Thanksgiving on hot plates?

Dear Lynne,

We are organizing our annual Thanksgiving buffet. My cousin is being a pain. She says we have to have hot plates to keep the turkey and my sausage stuffing hot. I think they are safe at room temperature for a couple of hours. Who is right?

Tom in NYC

Dear Tom,

I hate to tell you, but your cousin wins this one. Left at room temperature, any animal protein will spoil (which includes the meat in the stuffing, and any eggs there, too).

You may not taste it, but spoilage is happening. It can make you sick. Also, moist bread is a wonderful breeding ground for bacteria.

Play it safe. Keep the hot food hot, which is 200º or higher, and the cold food cold, which is 32º to 34º. Use an instant reading thermometer to see how things are doing.


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