Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal: Writing Prompt

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Do you keep a journal - or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help.

Three times a month, I'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation - just write. Then let the writing simmer and your mind wander for awhile.

And who knows? Maybe you'll discover a character for your next short story or a theme for a narrative essay. Or maybe you'll use the idea to create a special holiday card or photo album for someone in your family. However you decide to use your journal entry, I know you'll enjoy re-reading it months--and years--down the road.
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True or False?

1) Freezing foods kills harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

2) I eat a vegetarian diet, so I don't have to worry about food poisoning.

3) Plastic or glass cutting boards don't hold harmful bacteria on their surfaces like wooden cutting boards do.

4) Locally-grown, organic foods will never give me food poisoning.

5) One of six Americans will get sick from food poisoning this year.

Answers: 1) False, 2) False, 3) False, 4)False, 5)True.

From the Partnership for Food Safety Education:

1) Bacteria can survive freezing temperatures. Freezing is not a method for making foods safe to eat. When food is thawed, bacteria can still be present and may begin to multiply. Cooking food to the proper internal temperature is the best way to kill harmful bacteria. Use a thermometer to measure the temperature of cooked foods.

2) Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, but like other foods they may carry a risk of foodborne illness. Always rinse produce under running tap water, including fruits and vegetables with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Never use detergent or bleach to wash fresh fruits or vegetables as these products are not intended for consumption. Packaged fruits and vegetables labeled "ready-to-eat" or "washed" do not need to be re-washed.

3) Any type of cutting board can hold harmful bacteria on its surface. Regardless of the type of cutting board you use, it should be washed and sanitized after each use. Solid plastic, tempered glass, sealed granite, and hardwood cutting boards are dishwasher safe. However, wood laminates don't hold up well in the dishwasher. Once cutting boards of any type become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves, they should be discarded.

4) Any food, whether organic or conventional, could become unsafe with illness-causing foodborne bacteria at any point during the chain from the farm to the table. Consumers in their homes can take action to keep their families safe. That is why it is important to reduce your risk of foodborne illness by practicing the four steps: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

5) Food poisoning or foodborne illness can affect anyone who eats food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, or other substances. But, certain groups of people -- pregnant women, older adults, persons with chronic illnesses -- are more susceptible to foodborne illness. This means that they are more likely to get sick from contaminated food and, if they do get sick, the effects are much more serious.

Interested in reading more?
Check out these websites:
FoodSafety.gov (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
Food Safety and Inspection Service (U.S. Department of Agriculture).

Journal Entry: Name one rule concerning food safety that's non-negotiable in your home. Write about the way(s) you've taught it and enforced it with your children.


Karna ConverseĀ is a freelance writer who’s written everything from technical documentation and price proposals to newsletter articles, devotionals, personal profiles and essays. Her essays have been published in a variety of regional and national publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Notre Dame Magazine, the Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup anthologies, Our Iowa, and on Iowa Public Radio. She’s serving as Literary Mama‘s Editor-in-Chief from her home in Storm Lake, Iowa. She and her husband are parents to three young adults.

 


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