rely on the appearance of the meat. The only safe measure is to use an instant read thermometer to be certain that the center of a ground beef burger has reached 160 degrees and a chicken or turkey burger has reached 165 degrees. We cooks tend to think we are rather invincible in the kitchen – nibbling raw dough and committing a host of other under-cooked food sins , but we are often cooking for very sensitive groups such as children and the elderly. Cook’s Illustrated has long recommended the Polner instant-read thermometer and it’s my favorite as well.

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Turkey 101

Here comes the biggest food holiday of the year! Are you ready? If this is your first try at roasting a turkey, never fear. My basic how-to provides easy to follow directions and yields a moist, tender bird.

How to Buy a Turkey:

Whether this is your 1st or your 40th Thanksgiving, it is wise to purchase two smaller birds rather than one larger bird. This way you can roast one turkey ahead, carve it, and reheat it before serving. The second bird can come out of the oven and go straight to the presentation platter! You’ll have a much less stressful Thanksgiving!

Fresh turkeys eliminate the angst over how soon to begin defrosting the bird, but are less abundant than frozen turkey (and priced slightly higher per pound). Either way, the bird will be delicious.

How to Cook a Turkey:

If purchasing a frozen turkey, place it, still in its wrapper on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch the juices) in the refrigerator. A frozen turkey needs 1 day of thawing for each 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. A 12-pound turkey should be placed in the fridge on Sunday or Monday morning of Thanksgiving week, as a thawed turkey stays fresh in the refrigerator up to 4 days before cooking.

If using fresh, proceed with directions.

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Remove the wrapper from the turkey and move it to a paper towel lined rimmed baking sheet. Note the weight of the turkey before discarding the wrapper. Remove any goodies from inside the turkey – check both ends as you’ll find the neck in one and the giblets in the other. Drain any liquids onto the pan and dry the turkey thoroughly with paper towels.

Move the turkey (breast side up – that’s the rounded side) onto a rack placed into a 2-inch deep roasting pan. Rub the outside of the turkey with 3 tablespoons or so of softened butter. Season the outside of the bird with salt and pepper.

If using a meat thermometer, insert it now into the thigh, located below the leg (drumstick), being careful that the end of the thermometer is not in contact with bone. If using an instant-read thermometer, you’ll be inserting it into the same place, but just to check the temperature near the end of cooking time. Pour 2 cups chicken broth or stock to bottom of roasting pan.

Move the prepared turkey to the preheated oven and bake according to weight. Use this handy chart for cooking times. I do not recommend cooking a stuffed turkey. The cooking time is listed in case you must acquiesce to a guest’s demands.

Discard all paper towels and wash all utensils, equipment, and surfaces with hot, soapy water to prevent cross-contamination and food-borne illness.

Weight Cook Time(Unstuffed) Cook Time(Stuffed)
4½-7 lbs. 2-2½ hrs. 2¼-2¾ hrs.
7-9 lbs. 2½-3 hrs. 2¾-4½ hrs.
9-18 lbs. 3-3½ hrs. 3¾-4½ hrs.
18-22 lbs. 3½-4 hrs. 4½-5 hrs.
22-24 lbs. 4-4½ hrs. 5-5½ hrs.
24-30 lbs. 4½-5 hrs. 5½-6¼ hrs.


While the turkey is cooking, feel free to baste the skin with the liquid accumulating in the bottom of the roasting pan, or baste it with melted butter. Basting is not required, but it helps with browning the skin. I like using a baster for this. The baster is difficult to get completely clean, so I usually purchase a new one each year (check the dollar store).

About 2/3 the way through the baking time, take a sheet of aluminum foil, make a crease down the center, and use it to tent the breast. The foil will shield the bread from drying out.

About 30 minutes before you anticipate the turkey being fully cooked, check the temperature of the bird. Turkey is fully cooked when the thigh’s internal temperature is 180°F. The thickest part of the breast should read 170°F.

When the turkey is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and let it sit 20 to 30 minutes before carving. If you anticipate the bird might have to sit longer (guests are running late), go ahead and cover it with foil.

How to Carve a Turkey:

For quality, let the turkey stand for 20-30 minutes before carving to allow juices to set. The turkey will carve more easily. Remove all stuffing from the turkey cavities. To help make carving easier, use a straight and sharpened knife.

Carving is easy – it’s just like cutting a chicken, only on a much bigger bird! If you’ve followed my advice, you’ll carve your first turkey ahead in the peace and quiet of your kitchen (consider it your warm up). The “picture perfect” turkey will come out of the kitchen for presentation, then can be removed for carving in the kitchen for seconds and leftovers.

Carving is best learned by watching. My friends at Southern Living magazine produced this video showing the easiest method for carving.

Happy Turkey Day!


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Getting off the Ground Floor: Soft Book Launch

Yesterday was the equivalent of a “soft opening” of a store or restaurant, but for our new book – no big fanfare, just two book signing events, very locally promoted, to get our feet wet. I loaded my van with nearly 100 copies of our new baby, each box weighing 40 pounds and containing just 6 copies each!

Heading out of town yesterday morning, running just a tad behind schedule after a stop at Walgreen’s for fresh “signing” pens, the bank for more loot for the cash box, liquid gold for the engine, and seriously caffeinated nectar of the gods for me, I was finally on the road. It was fun to be headed back to my college town, especially knowing there were no tests or assignments due and I wouldn’t have to sit through a boring lecture.

Arriving at the venue 2 hours later, I couldn’t navigate the small parking lot in my big van, nor could I tell which entrance of the building I was to use. The one-way streets were of no help – running opposite to my desired direction, thus making a return loop through the parking lot an unnecessary hassle. Reaching the receptionist by phone, she graciously agreed to meet me outside. I pulled my van up under the overhang sheltering a one-way, single lane drive. I quickly unloaded half my books onto my flatbed cart, locked up, and we headed for the elevator. We exchanged pleasantries, but I was preoccupied at arriving a little later than planned (but still plenty early), so I was strategizing how quickly I could unload, and still have time to freshen up and review my notes for my talk. We had to take a running start to push the cart over the threshold of the elevator and the door closed behind us. Still in a little dance of chitchat, my guide pressed the button and the elevator lunged just slightly, but didn’t move. She pressed all of the buttons and nothing happened. The doors wouldn’t open and the elevator wouldn’t move. She was slightly annoyed with herself for leaving her cell phone at her desk, but I quickly offered mine. She reported that help was on the way.

A competent contingent belonging to building maintenance arrived and began thrusting the outer door open, shaking it from side to side. Nothing. Other employees stopped to chat through the doors and a frantic teacher asked if someone would see if I had my keys with me. It was 12 noon and preschool was being dismissed. My van was completely blocking the carpool lane! A total of 10 minutes passed when they realized the experts would need to free us. My guide began to ask pleasant get-to-know-you questions once she sensed my slight distress over being trapped. I can only tell you that in almost any emergency, I’m the calm, level-headed person who rises to the occasion, assuring everyone that everything will be fine. I must admit that I was not the woman I wanted to be today. I wish I could have mustered my pleasant, gregarious self, but she wasn’t home. I was nervous about the time slipping away, anxious I wouldn’t be set-up in time, and knew that my freshen-up and notecard review wasn’t going to happen. Would we get out of here soon? Even if they just freed us, and the elevator was out of service, how would we get this many books up to the second floor? The experts arrived in just another 10 minutes or so. Did you know that companies pay on a sliding scale for how quickly a repair person will respond to an elevator emergency? Thank goodness this building was on the platinum plan. Another 10 minutes and the experts freed us.

The staff had assembled outside the elevator and everyone lent a hand while I went out to remove the remaining boxes from my van – just unload to the sidewalk, I was advised, and to park. Because of preschool dismissal, the parking lot was jammed full (no thanks to my van messing things up to a fare-thee well) and the two open spots were being blocked by waiting vehicles. The same wrong-direction one-way street greeted me, forcing me around my elbow to get to my thumb, but at least I found on-street parking. But wait. That’s a parking meter! Luckily I hadn’t taken my bag on the first run inside, so I dug deep into the recesses of the bag to find some change. Bobby pins, gum, and tissues were in far greater supply than quarters. Didn’t parking meters used to take dimes and nickels? No telling how, but I managed to come up with 8 quarters – two hours worth.

I rushed back into the church and up the staircase to the ballroom. My co-author had arrived and was unpacking the first load. The load from the sidewalk had been brought up by another gentleman, and mercifully our dear friend had pitched in to get things organized and underway while I was still trying to pull myself together.

I’m still unhappy that my best self was not on display this morning and I’m grateful for all the people who pitched in to help in various ways. After an ice-cold coke and securing a larger table for signing the books, I was able to relax just a bit. Moments later the buffet line opened and we were piling glorious food onto our plates. The pleasantries over lunch erased my anxieties, and I was ready to carry on with the day. After the speech (a success), and signing dozens of books (hurray!), we had an army of helpers who loaded us up. Walking out of the ballroom and down the hall, the receptionist looked at me quizzically when I headed to the elevator, passing the grand staircase. “Just like a horse,” I told her. ”I’d better get right back on or I might not ever ride again.” Getting a book tour off the ground floor can be a little harder than it looks!

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Soda Pop Pounds

Researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, say that about half of us drink a sugary soda every day, adding more than 300 nutrition-less calories to our daily diets. Consumption is almost split evenly between in and out of the home — surprisingly those away from home are not from restaurants or schools, but stores. While adults can make these choices on their own, and maintain a healthy lifestyle with exercise, children and teens are a greater risk for obesity, consuming these empty calories in front of a television or computer screen.

Read more about the study here. Have you given up soda recently?

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