Response has been very good for the “Cooking with Chef Cruz” event, to take place on Tuesday, June 6. As a reminder, early registration of $20 is due May 12. After May 12, registration goes up to $25. The first 20 people to register will have the privilege of serving on a tasting panel. Seating is limited, so don’t delay in registering! But let me back up and start from the beginning in case you missed last week’s column!
A multi-county team of Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Agents from northeast Texas (Hopkins, Hunt, Rains, and Wood Counties) worked diligently for several months to plan a special event that would appeal to both women and men. The overall name of the program is “Dinner Tonight – Cooking with Chef Cruz.” Dinner Tonight is a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension banner program which has been implemented since 2010. Each year, our team rotates the location from county to county, with a different theme and focus. We don’t actually serve dinner (that would be too costly!), but we do share great recipes, cooking tips and demonstrations, food safety information…and we throw in a little fun along the way.
This year’s event will take place at the Hidden Lakes Hunting Lodge in Yantis, Tuesday, June 6, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The Chef from the lodge will demonstrate recipes using Red Stag, Buffalo, Duck, and Quail. Our Extension team will be on hand to share recipes for great side dishes, food safety when preparing and storing wild game, and each participant will receive a goody bag. Door prizes will also be given. Chef Cruz Minjarez, originally from San Antonio, served as chef in Sitka, Alaska prior to becoming the Executive Chef for Hidden Lakes, so he also knows his fish!
I recently spoke with some friends who have dined at the lodge, and they give rave reviews over the food! You don’t want to miss this fun, informative event. For registration information, contact my office at 903-885-3443, or go to http://hopkins.agrilife.org and click on events. Scroll down to the event and click on the registration link. The form and fee will need to be sent to the Rains County Extension Office.
Raw Milk vs. Pasteurized Milk?
Based on statistics from the five-year period 2009-2014, people who drink unpasteurized, raw milk are 840 times more likely to contract a foodborne illness than those who drink pasteurized milk. The statistics, included in a research report scheduled for publication in the upcoming June issue of “Emerging Infectious Diseases” also show raw milk drinkers are 45 times more likely to be hospitalized if they get sick from drinking unpasteurized milk. According to the research, the growing popularity of unpasteurized milk in the United States raises public health concerns… As consumption of unpasteurized dairy products grows, illnesses will increase steadily; a doubling in the consumption of unpasteurized milk or cheese could increase outbreak-related illnesses by 96 percent.
The researchers looked at illnesses from four pathogens commonly found in raw milk: Shiga toxin–producing E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter. Based on public health statistics from 2011-2014, the team found that more than 95 percent of these illnesses are salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis.
Despite those statistics and ongoing warnings from the CDC, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and state and local health departments, some people believe unpasteurized milk is more nutritious. “However, in contrast to some perceptions, natural food products are not necessarily safer than conventional ones, as evidenced by higher rates of foodborne illnesses associated with unpasteurized dairy products,” according to the research report.
Pasteurized milk is nutritious, delicious, and safe. Before my husband and I became empty nesters, our household went through 6 gallons of milk each week. (Of course, we had a daughter and two strapping boys, one of which was a cross-country runner!) We certainly did our part to support the dairy industry through our dairy product consumption! Store milk in the refrigerator and be sure that the refrigerator temperature is 40°F or lower. If in doubt, you may request a refrigerator thermometer from my office. After all, food borne illness can be prevented.
“Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved.” – Unknown
Johanna Hicks, B.S., M.Ed
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Family & Consumer Sciences Agent
P.O. Box 518
1200-B W. Houston
Sulphur Springs, TX 75483