Dear Barbara: Do you have to refrigerate pumpkin pie? My friend said yes, but I don’t think so because you see them all the time in stores and they are not refrigerated.
— Lucy from Lodi
Dear Lucy: I’m afraid your friend is right. Anytime you have a pie that has dairy in it, such as pumpkin, which is basically custard, it should be refrigerated.
The reason you see pies in stores that are not refrigerated, is because they use commercial ingredients that are shelf stable. We home bakers do not have access to the stabilizers that commercial bakeries use.
Dear Barbara: Should you wash the turkey before cooking it? I know they are now saying that you don’t have to rinse poultry or meat before cooking, but it seems to me that a bird that big should be rinsed off before roasting.
— Holly from Acampo
Dear Holly: The reasoning behind that decision is that it is more likely to cause cross contamination due to the water splashing on the counter, or the bird sitting in your sink. When I think about how the birds are handled and processed, I rinse the raw turkey anyway, and then pat it dry. Just be sure that you disinfect your counter top with a sanitizing wet wipe and spray your sink with a mild bleach solution when you are done. It only takes a minute and it is worth it just for the peace of mind. (Do not spray the bleach solution on the bird!)
Dear Barbara: I just had new granite countertops installed. I was told by the installer that you can just cut and chop directly on the surface and does not require a cutting board. Is this true?
— Amy from Lockeford
Dear Amy: Looking at it from the standpoint of the installer, yes, it is true. Cutting on your granite countertop will not harm the granite. The same applies to marble. However, it will hurt your knives! Granite, marble and other surfaces, including glass, are harder than the blade on your knife. It will dull them very quickly. Your knives will last longer if you use a plastic or wooden cutting board. Bamboo is also very popular for cutting boards and is self-sustainable.
Dear Barbara: My electric knife is old and just doesn’t seem to perform like it used to. With Thanksgiving coming up, I know I will want to use it. Is there any way to sharpen an electric knife?
— Larry from Lodi
Dear Larry: Supposedly, serrated edges shouldn’t need sharpening. But, if you really feel it needs to be sharpened, and you are most likely correct since you said the knife was old, it would be best to have it done professionally. I looked at a couple of videos and some websites, and the general consensus is that it is very time consuming and you need the right equipment to do it properly. I might suggest you get an estimate and see how it compares to just buying a new electric knife.
Barbara Spitzer is a Lodi home cook who also develops recipes for specific consumer products. Do you have a cooking question? Send it to Barbara Spitzer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and city.