If you're hosting a party for the Super Bowl, check out these tips from ConsumerReports.org on how to make it safe, clean, and fun for all.
On February 6, many will gather to watch the Big Game. Those hosting parties should make sure the drama comes from the field and not from sick guests or post-game home repairs. ConsumerReports.org has compiled its list of the top five Big Game party "flags" and tips on how to avoid them.
"The Big Game has become one of the best holidays of the year, with lots of food, drink, friends, and fun," says Daniel DiClerico, Senior Editor for Consumer Reports. "If you're hosting the party, you just need to make sure any blown calls are limited to the field of play."
1. Illegal use of hands. This is most likely to occur during the party prep when food is touched with unclean hands. Always wash with soap and warm water for twenty seconds before handling food. Clean cutting boards, knives, and countertops when switching from one food prep to another to prevent juice from raw meat, poultry, and fish from cross-contaminating other foods.
2. False start. Referring to meat dishes - whether chicken wings, pulled pork sandwiches, or Philly cheese steaks - that aren't cooked to the USDA's recommended safe minimum internal temperatures. A meat thermometer is a kitchen essential. Plan the game-day around first-half and second-half courses. Once served, perishable food should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Serving a dish in one of Consumer Reports top-performing slow cookers could give hosts one less dish to worry about.
3. Tripping. With all those limbs flailing in front of the TV, someone is bound to take a tumble. Let's hope they're not holding a bowl of chili or a bottle of chocolate stout. But just in case, keep a roll of paper towels (Walgreens Ultra Quilted and CVS Big Quilts combined strength and absorbency in Consumer Reports' latest paper towel tests) to quickly blot stains until dry. For stubborn spills, have a container of carpet-stain remover at the ready. Seventh Generation Natural Carpet Spot and Stain Remover is a CR Best Buy, but Bissell's OxyPro Carpet Spot & Stain Remover did slightly better with red wine (though for best results, limit the party to white wine).
4. Holding. As in party guests' bladders, after the halftime rush to the toilet causes a home's plumbing system to fail. Give the toilet a check up to make sure it's ready for the workout. If the toilet runs nonstop, it's probably ready for a new flapper or valve, while leaks are signs of faulty water-supply connections. Need a new throne? Check out Consumer Reports toilet buying guide for recommended models. Come game day, make sure there's a plunger handy, preferably a newer, bellow-style model, which Consumer Reports has found to be as effective as chemical drain cleaners at clearing clogs.
5. Delay of game. As in delay of game food. If serving pizzas or baking a ham, the oven is bound to get a workout. To expand cooking capabilities, leverage the strengths of countertop appliances. Many toaster ovens can serve as a second oven and help heat chicken wings, pigs in blankets and other finger foods. If the microwave has a convection mode, use it to brown and crisp food or to quickly heat a platter of nachos. Before plugging in high wattage helpers, make sure they are running on separate circuits or at least not at the same time so a breaker switch doesn't trip in the middle of the big game. That could result in some unnecessary roughness.
For more information on Big Game party prep, visit www.ConsumerReports.org. For those looking to upgrade their set before the Big Game, check out Consumer Reports five best TV picks. Check out Consumer Reports latest Ratings for winning chicken wings, frozen pizzas, and beers to service at a Big Game party.