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Board of Health: Cracker Barrel Faces Shutdown Over Late Payment

Amato offers 10 tips to stay safe when cooking over the holidays

The Tewksbury Board of Health met without Vice-Chair Bob Scarano.

The board received copies of marked-up tobacco regulations that eliminate discrepancies between the town and state regs. The changes will be voted on at the next meeting.

In October, the board reviewed compliance with an order to remove animals at 175 Kendall Rd. Director of Public Health Shannon Gillis reported that it appears the property owners, Michele & Giuseppina Saladino, had removed all animals and structures. 

“I would say they have achieved compliance,” said Gillis. 

Barry advised the owners that they may in the future apply at the town health office for a keeping of animals permit for as many as 12 chickens or four rabbits. For a combination, or animals beyond that, board approval is needed. 

In her director’s report, Gillis reminded residents of a Covid booster clinic today at the Senior Center from 10 a.m. to noon. Both Modena and Pfizer vaccines are available, and walk-ins are welcome. Learn more.

There are also more rapid Covid tests available at Town Hall outside the nurse’s office.

Cracker Barrel has not sent in its food permit renewal application or fee. If that is not taken care of by Dec. 30, the restaurant will be closed down, per Barry.

The Learning Experience child care center sent its application late and also has not yet paid its fee. 

In board reports, member Susan Amato reported on how to be safe in the kitchen over the holidays.

  1. A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife, so keep your knives sharp, and use the proper knife for the task.
  2. Have different cutting boards for cooked meats, vegetables, and raw meats. At her restaurant, Angelina’s, she uses color-coded cutting boards and advises residents to find a way to keep these three food types separate. 
  3. Wash hands frequently, including whenever you walk away from cooking tasks.
  4. Never go barefoot in the kitchen. Always wear shoes that cover your toes when cooking.
  5. Know how to put out a fire. “Every kitchen should have an extinguisher,” said Amato. She advises never using water, but rather smothering the fire.
  6. Wear fitted clothing, never loose sleeves that could catch fire.
  7. Examine any Teflon-coated pans for chips. Once a coated pan starts to get scratches, it needs to be discarded. Using plastic or silicon utensils will extend the life of these pans.
  8. Never set a hot item on glass, or the glass could shatter. 
  9. Always stir away from you so you don’t get splattered with hot liquids.
  10. Always temp your food. Once something is cooked, never let it sit out for more than two hours. And leftovers have a shelf life.

“People say, ‘Well it smells good or tastes good,’” she said. “Doesn’t matter. After five days it should be thrown out.”

And follow the “when in doubt throw it out” rule. One interesting piece of cooking advice for lasagna makers: Let noodles cool completely before layering it with cold cheese. 

“Hot with hot and cold with cold,” said Amato. 

“You speak with much more experience than any of us combined,” said Barry.

Barry advised that June is normally CPR awareness month, but he advised that family gatherings and events can bring emergencies where lifesaving skills may be valuable.

“Those of you who are CPR certified, if you’re at a gathering, let people know,” so that aid is not delayed, said Barry. “Minutes make the difference.”

Barry did a demonstration of basic CPR technique, pushing hard and fast on the center of the chest. The Red Cross has online instructions. He also advises having someone flag down first responders. 

Member Melissa Braga said she had a couple of people show up for a Tewksbury CARES meeting. The next get-together will be Jan. 30, time and place TBD. 

Tewksbury CARES “strives to promote wellness, increase awareness and support healthy lifestyle choices in the Greater Tewksbury community.” Its Facebook page is maintained by the FrontLine Initiative, and the group seeks to engage parents, students, school personnel, police, public health professionals, families in recovery, and treatment providers.

“It was kind of pushed aside and made null and void, I guess, before Covid,” said Braga of the CARES group. “We want to keep it separate from FrontLine Initiative but also work together.”

Those wishing to be involved should watch for announcements on the town page and social media closer to the Jan. 30 meeting.

Lorna is a 25-year resident of Tewksbury who has written for organizations ranging from the DIA to InformationWeek to a free weekly in New London that sent her to interview the pastry chef at Foxwoods.

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