Man does not live by bread alone.
Nor does he just live by meat or fruit or veggies.
He has to have sides to really round out a “well-balanced” meal.
Especially during the summertime, what is a picnic without some potato salad, or cole slaw, or some mac ‘n’ cheese, and the like?
Not complete, most would venture to say.
No way complete, whatsoever.
And, according to Carmen Long, extension agent, family and consumer education at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Surry County Center, the most often thought of side dish folks think of is the versatile dish — potato salad. But for decades, people were convinced that the mayonnaise in potato salad would make people sick if the mayonnaise was left out.
Not so, Long said. Nope. It’s just not so.
“It’s a myth,” she said, “if the mayonnaise is commercially made.”
“It’s a non-existent risk these days,” she added. But the onus stuck because mayonnaise used to be mainly homemade with eggs and wasn’t pasteurized like it is today. “In fact, nowadays, it may not be the mayo, but more the ingredients we put into it.”
Another reason for possible food poisoning being contracted while eating summertime fare is cross contamination.
“These are the issues that cause the problems,” she emphasized.
One way to help avoid getting sick from eating spoiled food is to use only refrigerated products when possible. For example, when making egg salad, keep the eggs in the refrigerator until ready to make, and then put them right back into the refrigerator when done mixing.
“And leave these dishes in the refrigerator the whole time,” she advised, “because when food gets warm, bacteria starts to grow.”
Similar advice goes for hot dishes.
For example, when serving hot baked beans, try to put an insulated gel pack under the dish, heated usually in a microwave for hot dishes or kept in the freezer for cold dishes.
Another great tip that Long recommends is the two-hour rule. Keep a dish, hot or cold, out of refrigeration for two hours or less, no more. And, if some dishes happen to stay outside of the fridge for longer, Long has a suggestion.
“When in doubt, throw it out,” she said. “You don’t want folks to risk getting sick.” A lot of times folks will leave a bucket of fried chicken out, thinking this food will be O.K. sitting out for a while. But Long wants folks to know that they actually might be putting their health at risk. People can demonstrate flu-like symptoms that are really food poisoning from just a few hours after eating to as much as up to six weeks after the event. “And it can be quite serious … This isn’t the present you want folks to bring back with them.”
Instead, Long suggests, don’t even bring some food that might spoil easily when going to an event where the food might sit out for a while. Instead, bring dishes like cookies or brownies or chips rather than, say, cheese cake. Or at least make sure, as Long mentioned earlier, to refrigerate food within a two-hour window or less.
“Food and fellowship are an important part of our lives,” Long acknowledged.
She just wants to make sure it is safe and healthy as well.
CAROLINE’S MAC ‘N’ CHEESE
BY CAROLINE SIMPSON, 5 1/2 YEARS OLD
FOR THE DRAUGHN FAMILY REUNION
1 box of shell macaroni
1/2 to 1 stick of margarine
1 container of cheese sauce
1/4 cup of milk
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
Follow the directions on the box of noodles to cook. Drain the macaroni. Stir the last four ingredients together and heat over medium heat until creamy and mix with the noodles.
SOUTHERN POTATO SALAD
BY SHERYL BONDURANT
2 - 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
15 potatoes, peeled and cubed, different sizes
1/2 cup of sweet pickles, chopped, or sweet relish
2/3 cup of onions, chopped, or more if desired to taste
1/2 teaspoon of mustard
1 teaspoon of salt and pepper
1 to 1 1/2 cups of mayonnaise, or more if desired to taste
1 pinch of sugar, or 2, if desired to taste
Boil potatoes. Drain and put them into a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
BY SANDY LOVE
FOR MOTHER’S DAY THIS YEAR
1/2 to 1 pound of ground beef
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon of bacon grease
2 small cans of pork and beans
3/4 cup of ketchup
1 Tablespoon of prepared mustard
1/2 cup of brown sugar
Brown the beef with the peppers, onions, and bacon grease. Add the beans, ketchup, mustard and brown sugar together. Let this mixture come to a boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
ASIAN COLE SLAW
BY KIM ATKINS-BRUNER
1 bag of angel hair cole slaw
2 packages of Ramen noodles (Chef’s note: Crush while in the bag and discard the flavor packet.)
1 small package of sliced almonds
2 Tablespoons of soy sauce
1 cup of sugar
¼ cup of red wine vinegar
¾ cup of olive or canola oil
A splash of sesame seed oil
Mix all of the sauce ingredients together and place into the freezer 30 minutes before use. Toast the almonds and crushed Ramen noodles at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Mix with the angel hair cole slaw. Pour the cold sauce over the cole slaw. Mix well.
FROM ALISON JOHNSON
4 cups of chopped cabbage
1 (12 ounce) can of Mexicorn
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons of sliced black olives
1 cup of mayo
2 Tablespoons of sugar
2 Tablespoons of vinegar
4 teaspoons of prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoons of celery seed
Just mix it all together.
SOUR CREAM CORN BREAD
FROM ALISON JOHNSON
1 cup of self-rising corn meal
1 cup of sour cream
1 small can (8 3/4 ounces) of creamed corn
1/2 cup of salad oil
1 small can of chopped green chilies
Mix it all up together. Bake it in a greased 9-inch pan at 400-degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. The corn bread also can be baked in muffin tins and it will take a little less time.
EASY CRANBERRY RELISH
BY SUE KREPPS
RECIPE FROM LIBRARY FOOD SWAP EVENT
1 can of of jellied cranberry sauce with berries
1 can of cranberry sauce without berries
2 to 3 Tablespoons of frozen orange juice concentrate, to taste (not diluted)
2 to 4 ounces of finely chopped pecans
Mix all the ingredients together. Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to blend. Serve with poultry or pork.
CROCK POT CHILI
BY TONY SARDLER
1 pound of ground beef, browned
1 package of chili seasoning
1 16-ounce jar of thick and chunky salsa
Put the browned meat in the crock pot, add chili seasoning and salsa. Heat for about 2 to 3 hours on low. Serve with corn chips.
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
BY SHARON HODGE
3 cups of mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of marshmallows
Combine all ingredients and pour in casserole dish
1 cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup of flour
1 cup of coconut
1/3 stick of margarine, melted
Mix well. Pour over sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes.
BY ELLIE LAWRENCE
1 packet of guacamole mix
1/2 lime, juiced
Wash the avocados and peel. Remove meat from the avocados and put into a mixing bowl. Add the guacamole mix and the lime juice to the avocados. Mix well and chill.
SWEET POTATO DUMPLINGS
BY BARBARA GOINS
4 medium sweet potatoes
2 cans of Pillsbury crescent rolls
Cook the potatoes until tender, then peel. Slice them into 4 pieces each. Measure the brown sugar to be used for the syrup (See below.), roll the potatoes, and wrap with the crescent rolls. Place in a 9-x-13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with the cinnamon.
2 cups of brown sugar
2 cups of water
2 sticks of margarine
1 Tablespoon of vanilla flavoring
Bring to a boil the remaining brown sugar, water, margarine, and vanilla. Pour this mixture into the pan containing the sweet potatoes and dough. Then, bake in preheated oven at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until brown.
Lucie R. Willsie can be reached at 336-719-1930 or on Twitter at LucieR.Willsie.