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Reheating Food


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Okay… this falls into the “how to make ice” category: At what temperature is food sufficiently reheated?

My mother – Yahweh bless the woman; she’s in her 80s and entertain once a month – has a habit of serving barely warm food. She cooks at least a week before, freezes the food, defrosts the day before, then “reheats” and serves. I had heard from my siblings… too many times… about family meals that were tepid at best. However, I only experienced this myself this past Mother’s Day.

When I talked to her the following week she was surprised, with 20 guests, there were leftovers. I mentioned… quite delicately I assure you… it was probably because the food wasn’t hot; the chill had barely been taken off. She was just as surprised to learn that the food wasn’t hot: the dishes had been in the oven, at 250, for over an hour.

I know where she got that idea; most recipes instruct to keep warm at 250… to hold… assuming the food had been hot to start with. But they don’t mention how to reheat food. I’m guessing here, but I think she believes if she puts cooked food – covered or not – in a hotter oven it will over-cook or dry out.

Myself? I put refrigerated food in a cold oven and allow the oven to “pre-heat” to 350 or 400 and add 10 minutes. This usually does the trick. If the food is still not warm enough, I’ll let whatever stay in the oven an additional 10 minutes or so.

The food thermometer goes in the mail next week. But that won’t necessarily solve the problem: obtaining the proper temperature for reheated foods. I know a lot depends on the item, but is there a magical formula, such as reheat for 20 minutes at 400? If she did use the thermometer, what would be an ideal, all-purpose... regardless of item... internal temp?

My siblings thank you.

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