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Party Tips

Dinner Party Etiquette

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, you will likely be attending more and more dinner parties, whether it’s a work event or hosted by family or friends. Whether you’re in someone’s home or out at a restaurant or banquet hall, keep these dinner party etiquette tips in mind.

Before The Dinner
It is always best to respond whether or not an RSVP was requested. If not explicitly offered, refrain from asking if you can bring extra guests. The exception is if your family is invited to someone’s home for dinner – then you should ask if children are included. If so, be sure your children are on their best behavior.

Gift
Bring a host or hostess gift if you will be dining at the home of a friend or family member. Keep in mind that most dinners have carefully planned menu items so do not expect your gift to be used during the meal.

Getting Started
Seating depends on the host or hostess. Some formal parties may have place cards for where the host or hostess wants you to sit. If not, ask if there are seating preferences and wait until the host sits before you do. Sometimes, a blessing will be said before dinner. If you do not follow the beliefs of the prayer, respectful silence is acceptable. If the host offers a toast, lift your glass – a “clink” with someone else’s glass is not necessary.

Napkin
After sitting down, take a cue from your host or hostess for when to begin. When the host unfolds his or her napkin, you should do the same. However, if you are dining out, you should place your napkin on your lap immediately.

Your napkin should remain in your lap until you are finished eating. If you must get up at any time during the meal and plan to return, place the napkin on either side of your plate. Once finished completely, place your napkin on the table to the left of your plate.

When To Eat
At a restaurant, you should wait until all members of your group have been served before you begin eating. For private dinners, take cues from the host or hostess. For buffets, you may start when there are others seated at your table.

Silverware
Silverware can be tricky. Typically, it is best to start with the utensil that is farthest away from your plate and work your way toward the center of your place setting. However, if the host or hostess is doing something different, you may follow his or her lead. Your best bet is to remain as inconspicuous as possible.

Food
If the food are your dinner party is served at the table, the dishes should be passed n a counter-clockwise flow and remember to never reach across the table for anything. Ask that condiments be passed from the person closest to the item (salt and pepper should always be passed together). And always use the serving utensils, not your own, when lifting food from the serving dish.

Eating
Some common table manners and essential dining etiquette are as follows:

  • Turn off your cell phone before sitting down – it’s rude to talk on your phone or text while in the company of others.
  • Never talk when you have food in your mouth -even if someone asks you a question, wait until you swallow before answering.
  • Taste your food before you add salt, pepper, or other seasoning. Doing otherwise may be insulting to the host or hostess. If you are dining with a prospective employer, the person may perceive you as someone who acts without knowing the facts.
  • Don’t cut all your food before you begin eating – cut one or two bites at a time.
  • Never blow on your food – if it’s hot, wait a few minutes for it to cool off. And scoop soup away from you.
  • Some foods are meant to be eaten with your fingers – follow the lead of your host or hostess.
  • Stemmed glasses are meant to be held by the stem.
  • Break your bread into bite-sized pieces and butter only one bite at a time.
  • Unless you are allergic, try at least one or two bites of everything on your plate.
  • Compliment the hostess if you like the food, otherwise it’s best to keep mum.
  • Use your utensils for eating, not gesturing.
  • Keep your elbows off the table and rest the hand you are not using in your lap.
  • Eat slowly and pace yourself to finish at the same approximate time as the host or hostess.
  • Avoid burping or making other rude sounds at the table.
  • If you spill something at a restaurant, signal one of the servers to help. If you spill something at a private dinner party in someone’s home, pick it up and blot the spill. If necessary, offer to have it professionally cleaned.
  • When you finish eating, leave your utensils on your plate or in your bowl.
  • Never use a toothpick or dental floss at the table.
  • You may reapply your lipstick, but refrain from doing the rest of your makeup at the table.

After The Meal
As mentioned, after you finish eating, partially fold your napkin and place it to the left of your plate. Wait until the host or hostess signals that the meal is over before you stand. If nothing is planned after dinner, stick around for approximately an hour before thanking your host for dinner and leaving. For informal events, you may offer to help clean up.

Later
Always send the host or hostess a thank you note or card in the mail, but don’t wait more than a day or two after the event. You brief but heartfelt note should address the host or hostess, thank him or her for the lovely dinner, and include another short, positive comment to show your appreciation.

Share your own dinner party etiquette tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Let us cater your next holiday party or event! You can view our menu online at BrickMarketDeli.com or call us at 909-596-5225 to explore your options.

Catering Tips For Office Lunches

Good office lunch catering can be the saving grace of an otherwise mundane or stressful work day. It can boost workers’ spirits and fuel them for the rest of the day. However, a lot can go wrong if these catered lunches are planned and executed poorly. Heed these tips and advice when planning your next office lunch catering.

  • Headcount

Getting a final headcount is crucial – nothing is more problematic or embarrassing as running out of food. Be sure to double check your headcount to ensure there will be enough food for everyone participating.

  • Narrow It Down

Instead of taking individual orders from everyone, pick a restaurant and take a look at the menu. Narrow it down to a few options from which workers may choose and give a deadline for order submissions.

  • Location, Location, Location

If your employees will be eating in the conference room during a meeting, there are some things to consider.

You will need to set up a food table opposite from the presentation. If people would like to go back for seconds, they can without crossing in front of the screen. Also avoid messy or noisy foods for minimal interruptions and issues.

  • Time

If there’s a time crunch, setup can make or break the catering all together. When this is the case, individually packed paper bag lunches can help. These prevent long lines, help control portions, and give employees the freedom of a “to go” option if they need to get back into the meeting.

  • The Extras

Workers will appreciate the little things like extra napkins, hand sanitizers, wet wipes, and mints. These thoughtful touches can help everything run smoothly and neatly.

  • Go Seasonal

If there’s a holiday around the corner, you may want to consider adding a few hints to the food and décor.

  • Offer Some Agency

Give people a little power over what they eat and save the organizer from taking individual orders. For example, instead of taking individual sandwich orders, provide the components for a salad and sandwich bar and let everyone build their own lunch.

  • Food Sensitivities

First and foremost, be mindful of serious food allergies amongst the staff. And you must also keep in mind any food sensitivities and personal preferences. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options are essential these days.

  • Fun, Healthy Options

Although they may be overlooked, an effort to provide wholesome food should be made. Make it fun with things like Edible arrangements, Sun Chips, or Luna Bars.

  • Sweet Tooth

As long as you have healthy options, it’s fine to add an additional treat.  For those who don’t mind indulging a bit, a cupcake or pastry can go a long way.

Did you know we cater? From sandwich catering packs to boxed lunches to meat & cheese trays, we’ve got you covered! Call 909-596-5225 to learn more and let us cater your next party or special event.  And don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Food Safety Tips For Halloween

Trick-or-treating, costume parties, and apple bobbing are fun pastimes associated with Halloween. Unfortunately a lot can go wrong if the proper safety measures are not in place. To ensure your children are safe, follow these Halloween food safety tips via FDA.gov:

  • Snacking – Have your children eat a light meal or snack before they head out trick-or-treating. They should wait until they are home and you can inspect their treats before consuming them.
  • Safe Treats – Children should not accept, and especially not eat, anything that is not commercially wrapped. Inspect all candies for any signs of tampering, such as unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Toss anything that looks suspicious.
  • Food Allergies – If your child has a food allergy, check the label to ensure the allergen is not present. Seek houses with teal pumpkins on display, as these denote that non-food treats are available. Any home-baked goods he or she may have received should not be consumed.
  • Choking Hazards – These include gum, peanuts, hard candies, and small toys. If you have very young children, be sure to sort through their bags and remove these choking hazards.

Bobbing For Apples
This classic game has the potential for spreading bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.

  • To reduce the number of bacteria that might be present on apples and other raw fruits and vegetables, thoroughly rinse them under cool running water. Consider using a produce brush to remove surface dirt as well.
  • New spin on apple bobbing from FightBAC.org: Cut out apple shapes from red construction paper and write an activity on each (ex. do 5 jumping jacks). Place a paper clip on each apple and put them in a large basket. Tie a magnet to a string and let the children take turns “bobbing” and doing the activity written on the apple. Treat the kids to fresh apples after you are done.

Party At Home

  • Unpasteurized juice or cider can contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella. Stay safe by always serving pasteurized products at your parties.
  • Resist the urge to taste raw cookie dough or cake batter that contains uncooked eggs.
  • Keep all perishable foods chilled until serving time – bacteria will creep up on you if you let food sit out too long. These include finger sandwiches, cheese platters, fruit or tossed salads, cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry or seafood, and cream pies or cakes with whipped-cream and cream-cheese frostings. Don’t leave perishable goodies out of the fridge for more than two hours (1 hour in temperatures above 90°F).

Share your own Halloween food safety tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Fuel up at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli before you head out for your Halloween fun! We will have normal store hours for Halloween on Wednesday, October 31 (7:00am-4:00pm; breakfast served until 10:30am). You may also order our food for delivery via DoorDash or UberEATS.

Popular Trends In Catering

From weddings to business conferences to special events, catering services are getting creative and going above and beyond. Let’s take a look at some of the currently popular catering food trends.

Experiential Catering
Consumer demand for knowing more about food and where it comes from continues to grow. We see more awareness, education and consciousness when it comes to what people are consuming, and thus, transparency is key.

With that said, experiential catering allows guests to be part of the cooking process with an interactive catering station. For example, a pasta station provides guests the experience of watching the chef’s entire process of making the pasta from scratch, cooking, and serving it. Another example is a pizza station that allows guests to choose their own toppings and watch the pizza come to fruition in a hot woodfire oven. Lastly, a slider station is another way to incorporate guests in the experience. They can use their imagination and create their own sliders, choosing their protein, toppings and sauces.

Healthy Options
The health-conscious lifestyle has gained momentum over the last few years, with many looking for healthy versions of classics and interesting, new superfoods. Luckily, these healthy foods are great for both presentation and taste. Things like poke bowls, smoothie bowls, edible flowers, fermented foods, plant-based soups and superfood slaws deliver great flavors, textures, and colors. With their excellent ingredients, they promise slow-release energy and quality brain fuel.

Instagrammable Items
Presentation is key. Incorporating Instagram-worthy elements to your catering will definitely wow your guests and potentially get them talking on social media. And positive word of mouth can go a very long way. Instagram loves unique and pretty things like charcoal-infused ice cream or hanging macaroons.

Root-To-Stem Eating
Much like nose-to-tail butchery, root-to-stem cooking aims to cut down on food waste. It makes use of the entire vegetable, resulting in things like pickled watermelon rinds, carrot top pesto, fennel frond vinaigrette, and sautéed beet greens. By rethinking the parts you normally toss, you cut down on food waste and save money in the long run.

Chaga Mushrooms
Although it’s been around for years, chaga mushrooms have only recently been discovered as an amazing superfood. This is thanks to its incredible immune system benefits and for retaining balance. Aside from these health benefits, they deliver delicious flavor. They are being used in dishes such as mushroom canapés, wild mushrooms with balsamic and thyme, grilled cheese and minty mushrooms, and even chaga mushroom tarts.

Grazing Tables
A table filled with rustic bread, local cheeses and a variety of meats and dips allows guests to graze and mingle over the food. Keep in mind that a divers and colorful arrangement will have a greater impact. Also, don’t skimp on the good stuff – while presentation is important, good quality food always prevails. And of course, you want to consider texture as well. Combine soft and hard cheeses, smooth and coarse crackers, crunchy and melt-in-your-mouth snacks, along with passionfruit, figs and edible flowers for the ultimate spread.

Food Walls
This concept plays with the presentation of classic and comfort foods (think donut or pretzel walls). When your favorites are presented in an unfamiliar way, it is exciting and interactive, which draws guests in.

Veggie-based Cocktails
Veggies are no longer just garnishes for your drinks. More craft cocktails will be vegetable-infused with veggies such as beets, carrots, butternut squash, radish, tomatillos, and more. Some great examples of these veggie-infused craft cocktails that you may see include Gin & Asparagus and Tequila & Avocado.

Tacos
Everybody loves tacos. And honestly, what’s not to love? They’re easy, versatile, and delicious. You can fill them with whatever you like – veggies, rice, chili beans, salads, garnishes – the possibilities are endless. And because of this, they will remain a catering food staple.

Korean Food
Whether traditional or a fusion style, Korean food is a popular cuisine. Things like kimchi, soft tofu stew, soy sauce crab, japchae, and Korean fried or sweet crispy chicken are loved by many. An easy dish that’s great for catering is bibimbap, which is like a rice bowl typically served with mixed veggies, beef, egg, sesame oil, and chili paste.

Brunch
The lazy weekend meal is no longer just that. The brunch trend is growing, especially for wedding catering – think a brunch bar with Bloody Marys and mimosas. You also want to be adventurous with the selection by adding unconventional flavors to classic dishes. For example, you can try coconut pancakes with banana and crème fraiche, Bloody Mary baked beans, dukkah-rolled eggs with freekeh and beetroot, or chocolate muesli with warm milk.

What other catering trends have you seen and loved? Share your favorites with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

To learn more about the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli’s catering services, call 909-596-5225, visit BrickMarketDeli.com, or stop by to speak with our staff. We are located on the northeast corner of Garey Avenue and East Arrow Highway in Pomona.

Finding The Right Caterer

A lot of planning and hard work goes into executing and hosting a memorable event. Whether it is a party or special occasion, choosing the right catering services can make or break your event. When searching for quality catering services, keep these things in mind.

  • Knowledge

If you are looking for a specific cuisine or cooking style, you want to choose a caterer who possesses the appropriate knowledge. They should be able to help you build a creative menu to specification.

  • Skills

Along with knowledge, the right caterer should also possess exceptional cooking skills. A good caterer will have confidence in their food and will usually offer free tastings to prove food quality.

  • Budget

A good caterer will also work with your budget while still providing quality food and service. Before any contracts are involved, you should get a clear cost breakdown of the services.

  • Food Safety

First and foremost, food safety should be top priority, and any caterer or chef worth his grit knows this. Be sure you choose a catering service that values food safety and ensure that your food is prepared in a sanitary, health-inspected kitchen. In addition, make sure your caterers can transfer your food safely.

  • Skilled Staff

Should your catering service come with staff, you want to make sure that all staffs are adequately trained, and that there is adequate staff available. They should be able to efficiently deliver food and interact appropriately with guests.

  • Flexibility

Your caterer should also be able to adapt recipes for dietary concerns such as allergies and sensitivities. Be sure you can modify the menu options based on special dietary requirements of your guests (ex. shellfish allergy, vegan/vegetarian options).

  • Accessibility

Be sure the catering service provides contact information, whether an email address or phone number, that they respond to promptly. They should be able to answer your questions regarding the event, and easily accessible should anything come up before, during, or after the event.

  • Experience

With experience comes better knowledge on the appropriate amount of food and drinks for the expected number of guests. Experienced caterers will also have a better scope of what works and what doesn’t in various settings. They can help you create and execute a flawless event.

  • Contracts

Before the event, the catering company should provide you with a contract that confirms and covers all the details discussed and agreed upon. Be sure to review this closely to ensure the pricing and details are correct before signing.

  • References

Gain confidence in your catering choice by contacting past references. Before you even ask, the caterer may even provide references from past clients. You can also do your own research, or get recommendations from family and friends.

Share your own tips for choosing catering services on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Let the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli cater your next meeting, party, or special event. To learn more about our catering options, please call 909-596-5225.

Catering Mistakes To Avoid

If you are planning a party of special event, remember that not all catering services are equal. It is important to do your research and choose a catering company can meet your expectations and need. One simple misstep can potentially ruin your event. Avoid these common catering mistakes for your next party or special event.

Mistake: Choosing based on price.
While it is important to set a budget and stick to it, going for the cheapest rate is not always the best route. You have to wonder why and how they can offer such low prices because, more often than not, it’s too good to be true. Some caterers are new to the business and fairly inexperienced, thus may not be able to provide the services you expect. Other companies may do the bare minimum, disregarding service and quality. Bottom line, you get what you pay for so choose wisely.

Mistake: Not tasting the food.
For most people, tastings are the best part of choosing a caterer. Still, some people may overlook this step and choose based on other factors. Don’t be one of those people – tastings are a MUST. You do not want to serve bad tasting food, period. Even if the presentation is stunning, if the food is bad, that is what your guests will remember.

Mistake: Lack of communication.
Much like any contract, you should go over it with a fine-tooth comb before signing. Review everything with your caterer to ensure the menu, services, and other details will be exactly as discussed. Understand the pricing breakdown to ensure there are no hidden fees or surprises. Be sure that all of your needs have been met and that they pledge to keep their word and deliver on the day of the event.

Mistake: Not standing your ground.
Stand firm on what you want and need. Keep a log of food ideas and service requirements before meeting with different companies. Know your budget limits and keep track of any verbal estimates received. If there is something they cannot accommodate, move on.

Mistake: Not doing your research.
Make use of all resources available (search online, read reviews, check for recommendations) to ensure you are on the right track and asking the right questions. Aside from looking for catering companies on your own, ask your friends and family for recommendations – word of mouth can be a helpful resource.

Mistake: Not having enough food.
Despite sending out invitations and RSVP cards, you may still have unexpected guests show up. Always plan for the unexpected. Because most catering services only bring food for the exact number of expected guests, you can either round up your guest count or get a written assurance that they will have extra food and will be prepared for any surprises.

Do you have any catering horror stories or other helpful tips? Share them with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

And remember, we can cater your party or special event! Call 909-596-5225 to learn more or stop in to discuss our sandwich catering options. We’re located at 105 E. Arrow Hwy (on the northeast corner of E. Arrow Hwy & Garey Ave) in Pomona, CA.

Common Catering Food Trends

Whether you are planning your own event or attending someone else’s bash, one of the most important and memorable details is the food you serve. The restaurant catering can make or break an event. Depending on the type of party or event, you will want to choose a catering menu that works well with the event space, your vision, and your guests. With that said, here are some of the popular restaurant catering trends today.

Buffet
Who doesn’t love a buffet? Buffet dining is the easiest way to feed a large group of people, thus, is ideal for larger events (ex. weddings).  And the best part is that they can be customized to suit different events and budgets.

Food Stations
Similar to a buffet, food stations are also appropriate for larger groups. Rather than providing food on one long table, the menu is divided among stations throughout the dining room or event space. Foods at these stations are usually comprised of appetizers and finger foods. Because the set up requires guests to move around, food stations are great for cocktail receptions and the like, where people normally mingle about the room.

Chocolate Fountains
If you have ever encountered a chocolate fountain at a party, then you know it is often the pièce de résistance. These can be purchased or rented, and pricing can vary depending on the quality. You can make up for the cost by choosing less expensive dipping items (ex. pretzels, fresh fruit, marshmallows).

Family Style Dining
This is also known as English Service and is comprised of bowls and platters of food to share at each table, rather than serving individual plates. Sharing food enables tablemates to interact, providing a level of intimacy that may be missing at larger events.

Food & Drink Pairings
These dinners often serve multiple courses, each accompanied by a wine, beer, or cocktail. It is important to note that these often take longer than buffets or plated dinners, so if you’re looking for a slow, leisurely dinner, this one’s for you.

Artisan Food & Drink
Foods produced in small batches are referred to as artisan food, however, there is no regulation on the term. Because of this, you see “artisan” used by large restaurants and chains, and it has become a good marketing term. For example, “handcrafted sourdough baguette paired with an assortment of artisanal cheeses” sounds much better than “plain old cheese and cracker platter.”

Local Foods
While local foods suggest healthier options and better taste, the can pose some challenges. Because fresh fruit and vegetables are not available all year round, a set menu is not feasible. On the other hand, chefs are able to get creative and provide a rotating menu of specials.

Street Foods
These menus offer foods inspired by the ethnic fusion of street food. Some examples include Mexican churros, Spanish tapas, Chinese dim sum, and more.

Gluten Free Foods
Whether it is due to medical conditions associated with gluten or a health-conscious choice, gluten free foods are growing in popularity. Aside from the health benefits, going gluten free allows chefs to experiment with alternative cooking ingredients such as amaranth, cassava flour, and teff flour.

Mini Desserts
More and more people are opting for mini wedding cakes or dessert tables filled with mini confections such as cupcakes and cake pops, rather than full, multi-tiered cakes. This allows the host to provide a variety of sweet treats to cater different tastes.

If you want to keep it simple, we’ve got the catering plan for you. Enjoy our delicious sandwiches, salads, and desserts are your next event. Visit www.BrickMarketDeli.com or call 909-596-5225 for more information.

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A Smart Checklist For Catering Service

So you have an event coming up and you need catering services. You want to find a catering company that can accommodate your needs while delivering excellent food and service, but you’re not sure where to start. Knowing what you want for your event and doing your research helps a great deal. Take some time to talk to different businesses  to see what they have to offer and if they understand your vision and needs. As you shop around, and before making your final decision, be sure that the company you choose meets the following catering service criteria.

Taste
This not only applies to the food, which should be tasty, but also refers to presentation. Your food should be appealing to all the senses and a great catering service will deliver this. If available, request to see a portfolio. Consider your vision, and be sure they understand it and have the proper tools and equipment to make your ideas come to fruition.

Value
Catering services should be affordable, and most caterers are rather accommodating. Make your budget known, especially if it is limited, as your caterer should be able provide the best options. And although prices are always an important factor, remember that the lowest price is not always the best value. Weigh your options and consider what is and is not included in the bottom line.

Service
Your satisfaction should be their priority. From the minute you first meet with them until the event has concluded, they should be attentive and go above and beyond to help you create the event you envisioned. The company should be well-organized and employees should be responsive to your needs every step of the way.

Dependability
As mentioned, do your research. Speak with friends and family to find out if there are any catering companies they recommend. Great catering companies will be forthcoming with references for customers. That way, you can speak with past clients who can attest to their reliability and quality. When speaking with the catering company, you want to inquire about deposit requirements, the type of menu suggested for budget, and if they readily assist with specific requirements.

Accommodations
Every event is different, and great caterers know that. Some things that may come up include special menu requirements (ex. vegetarian, vegan, Halal, Kosher), specialty equipment and décor, and more. If you have a smaller or larger event, do they understand the staffing ratio needs for bartenders, wait staff, and chefs? As with any event, there is much to consider and as a catering company, they should be able to accommodate and deliver what is promised flawlessly.

Experience
From small gatherings to weddings or other special events, you want to choose a professional event catering company with plenty of experience under their belt. This alone shows potential customers that they know what they are doing and have executed amazing events in the past. You will be glad you chose a caterer with extensive experience and success when your guests leave your event impressed.

Did you know we provide catering services? We offer affordable prices on our yummy sandwiches, salads and desserts for your catering needs. Visit us online at BrickMarketDeli.com or call 909-596-5225 to learn more about our catering options.

You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!

Holiday Food Safety

Here come the holidays! November is here which means Thanksgiving is on the horizon. As you begin to think about your Thanksgiving plans and feasts, it is also important to remember proper food handling techniques when it comes to shopping, preparing, cooking, and storing your food.

From the store to the table to your refrigerator, there are plenty opportunities for contamination or spoiling. Heed these food safety tips as you prepare for the holidays.

BEFORE

  • When shopping, separate your groceries. Raw poultry, meats, and seafood should be kept away from other foods as much as possible. The easiest way to prevent cross contamination is to place these items in separate bag (your own reusable bags or those provided by the store). Also, perishable items such as meat and poultry should be put in your cart last to prevent them from sitting at room temperature while you gather other items.
  • Buy the right bird. If you’re shopping in advance, opt for a frozen bird to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. If you prefer serving a fresh turkey, buy your bird within two days of your Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Shop and drop. It may be tempting to run errands after grocery shopping, but to keep your food and your loved ones safe, it’s best to go straight home to properly unload and store your foods.

Depending on how long you leave your food in the car and the temperature, dangerous microorganisms can contaminate for food.

  • Defrost safely. When it comes to defrosting a turkey safely, there are three options: in the refrigerator, cold water, or the microwave.
  • Refrigerator thawing is the best method since it will defrost at a consistent and safe temperature and all you have to do is keep it in the fridge. It does, however, take the longest time. The typical rule of thumb is 24 hours for every 5 pounds, thus, a 15 lb. turkey will take 3 days to thaw.
  • To thaw in cold water, keep your turkey in its original wrapping and submerge it in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. The general rule is 30 minutes per pound, therefore, a 15lb. turkey will take 7.5 hours and 15 water changes to thaw. While this method takes less time, it requires more attention since you must regularly change the water.
  • Worst case scenario – you forgot to defrost the turkey! You may use your microwave to defrost your turkey. Please refer to your owner’s manual for instructions on microwave defrosting.

If there’s anything you take away from this, let it be to defrost in advance. A thawed turkey can be kept in the fridge (40°F or below) for up to 4 days.

THANKSGIVING DAY

If you’ve got more than one cook in the kitchen, be sure to review these with everyone who is helping out.

  • Wash your hands, not the bird. Instead of helping to get rid of bacteria, the splashing water helps to spread it to other areas (ex. sinks, food prepping surfaces) up to three feet away. The better way to prevent cross contamination is by washing your hands before and after handling raw poultry, meat, or seafood.
  • One of the Thanksgiving foods most susceptible to foodborne illness is stuffing. If your stuffing does not reach an internal temperature of 165°F, harmful bacteria can survive within it. Be sure that immediately after prep, you place the stuffed bird into an oven set for 325°F or higher and use a food thermometer to ensure that not only the bird, but the stuffing as well, reaches the safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Dressing is what they call it when you prepare stuffing outside of a turkey and is generally safer than stuffing. However, cooks must still be aware of food safety. If you are using raw meat, poultry, or shellfish, precook these raw ingredients separately and then incorporate it into your dish.
  • Cook to the right temperature. The only way to determine if meat, poultry or seafood is cooked safely is to check the internal temperature with a food thermometer. Whole turkeys should register 165°F in three locations – the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing, and the thickest part of the breast.

LEFTOVERS

We all love Thanksgiving leftovers, but if not properly stored after dinner, they can potentially make us sick. Although you may be in a food coma, fight the urge to nap until you have packed your leftover food properly.

  • Refrigerate uneaten food within two hours of cooking to prevent bacteria growth. Try to use shallow containers to decrease cooling time and prevent food from spending too much time at unsafe temperatures (40°F to 140°F). In regards to the turkey, cut the meat off the bone before storing, and pack the stuffing separately from the meat.
  • BYOC (Bring Your Own Cooler). Because Thanksgiving feasts are often plentiful, refrigerator space is hard to come by. Come prepared with your own cooler from home and maintain a packed cooler at a safe temperature (40°F or below).
  • Leftovers last safely for four days in the refrigerator. If you need at least a week before eating Thanksgiving food again, pack your leftovers into airtight containers and freeze them.
  • If you are sending guests home with leftovers and you know they will be travelling for more than two hours, give them ice or frozen gel packs to ensure the food in their coolers stays at or below 40°F.

With only three weeks until Thanksgiving, you might want to start thinking about your menu and guest list. If you need some pinspiration, feel free to check out our Thanksgiving Pinterest Board. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

In the meantime, let us do the dirty work for you. Come in for a yummy breakfast or lunch six days a week – visit BrickMarketDeli.com for more information.

Thrifty Super Bowl Party Tips

Want to have people over for a Super Bowl party, but think you don’t have enough time to plan and prep? Think again. These cost-effective and easy tips will help you throw a fun gathering on a budget.

Invites
Consider how many people your house can hold comfortably, as well as how many guests you would like to host. Make a guest list so you don’t end up inviting more people than you would have liked. But also keep in mind that on a short notice, some people may already have prior commitments. With that said, you can forgo formal invites. Instead use social media to create an event, try a free electronic invitation service, or simply call or text those who you would like to invite.

Menu
Keep it simple. A couple of appetizers and a main course should suffice. For example, you can do chips and vegetables with dips to start, and pizza as the main course. Or make it even easier, make it potluck style. If you’d like, you can take care of a main dish or two, and have your guests bring snacks or appetizers of their choice.

BYOB
Along the same lines, you can ask your guests bring their own beverage, too. Just be sure you have refrigerator space or coolers and ice for the beverages. You can opt to buy large bags of ice at the store, or simply start packaging your own ice from your ice maker days prior to the game.

Decorations
Try your luck at the dollar store for inexpensive decorations. Get football-themed supplies or choose your preferred team’s colors to keep things festive. You can probably find great party favors, too (ex. mini footballs, sports related toys) for the kids or kids at heart.

Kids Party Games
Speaking of kids, you may need some form of entertainment for them besides the big game. You can create a craft station, where kids can color, work on mini art projects, or even decorate cookies. Search online for free and kid-friendly games, templates, and craft ideas. To keep with the Super Bowl theme, you can find games and crafts related to football.

Backup Plans
For those who have a longer drive home, brew a pot of coffee toward the end of the night. If you are serving alcohol, make sure your guests have designated drivers and you have an ample supply of water to keep your guests hydrated. And if necessary, be sure you have space for those who need to stay the night.

What are you doing for the Super Bowl? Which team are you rooting for? Connect and share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and LinkedIn. You can find great recipes on our Pinterest page, too.

Join us for fresh, natural, and just plain yummy sandwiches and salads weekdays from 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm. Enjoy a safe & fun Super Bowl Sunday!