As we approach the Thanksgiving weekend, here are a few cooking tips from Central. Please feel free to share yours with us and all the other blog readers!
How to cut an onion without crying?
Image from FreeDigitPhotos.net
All methods below will reduce the volatility of the sulfide that causes irritation:
Use sweet onions
Peeling and cutting under running water
Refrigerating onions before chopping
Reduce clean up time
Use kitchen scissors to chop fresh mint, chilies and coriance finely with any mess.
Measure your ingredients carefully
Use metal or plastic nested cups for dry ingredients like flour and sugar, and graduated glass or plastic cups with spouts for liquids. If you use the liquid measuring cup for flour you may get an extra tablespoon or more per cup, which could make cookies hard and dry. To measure flour, lightly spoon it from the canister into the measuring cup and level it with a straight edge of a spatula or knife. Do not tap or shake the cup to level it. When measuring brown sugar, pack it firmly into the dry measuring cup so that it holds its shape when it is removed.
Make the best cookies
Bake one sheet of cookies at a time. Center the rack in the middle of the oven. If you put two baking sheets in the oven at one time, it is best to switch their positions halfway through the baking time. Allow cookie sheets to cool thoroughly between batches. Putting the dough onto hot cookie sheets may cause the cookies to spread and brown too much around the edges.
Use flat baking sheets or those with very low edges. Shiny, heavy gauge aluminum is best; dark cookie sheets may cause excessive browning. For best results, the cookie sheets should be one to two inches smaller than the oven rack on all sides to allow for proper air circulation.
Prepare cookie sheets and baking pans as directed before you begin to mix the recipe. If light greasing is suggested, use vegetable oil spray or a small amount of solid vegetable shortening. Do not use butter or margarine as it may burn on cookie sheets. You might also want to use bakers’ parchment paper (available in many supermarkets and specialty stores) instead of greasing cookie sheets — it will also save on cleanup time!
Freeze baked cookies for months of ready-made snacks. Cooled cookies, double-wrapped in plastic sheets or plastic storage bags will last up to three months. To thaw, remove cookies from freezer, unwrap and place them in a single layer on wire racks for 15 to 30 minutes. Store uneaten cookies in a tightly covered container.
I read a survey online today, conducted by SCA Tissue, that found the cleanliness of restaurant bathrooms is a key factor in repeat business.
Okay, the results aren’t earth-shattering, but I don’t think I could have said it better myself: restroom cleanliness reflects the overall hygiene standards throughout the restaurant, including kitchen and food prep areas.
According to the poll, the top 10 dirty restroom factors that would
prevent restaurant customers from returning are:
Overflowing toilets: 58%
Unpleasant odors: 57%
Slippery/dirty floors with buildup, gum or other residue: 49%
Dirty partitions, doors, doorknobs, walls or fixtures: 38%
Dirty and wet sinks and countertops: 38%
Insufficient toilet paper: 33%
Overflowing trash cans: 31%
Insufficient liquid soap: 28%
Non-working toilet paper dispenser: 22%
Management/employees unavailable for reporting problems: 19%
In addition, the survey found that word gets around about a bad restroom experience:
50% of those who visit restaurants said they would tell their friends and family about a negative experience with an unclean or unsanitary restaurant restroom.
46% said they would avoid going to a restaurant because of a bad experience with a restaurant’s restroom that they had themselves or one they heard about from others.
Okay, here are my thoughts:
In regard to unpleasant odors, I think it’s important to note that any strong odor, including a cloying floral scent or the stench of cleaning products, is just as unpleasant as the more obvious “bad” restroom odors. An adjustable odor control system with a more subdued scent is likely to leave a better impression. In my experience, no smell at all is better than a cover-up frangrance.
My next frustration has to do with toilet paper. Yes, running out of TP is the worst-case scenario, but simply stacking extra rolls atop the dispenser is not a good solution. To me, a loose roll is a roll that’s potentially been on the floor. All TP should go straight into the dispenser, spending as little time in the open air as possible! 😉
Last, I understand that, in the interest of cutting down on waste and becoming more environmentally friendly, many establishments are shifting to hand-dryers as a substitute for the more-wasteful paper-towel dispensers. But, some of us still find comfort in drying our hands with a towel. And sometimes, say, after you spill half a glass of red wine down the front of you, the air dryer just isn’t going to cut it.
The center-pull towel dispenser is a good “hybrid.” It dispenses one sheet at a time for portion control, and it’s hands-free for added cleanliness.
One more thing– the hands-free waste container won’t do any good if your patrons have to perch their trash atop a mound of garbage overflowing out of the top– and there isn’t any solution to that except for good ol’ fashioned vigilance.
So, the biggest lesson to learn from this survey, is that it takes diligence on the part of every single staff member to have a consistently sparkling-clean restroom. Train everyone to do a walk-through of the restrooms a few times during the rush. It’s hard to do when you’re slammed, but that is also most likely when the restroom will need attention…
Your customers will thank you for it– and they’ll tell their friends.