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Don’t poison your family on Christmas

The last thing you want at your Christmas feast is food poisoning! | AP

Nothing puts a damper on a Christmas celebration like a little food poisoning.

Here’s how to avoid it:

Wash your hands. Often. With warm, soapy water. And remember the handy hint from the “Oprah” show: sing two choruses of “Happy Birthday” to make sure you do it long enough.

Keep your counters clean. Wash them often during the food prep with hot, soapy water.

You may want to wash your raw poultry before cooking. Don’t, no matter what your great-aunt used to do. It only introduces bacteria to your sink and counters.

Keep your cutting boards clean. Wash them often. If possible, use one for cutting foods that will be cooked (turkey or other meats) and another for things that will stay raw (salad ingredients, fruit).

Do not put cooked meat on the unwashed platter it rested in earlier. If you have to use that same platter, wash it thoroughly in hot, soapy water.

(By this time I hope you are realizing that washing hands, plates and surfaces often with warm (or hot), soapy water is the key here.)

Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking. Even things like a pumpkin pie.

Freeze leftovers unless you are going to finish them in three or four days.