Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tom's secrets: part 1

Today's secrets are for long-lasting water bottles, long-lasting refrigerated food, a clean car interior, and consistently perfect discount bananas.

My secrets for long-lasting water bottles are 1) to use clear, strong PETE bottles instead of semi-clear, weak HDPE bottles and 2) to take the bottles directly from the house to the water store so I avoid leaving empty bottles in the car where they will deform in the heat.

My secrets for long-lasting food in the refrigerator are 1) to keep the refrigerator near freezing so that occasionally food in a certain corner may freeze, 2) to keep food out of the temperature danger zone between 40 -140 degrees F (4.4-60 degrees C) as much as possible, 3) to package home-cooked food while boiling hot and avoid uncovering, stirring, or handling food that is in the cooler danger zone and very susceptible to infection, 4) to refrigerate before opening jars of salsa, cans of food, etc. that I hope to keep long, and 5) to wash dipping utensils before dipping from any refrigerated container.

My secret for keeping my car clean with children around is to keep a wad of grocery bags hidden in the car and to have one always hanging from a seat headrest. When I see trash, I hand it to or point it out to my children, asking them to put it in the trash bag. When I drive by a dumpster, I have the kids help me snip off the old trash bag, discard it, and hang a new one.

My secret for having perfect, inexpensive bananas every day of the year is to buy lots of bananas when they are on sale, then wait until they are at my preferred ripeness, when I peel them and freeze them whole with just minutes of effort. Frozen bananas are a treat as sold on California's Balboa Island or are great in smoothies.

My secret for having crisp, clean hand soap on the bathroom vanity sink is to move the vanity bar of soap to the bath whenever the bath needs a new bar, and to put the newly opened bar of soap on the vanity. I guess you would call that soap rotation.

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