Secrets of the Professionals Revealed That You Can Use at Home – 2


Last issue we learned how the professionals keep their facilities free of vermin and how you can implement the same practices in your own home.  Do you wonder how the large food companies keep their facilities so clean and spotless to ensure you get the highest quality product?  I don’t know about you but I don’t always remember how long ago I cleaned behind the fridge, or how often I clean the range hood grills.  Was it last month? Last year?  The professionals use a fabulous tool to track cleaning that you can as well to make sure all is done on a regular basis and it’s called a “sanitation schedule”

Sanitation Schedule

Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like.  It’s a cleaning schedule that is posted in a convenient location where everyone can see it.  It lists every component, every apparatus, every location that food touches and every other nook and cranny from receiving to production to packaging to the warehouse and finally shipping.  Also on the schedule along with each item listed is when it should be cleaned, who’s responsible to make it happen and when it did happen.  This ensures a uniform and continuous cleaning program that you can also schedule high traffic and critical areas for more intense cleaning. 

You can do the same thing for your home.  Great areas, to begin with, would be the kitchen and bathrooms.  So what do we need to clean?  Use a critical eye and look around the kitchen and break it down.  Don’t forget any surfaces.  As an example, I have behind the refrigerator scheduled as an annual chore and then for the stove vent hood, it’s done along with the grease traps and vents every other week May-Sept and then up to once a week Oct – Jan when we do more cooking and entertaining.  How about inside the refrigerator?  The door shelves, the produce storage bins, the ice bin.  All items you may miss but with your sanitation schedule, you are confident they’re clean and fully operational.  Don’t forget the pantry and other cabinets as well that you use to store food items.  When you’re cleaning them also keep an eye out for signs of infestation like mouse droppings and that food is properly sealed so it won’t entice unwanted visitors.   

Get the kids involved too by allowing them to make a  cleaning schedule for their own rooms as well as other cleaning chores you may assign them.  This is also the perfect time of year to get this started and a great habit to develop.  So get your sanitation schedule together, (please feel free to change and tailor the name to suit your needs) and then you can run your household just like a professional.

Want to learn more?  It’s easy.  You can begin by subscribing to this blog or you can also research it or google it.  Try the term HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) to get you started.  Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question.










Just Putting It Out There – Thanksgiving Safety Recipe




Even with all the jokes about the interaction of families and the related stress on Thanksgiving Day, it’s roots originated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest which became an annual tradition in the United States in 1863 by presidential proclamation. All most four score years later in 1941 Federal legislation set the celebration of Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday in November and here we are.  As thankful and grateful as we may be this innocent looking day of celebration with parades, football, overeating and retail sales can also be the most dangerous day of the year!

Thanksgiving day has earned this reputation on several levels as the number of fatal traffic accidents just about triple on this day.  Domestic violence reports to police departments increase by 22%.   If this wasn’t enough, the chance of a fire in your home on this day more than doubles!  Unfortunately there will be about 4,000 kitchen fires across the nation.

So how do you still have fun and give your family and guest an awesome experience?  Would you like me to share that secret with you. It’s a secret family recipe going back, 3 generations.  It’s called – Preparation.  As with cooking and safety, preparation is the difference to a great safe holiday experience or a day waiting in the local E.R.  Be prepared for the worst, enjoy the best, or as my friend Ruby at Your Social Success says –

   Your social success

Your social success

Here are some things to plan and be aware of.

         McKesson Corp.

McKesson Corp.  

– Choking  With all the great food, conversation and commotion going on it’s possible for someone especially kids and seniors to have a piece of food like a walnut or piece of candy go down the wrong pipe. Brush up on your Heimlich maneuver.  If you have young kids get them involved and have them demonstrate to your guests before dinner the universal sign for choking like a pre-flight safety demo.


– Trips & Falls – Due to the size of your guest list you may have to expand your seating capacity by adding tables or moving into a larger area not usually used for dining. Watch for trip hazards in the new set up like the edge of a fireplace hearth that  may be blocked from vision causing a trip.  If you need to use extension cords cover them and tape it down to avoid trips.  Area rugs, bear rugs and child toys, keep it clear, you don’t want Grandma slipping and falling and having an extended stay at your home.

Kitchen  This is where all the magic happens along with the chance of a fire doubling.  Remember, the main reason fires begin is distracted cooking and/or using too high a heat.  When you’re trying to entertain a house full of guests along with your critical mother-in-law it’s a challenge to keep things on the kitchen stove and oven under control.  Just about everyone has a smart phone these days, use the timers and alarms to help remind you to keep on point. Whether you rotate family members to monitor the stove so you can mingle or not, just make sure someone is watching and make sure they all know where the fire extinguisher is kept.  Also keep flammable items like paper towels, oven mitts and dish towels away from burners and don’t bother wearing the blouse mom bought you last Christmas with the long fluffly sleeves that you never wear.   You don’t want to be a human torch.  Having an Aloe plant near by or a tube of Aloe Vera is great for those small burns.  Best to run cold tap water over the burn and then use the aloe.  Make sure little hands can’t get to the knives, blenders, mixers or their electrical cords and pull them down onto themselves.  Have all handles for pots and pans facing to the side on the stove top.

It’s fine to encourage the kids to participate in the preparation and cooking but with all the activity going on you want to keep them safe as well so have an area set up in the kitchen where they can accomplish small tasks and feel part of the process but keep the area around the stove free and clear of kid traffic at all times.  A wad of pie dough and small rolling pin can keep them busy for quite awhile.

– Cross Contamination – You’re heard the expression, too many chefs can spoil the broth?  There’s something to be said about that as when you have family members all trying to help it’s possible to cross contaminate the counter or utensils after touching raw meat or fowl. Set separate areas and cutting boards for preparation of raw proteins, raw vegetables and cooked items. Remember to wash your hands before preparing or touching food.

Make sure what ever appliances you use that you follow the manufacturers guidelines and if you absolutely, positively have to fix it now remember to unplug it before touching anything.

– One last tidbit – I know at the point when everyone has gone home you just want to collapse into a comfy chair and finish that bottle of wine but first take a walk around your home and make sure everything is turned off, like the oven, candles or other smoking materials are properly extinguished and no liquid spills on the floor.  If you did use the fireplace, don’t assume the ambers in there are out.  Place the ash in a metal container and avoid the guess work.  Using a paper or plastic container the ambers can smolder for hours and long after you’ve gone to sleep erupt into flame.

Don’t let a lapse in safety spoil your holiday.




All I Really Need To Know About 5S I Learned From Grandma

“A place for everything and everything in its place”, that’s the mantra Grandma drilled into me daily during the summers I spent with her and Grandpa.  All the cooking utensils and hand operated machines in the kitchen were her tools and like any gifted artisan, she created masterpieces with them.  She also taught me, in order to be creative, inspired and efficient in the kitchen, you needed to respect your work area and the tools!   Everything had to be stored in its proper assigned place, kept clean, sharp and ready for use in an instant.  They were from the old country and this is how they were brought up.  Even the small barn in the back of the house where Grandpa’s workshop was located was spotless, organized and free of clutter.  I looked forward at the end of the day, to help Grandpa matching up the tool with it’s corresponding drawn figure on the pegged wall.  They both were in constant motion from dawn until bedtime but it gave them purpose and they were very proud of their property.  What Grandma didn’t know at the time was she was training me on her own version of a 5S program which is a key building block of any Quality Warehouse.

What is 5S exactly?  Briefly,  It’s a concept developed in Japan that is a way to keep one organized and ensure good housekeeping in the workplace.  5S offers organization and standardization, improves safety, working efficiency, improved productivity and helps motivation and instills pride.  The 5S are:    Seiri – Clearing up.  Seiton – Organizing.  Seiso – Cleaning.  Seiketsu – standardizing.  Shitsuke – self-discipline.  There are also variations of 5S like 6S (Sort, Straighten, Sweep, Standardize, Self-Discipline, Safety).  Either way, don’t let the terminology intimidate you.  You can call it by any name you want, I refer to it as using common sense, but you do need a vehicle to help keep your warehouse neat, organized, clean and ready for whatever challenges the work day brings.  A great reference I found for 5S questions is 5S Supply.  I recommend signing up for their blog.

Grandma also taught me, it is a concept that can also be used at home just as well to keep things so you know where to find them when you need them.  Just think, when your home is clean and organized any project you tackle is so much easier to do.  Think about your hobby room?  How difficult is it to scrapbook when everything is organized and easy to get too?  Apply this concept to your pantry at home.  How many times have you bought something you thought you needed because you couldn’t find it but only to find it buried underneath a bag walnuts a few days later?  When the pantry is organized:  baking goods, oils, canned goods, grains, snacks it’s easy to take a quick look-see and know what you need to buy at the store.  Same applies to the company tool room or supply store.  When you know what parts are on hand and when you need to reorder you’re not wasting valuable time searching for something you think you have.

Whatever 5S program you decide to put in place, it sets the tone for your team at the warehouse.  Employees are more productive, like beautiful flowers in a well lighted, enriched environment free of trip hazards as opposed to being like mushrooms in a dark, dirty place.  O.K.  You are now a step closer to a Quality Warehouse.  More tips to complete this journey coming.  Any thoughts and suggestions are always welcome.