Category Archives: Safety and Sanitation

Kitchen Safety and Sanitation Review with Today’s Meet Technology Tool

To review safety and sanitation with my Bakery students I showed this video from Jamie Oliver’s Home Cooking Skills channel. It shows someone preparing a chicken caesar salad but making many safety and sanitation mistakes along the way. The video reviews are very positive, but many point to the fact that there is no narration or recap to highlight each error.

That can be your student’s jobs!

I set up a “room” in Today’s Meet, which is like a personal temporary chat room. Anyone with the link can participate.

I showed the video and asked students to type all of the errors they saw as they were happening. Technology was great for this as opposed to writing because many students (and I) can type faster than write.

After watching the video in silence, we watched it a second time. I was able to scroll back through their comments and use them to narrate the video, pause, and discuss.

Everyone participated and was involved throughout the activity. It was so much better than just passively watching a video.

I used this as a review for my Bakery students but it would also do well as a pre-assessment for novice cooks.

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DIY Surface Bacteria Sampling Dish | Vegan

If you follow me on Instagram (#mhsfcs, #washurhands) you may be wondering why we are decorating for Christmas so early. See all of the beautiful reds and greens?

Although we would love a break from this hot muggy weather, Christmas is a long time away. Those colors you see are all kinds of microorganisms growing on surfaces in our school.

I read a lot online about testing surface bacteria with agar dishes and tape and knew the experiment would be perfect for my students to demonstrate the importance of hygiene in food preparation. I quickly found it to be cost-prohibitive. After looking through several recipes online I came up with this concoction. Because it is so quick, cheap, and easy to make, we were able to collect samples from 54 surfaces in our school!

To make four dishes, dissolve 1 tsp guar gum and 2 tsp sugar in 1/2 C hot water. Whisk vigorously with a fork because the guar sets quickly. Carefully pour the mixture into four 7″ heavy duty plates.* Allow to set and place in quart-sized zipper-seal plastic bags.

*Although it sets up well, the guar gum is still a bit runny. In the future I think I will cut clear Solo cups for trays. This would also allow for the use of a microscope. They would also fit in a snack or sandwich bag which are less expensive than quart-sized.

Like most good ideas, this one came late at night. All of the recipes called for gelatin which I do not use in my home. Guar gum is a great substitute that I have on hand. It is six times stronger and at least that more cheaper than gelatin. A little goes a long way.

To test a surface, students tore 1 square of very cheap 2-ply toilet paper and wiped the whole surface.  They placed the paper “bacteria side down” in the guar gum. Then they very carefully peeled off the top “ply” of toilet paper. They put the dish back in to their quart bag and observed the bacteria multiplying over the next several days.

This is my favorite kitchen safety and sanitation activity to date. It was perfect at proving what I wanted, which is:

  • Places you think are gross, like bathroom floors or school lunch tables, are the ones most carefully cleaned.
  • The dirtiest places are the ones you don’t think about like cell phones, back packs, and shoes.
  • Sanitize your countertops before starting a lab, even if they appear clean.
  • For gosh sakes, put that phone away!!!
Hopefully this recipe puts a fun petri dish surface bacteria activity in reach for your students! Be sure to comment back here to share!
I hope what you've read is useful! I post here biweekly with resources for Family and Consumer Sciences and Home Economics teachers and share my classroom happenings much more frequently on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Sign up to receive an email when new content is added to my blog. Thanks for visiting!

Revisiting Yeast Balloon Blow-Up Activity to Accommodate Latex Allergies

It’s back-to school time which means I’m getting a new group of kiddos ready for the kitchen. They are eager to cook (read: eat) but need to understand safety and sanitation first.

It gives a great visual representation. Recently, however, teachers have been asked to be more aware of students with latex allergies. We have switched our adhesive bandages, gloves, and rubber bands to be latex-free.
I also re-did this activity. Instead of pouring the sugar and yeast mixture into bottles I used quart-sized freezer bags. I squeezed out as much air as possible and continued to follow the same procedure as before.
As you can see, students still have the obvious visual of how much faster bacteria multiplies at room temperature than in a refrigerator. It’s just in a more everyone-friendly format.
I hope what you've read is useful! I post here biweekly with resources for Family and Consumer Sciences and Home Economics teachers and share my classroom happenings much more frequently on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Sign up to receive an email when new content is added to my blog. Thanks for visiting!