Last week I was contacted by a representative from Reser’s Fine Foods offering to send me a sample pack of potato salad and macaroni salad. Never one to turn down free food or drink, I accepted. The package arrived yesterday and I can honestly say I enjoyed the contents thoroughly. (I am a little embarrassed to admit that I took down the entire 1 lb. tub of Reser’s Mustard Potato Salad the day it arrived between both lunch and dinner. It was that good.)
I had heard of Reser’s Fine Foods but I am ashamed to admit I had never tried their food products until now. I recognized the Reser’s brand name because I have watched countless college football games involving Oregon State. (The stadium in Corvalis, Oregon is named after Al and Pat Reser, the owners of Reser’s Fine foods.) It is safe to say when the owner of a large company sponsors the naming rights of a college stadium, undoubtedly they support the tailgate party lifestyle
Because Reser’s supports tailgating they also are a big proponent of food safety. The weather is still very hot and will remain that way for the beginning part of the college and pro football season. Keeping cold foods cold while maintaining proper temperatures for warm foods is key to any tailgate party. Along with my sample of Reser’s Potato Salad and Reser’s Macaroni Salad was a food safety list from Reser’s food safety expert, Steve Loehndorf. This time of year more than any other is the most critical time to pay attention to food safety. Steve Loehndorf suggests:
1. Follow the 3-C’s. Keep products Clean, Cold, and Covered. Use clean serving dishes and utensils, keep products in coolers or on ice whenever possible, and protect against exposure to insects and direct sunlight.
2. Transport food in the passenger area of your car. The trunk of a car can reach a sweltering 150 degrees F, so transport coolers in the passenger area of your car.
3. Keep your cool. Put a blanket over the cooler and place it in the shade to maintain cold temperatures. Minimize the number of times you open the lid by placing beverages in a separate container.
4. Wash your hands. If the site does not have hand washing facilities, play it smart and pack moist towelettes.
One tailgating idea I can add to Steve’s excellent list is to bring along a bottle of antibacterial gel. Purel is the most popular brand out there but the key is to sanitize your hands while tailgating. No one wants to be “that guy” that misses the second half of the game because they are off to the hospital with food poisoning from something they ate while tailgating. Wash your hands frequently while tailgating and a few squirts of antibacterial gel and you should be good to go.
Take a look at a local news channel’s visit to the Reser’s Beaverton, Oregon main facility and what goes into making potato salad at Reser’s.
That leads us to the most important part of this post. Free Food! Yes, that’s right, Reser’s Fine foods wants to give one lucky reader of TailgatingIdeas.com a “Reser’s Tailgate Pack”. The Reser’s Tailgate Pack would include one large potato salad and one large macaroni salad. (And don’t worry, my sample of potato salad and macaroni salad courtesy of Reser’s came complete with ice packs. They were colder when they arrived in a box than had I taken them out of the fridge at the grocery store.) Another fun fact from Steve Loehndorf is:
Did you Know?
The presence of mayonnaise in summer salads and coleslaws actually contributes to the product’s safety. Why? The high acidity of mayonnaise protects against bacterial growth and the potential for food poisoning.
So how do you win a Reser’s Tailgate Pack? Simple. Just leave a comment below this post sharing a food safety tailgating idea. (Sorry, but using the “Five Second Rule” as your secret food safety tip will not count.) Leave your comment and tailgating food safety tip below and a winner will be chosen at random. Make sure to provide a valid email address with your comment (it will not be visible to others and we promise we will not spam you) because that is the way we will notify you that you won. You will then need to provide a shipping location on where Reser’s will need to send you your care package. Deadline to leave a comment is midnight pacific time, September 2, 2009.
Good luck and make sure to try Reser’s Fine Foods next time you are shopping for your next tailgate party.