Home cooks have been all a-cluck over recent guidance not to wash raw chicken before it's prepared and cooked. While it may seem counterintuitive, food safety resources like the United States Department of Agriculture's "Ask Karen" website advise:
The same goes for beef, pork, lamb and veal. Eggs, too, can incur an uptick in potential contamination, because according to the USDA, "the wash water can be 'sucked' into the egg through the pores in the shell."
So why did we all start bathing our birds in the first place? Probably because Julia Child, James Beard, Bettie Crocker, Fannie Farmer, Margaret Mitchell and the "Joy of Cooking" told us - and our parents and grandparents - to.
While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
It may technically be a Saturday, but it sure feels like Fry-day to us - August 31 is National Bacon Day.
While the bacon craze may have reached peak sizzle in the last decade, with dedicated festivals, bacon-based couture, and appearances in non-breakfast courses from sundaes to cocktails, America's fixation with delicious strips of cured pork is nothing new.
The first time Meyer Wolfsheim met Jimmy Gatz, the young man hadn't eaten in days. Freshly released from Army duty and on the hunt for a job, the major wore his medal-decked uniform around town not to tout his valor or value - but rather because he couldn't afford civilian clothes.
For the princely sum of just over $4, Wolfsheim stuffed the starving kid full of food and locked in his loyalty for life.
When we were 11 and 13 years old, our parents dressed us in neckties and blazers and marched us to a French restaurant in our hometown, Charleston, South Carolina. We sulked through dinner until dessert arrived: crème caramel. And in that instant of magical custard, its essence of burnt marshmallow skin made silken-smooth (and grown-up-approved), everything changed. We’d never been to France, but we knew this crème caramel was a journey unto itself, to another place.
Walking home, we conspired to re-create this trip ourselves. We waited until a day when our parents were out of the house, took down Mom’s dusty, stained "Joy of Cooking" from the cabinet above the telephone table in the kitchen, and went to work.
Ashley Strickland is an associate producer with CNN.com. She likes tackling English toffee, channeling summer with sunflower cheesecakes, sharing people-pleasin' pizza dip and green soup, cajoling recipes from athletes and studying up on food holidays.
There is a grace in the harmony of simple flavors and taking the time and care to introduce them to one another. I like to think it’s embodied in a perfect pound cake.
Take a moment to get to know the grand dame of Southern desserts.
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