ChowChow & Soul Blogger Serves Up Her Best Food Safety Tips

Prep cook slicing tomato and peppersMy mother always told me to not eat at everybody’s house. She said, “people are nasty and trifling.” It’s the little things you have to pay attention to: are the dishes and utensils clean when they’re cooking? Where are the pets when they’re in the kitchen cooking? How many times do they wash their hands? I’ve learned to watch people like a hawk before I say, “I want a plate!”

Charla L. Draper

Charla L. Draper knows a thing or two about good eating and food safety. She’s the former Food Editor for Ebony and Southern Living magazines. Her food blog, ChowChow & Soul, is filled with everything food related from mouth watering recipes to information about how to man a bar. Draper’s years in the food industry have taught her a few things about food safety. She shares her tips on keeping it clean and safe in the kitchen. What is food safety for the people who don’t know what we’re speaking about?

Draper: Food safety refers to the conditions and practices to preserve food quality, prevent food contamination and food-borne illness.

For example:

  • Storing at room temperature will affect the quality of lettuce, berries, etc.
  • Handling food without washing your hands can contaminate the food with bacteria, especially if you have a cold or other illness.
  • Using the same grocery bag for meat, poultry or seafood and fruits and vegetables can cross-contaminate and lead to a food-borne illness. What are the top 5 ways to be safe in the kitchen? 


1. Wash your hands with soap and running water for 20 seconds or two verses of the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end.

2. Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator, NOT at room temperature on the counter.