Tailgating and food safety


After a long day or night of singing, cheering, and enjoying delicious food with friends at a tailgate party, most people just want to get home and relax and unwind. College fans, upon arriving home, may flip on the TV to catch a game from the west coast where the sun still shines, or at least catch scores and highlights. High school fans want to watch the Friday night highlights especially if their game is covered by a chopper crew from one of the TV stations. This is the perfect ending to a great day! Unfortunately, a perfect ending is not in the cards for all of the day’s tailgaters, because this is about the time when a small number of them begin to experience some nasty symptoms.

Food poisoning is most commonly caused by bacteria, like E. coli and salmonella. Less-harmful symptoms include cramps, diarrhea and nausea.

From history, the lesson we have learned to defeat E. coli is to cook raw meat at 160 degrees using a meat thermometer. Salmonella is a little more complicated because it is found in poultry, eggs, unprocessed milk and water, as well as meats. So follow these simple rules to avoid salmonella:

  • Be sure to buy USDA meets and check their freshness dates.
  • Wash hands, utensils and cutting boards as they touch food. Prepare as much of your food as possible at home in your sanitary kitchen.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Keep all perishable food in your refrigerator up until the moment you pack your coolers to leave for the game. (Food born microorganisms don’t grow below 40 degrees.)


Low Fat Apricot Bars

The favorite desert for tailgaters is the “Bar” because it can be picked up in one’s bare hands and doesn’t require a fork and plate. Here is a very popular tailgate bar recipe.

Ingredients for Bars: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 serving egg beaters, 1/2 cup apricot nectar or orange juice, 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, 2 tablespoons cooking oil, 1/2 cup finely snipped dried apricots

Ingredients Required for Icing: 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2 to 3 teaspoons of apricot nectar (or OJ) stirred together

To Prepare: In a medium mixing bowl stir together dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl stir together egg, apricot nectar, applesauce, and oil until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixing bowl and stir only until mixed. Then add the apricots. Spread this mixture in an ungreased 11x7x11/2 baking dish. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes until a dry toothpick inserted into the middle of the dish will come out clean. Cool in the dish on a wire rack. Drizzle with the icing and cut into 24 bars.


Each bar has 63 calories and 1 gram of fat. Each bar has 0 grams of saturated fat.

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