3 Rules of Etiquette for Fast-Food Drive-Thru Users

Fast food restaurants are popular all over the globe. Why? They are able to offer up comfort foods in an efficient manner that satisfies hungry people. Plus, most offer another option: the drive-thru. The drive-thru allows people on the run to stay in their cars and order up their food to go. There’s only one problem: Some people don’t seem to know how to use them without being discourteous to others. So below are a few rules. They are three etiquette rules for people who use the drive-thru at fast food restaurants. These rules are based on the usual behavior that irritates the heck out of people who use the drive-thru at their favorite fast food joint. Make sure that you aren’t one of the offenders.

  1. Know what you want BEFORE you enter the drive-thru.

Unless you’ve been living in a remote hut in Africa, you probably know the McDonald’s and Burger King menu by heart. Therefore, decide in advance of getting into the drive-thru what it is you want to eat. It’s an important courtesy to offer up to other drive-thru patrons because a chunk of them are in a hurry, especially during the work week around noon. The last thing they want to do is to wait behind an indecisive person taking too much time to order. So don’t be that jerk. You know what you like. You’ve been ordering it for the past 10 years. Ask for the usual and move on.

  1. Go inside for larger orders or call ahead to the restaurant.

The purpose of any fast food restaurant is to serve food fast. So if you have a big family or are out making a party run, keep this in mind. You can either go inside to make your order, which will allow more people to serve you, or call in advance. Each option is much better than holding up the drive-thru line. Think about it.

  1. Pull all the way out of the drive-thru after you’ve gotten your order.

For some reason, certain drivers get their food; inch forward a bit, but not all of the way out of the drive-thru. Even if you are checking your food to make sure it’s all there, you can pull all the way out and into a parking space. Or, you can do like most people and glance in the bag as the server gives it to you. Either way, pull your car all the way out of the drive-thru when you are done getting your food. Don’t block the exit for other drivers behind you who are ready to leave. It’s the polite thing to do.

Are you about ready for a “drive-thru” test drive? OK. Maybe not now because you’re not hungry. But, the next time you are, remember these rules. Be polite to others and go through the drive-thru with style and etiquette.

How Is The Microwave Oven A Boon To The Kitchen?

A microwave oven is the most essential item of a modern kitchen. No one can think about living without a microwave as it has become the next big thing in every household. In this fast-paced world, when there is so much shortage of time, a microwave holds your hand to help you make your supper in just a few seconds. Microwave ovens are efficient because they channelize the heat energy directly into the tiny particles of the food inside and heats them up by radiation. High-frequency electromagnetic waves are emitted with the oven cooks the food and that helps the food to be evenly cooked from all sides. Today we are going to project the advantages of a microwave oven.

What are the benefits of using a microwave?

  • Heat up the food – Reheating the leftover food for your next meal becomes convenient with a microwave. You just have to put the container of food inside the oven and fix the timer. There is no need to stand by its side or ignite a stove. You are also able to decide upon the level of hotness of the food by setting the timer as per requirement. Microwaves do not war themselves while heating the food and you are saved from over-heating your meal.
  • Cleaning is simple – The microwave ovens are easy to be maintained and cleaned. You just need a damp sponge or cloth to wipe out the dirt from inside the oven and the external body. If your oven stinks a lot, boil a bowl of water with sufficient drops of lemon juice in it. When the water is boiled for a few minutes, the smell eradicates and your oven is ready for use again. The metal body of the microwave oven helps in easy cleaning.
  • Spill and burn-proof – When you use the old fashioned oven or stoves, there are chances of spilling and burning of food if you are not around. Contrarily with microwaves, you do not have to keep a constant watch. You can be relaxed after you have set the timer depending upon the food type. You do not have to supervise or stir regularly or wait for the whistle. Once your food is ready, it beeps and asks you to take out your food.
  • The food value is retained in the food – When you boil the vegetables in the microwave it has proved to be healthier than cooked on a gas stove. Microwave is such designed that it helps to retain the nutrients like minerals and vitamins inside the food even after the completion of cooking. In a world where everyone is striving to stay fit, the microwave lends its super hand to boost up your fitness level.

If you strictly follow the rules mentioned in the user manual and use the right cookware, then you are good to go. You would be able to prepare thousands of recipes in a jiffy that would be a real delight to your taste bud.

Good Food and Great Service @ Macaroni Grill in Auburn Hills

I went to Macaroni Grill with friends and family on a Saturday night at 9 pm local time. We waited for about twenty minutes for a table. The waiting area at the restaurant was appropriate. Standing there, one has a good view of the kitchen, the bar and the dining area. The benches in the waiting area were higher than the floor. So while sitting on the bench I felt like I was sitting in the dugout. I could hear another person waiting for a table joking, “Put me in coach.” The wait time was normal due to our large party and it was crowded on Saturday.

We were seated in a corner booth. The thing you notice about Macaroni Grill is that all the wait staff learned to write their first name upside down with a crayon. One thing I like about this restaurant is they always have good bread. The bread served before the meal was fresh out of the oven. The waiter gave us some olive oil to dip the bread in. It serves as a nice appetizer before the salad. I was not particularly thirsty at the time so I ordered a glass of water to drink. The ice water was a reasonable cold temperature. The glasses were clean. That is always a plus when dining out.

A person in our party did not particularly care for her ravioli. She commented to our waiter that it was not good. The waiter took the dish away and he said he would take it off the bill. Then the manager came to the table to see if there was another dish she would like to try. This is very good restaurant customer service. I am pleased that the manager came out to apologize and try to make amends.

As for my entrée, it was delicious. I had the crab-stuffed mushrooms. I think that is what they eat in heaven. I also had a caprese salad. The salad had a lot of balsamic vinaigrette and a lot of basil. It was delicious. The imported mozzarella had an interesting but delectable texture. I did not have a dessert dish so I will have to skip that portion of the review.

I would definitely recommend this restaurant to my friends. They have big portions and a nice family dining atmosphere. If there was something I would improve on, it would be the transition from end of meal to paying the bill. That seemed to take longer than normal. Other pasta dishes I can recommend at Macaroni Grill are the penne rustica and the pasta milano. They also make an excellent barbecue chicken pizza.

Protecting Your Family From Foodborne Illness

My family recently enjoyed a lunch out at one of our favorite Italian restaurants. After we dined, I took my youngest daughter to the restroom to wash her hands. I turned on the water and waited for it to warm up. But after a couple of minutes, the water was still icy cold. I turned the handle all the way to the hot side, and no water came out at all. Knowing a little bit about plumbing, I figured someone had turned off the hot water at the cutoff under the sink, maybe as a joke. I checked it out, and loosened the knob, but still no hot water came out.

Finally, we washed our hands in the painfully cold water. I wondered how many workers had washed in the same cold water, and whether there was hot water available in the kitchen. The lack of one of the basics of hygiene and sanitation scared me. And with good reason. According to the CDC, many foodborne illnesses begin with food handlers who fail to properly wash.

You can’t see contamination

A foodborne illness may be lurking on your dinner plate, but you’d never know it by looking. Germs such as Salmonella, Listeria or E. coli are microscopic and impossible to detect with the naked eye. Likewise the tiny norovirus, a particularly nasty germ responsible for the majority of reported foodborne illness outbreaks.

Norovirus can cause pain, cramping, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It can be spread person to person or from contaminated surfaces, food or drink. Thousands of people are hospitalized and hundreds die each year from this common illness, and poor hygiene is a major risk factor in the spread of the disease.

Protecting yourself

Eating at home and employing good food handling techniques can help protect you and your family from foodborne illness. When you do go out to eat, you can help reduce your risk by sticking to clean establishments with a good reputation. These are more likely to train their employees in the importance of proper hygiene and safe food handling techniques.

Pay attention to announcements regarding outbreaks of foodborne illnesses and exercise extra caution when the risk is high. And consider what you order when someone else is preparing your food. While a leafy green salad is a healthy choice, these veggies can be particularly dangerous with respect to hidden contaminants.

You can’t avoid all foodborne illnesses, but you can improve your chances of making it through an outbreak without becoming infected if you stay informed.

More by Tavia:

Schools Need to Rethink Attendance Policies During Flu Season
Try Making Your Family’s Restaurant Favorites at Home
Tips for Creating the Best BLT Ever

How to Eat Nutritious Meals on a Food Stamp Budget

Can one really eat a nutritious meal on a food stamp budget? Of course! First of all, we live in a “fast and the furious” type of society. The concept of “I want it fast” is one of the reasons this country is suffering from obesity; another problem is how “eating nutritious” is portrayed. There are so many options, low fat, high carb, high fat, no fat, low carbs and the list is goes on. First and foremost, invest in a crock pot and a rice cooker (yard sales, Craigslist).

No excuses! It is affordable! Lets look at the kinds of foods that are packed with nutrition and are cheap. Beans, a pound of red beans is under a dollar and it contains 13 servings! One bunch of kale is under a dollar and also packed full of nutrition, a head of lettuce is another cheap veggie that is under a dollar! Chicken and pork are inexpensive meats. Let me also point out that while I do realize some fruits are expensive, bananas, apples, strawberries, melons, and oranges are relatively cheap. My point is, shop the perimeter of the grocery store and stay away from the packaged on the go meals! Also, while some may consider junk food to be cheaper; consider this, junk food is filled with empty calories (meaning, no nutritional value) and left overs are pretty much null and void. No one is saying don’t buy junk food, just don’t fill your cart with junk! Water! Invest in a $24.00 Brita filter that attaches to your sink (if your tap water tastes a bit off); forget bottled water, it comes from city water (which by the way you are already paying for!) invest in a reusable water bottle.

Your cart should contain items such as these (planning meals ahead of time is also a good idea):

Fruits
Celery
tomatoes
kale
head of lettuce
carrots
cucumbers
whatever other veggies you and your family enjoy
Frozen veggies are relatively cheap
chicken
pork chops
roast
ground chuck
variety of beans
brown/white rice
noodles
eggs
milk
tuna fish
certain types of fish are cheap
deli meats and deli cheese (for lunch)
bread
yogurts
orange juice
oatmeal
If your kids like cereals; buy generic

Okay now if you want to buy some junk food, that is okay, but only a few items for days that you do not feel like cooking. Plan ahead, maybe make Friday’s pizza day. Plus, there are coupons which cater to the preservative industry.

I invested in an “Egg McMuffin maker” and made eight of these and froze them so my kids could have them for breakfast. Very simple and nutritious, Fiber, Protein, Carb, and healthy fats packaged in a sandwich!

Nutrition is part of keeping the body balanced and the mind strong.

Where there is a will, there most certainly is a way and remember knowledge is power! Research and ask questions!

Live well and stay strong!

Are the Foods You’re Eating Making Your Prescription Meds Less Effective?

A rarely discussed situation between doctors and patients, when a prescription for drug therapy is being administered to cure an ailment, is what interaction certain foods will have with the meds they will be taking. In some cases this interaction can have extremely negative affects. In her book, Drug Muggers: How to Keep Your Medicine from Stealing the Life out of You, Suzy Cohen, RPh , discuss foods and drugs that do not mix and what you should know. Here are some of her findings:

Some aged cheeses such as Parmesan and blue cheese contain tyramine. Tyramine is also found in soy products and wines. If you are taking an MAO inhibitor such as the antidepressant Nardil, you should be aware that combining tyramine with the MAO inhibitor may result in a dangerous rise in your blood pressure levels.

Dairy products can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb antibiotics, making them less effective.

Vitamin K which is found in green leafy vegetables and also helps your blood clot can adversely react with any blood thinner medication you may be using. Eating the green leafy vegetables on a consistent basis is okay because the blood thinner prescription dose assigned to you is customized. It is not a good idea to abruptly start eating more green leafy vegetables or begin eating less of them if you regularly eat them and are taking this type of medication.

Salt substitutes that contain potassium can unfavorably affect certain blood pressure medication. Blood pressure medications cause your body to retain extra potassium. Adding additional potassium to your diet by ingesting salt substitutes in addition to your prescribed blood pressure medication can lead to dangerously high levels of potassium in your system that can cause heart arrhythmias.

Grapefruit juice sometimes interferes with an enzyme found in the body that helps your body metabolize a number of prescription meds. Cholesterol lowering meds, blood thinners, blood pressure meds, tranquilizers, and antidepressants may end up staying in your blood stream longer because of this metabolizing interference. This may increase their side effects on your system.

Coffee, chocolate, and other soda drinks, all contain caffeine. Caffeine combined with asthma medication, antibiotic, anti-anxiety drugs, and over the counter or prescription decongestants can create a negative impact on your heart. Rapid heartbeats, palpitation, and jitters are some of the reactions associated when you become over caffeinated. Many of these medications contain caffeine.

Combining alcoholic beverages and prescription medications have extremely negative interactions. This unhealthy combination spans the gamut to include every medication on the market today. Avoiding alcohol consumption is the cardinal rule for every medication. Some foods and drugs do not always mix well. Talk to your doctor and pharmacists about your medications, their side effects and compatibilities. Learn what works and what does not work so that you do not end up letting your medicine’s steal the life out of you.

Resource: Drug Muggers: How to Keep Your Medicine from Stealing the Life out Of You – Suzy Cohn, RPh

5 Foods Everyone Can Afford

Lately, have you found yourself searching for change in the couch cushions for gas money? Collecting returnable bottles to pay for kitty litter? Or maybe even taking a few trips to the clinic to sell some blood to help pay your rent? You are not alone my friend. Virtually everyone and their cousin Mildred are hurting in the cash flow department. In these times of hardship, and struggling, there is still no reason for your belly to go without the delicious foods it screams for.

I myself grew up mostly on the bottom quarter of the financial totem pole. I didn’t get the latest fashions, toys, or whatever else kids at the time wanted, but I well fed. Being an expert on cuisine de poor-man, I’ve made a list of some cheap foods that will satisfy your poor, but hungry tummy.

1.) Pot Pies – Hearty and filling, frozen pot pies will do the trick. Great for a solo meal or even if you have a family to feed. Each person can pick which meat they want, everyone’s happy, and all at an average of 2 for a dollar.

2.) Ramen Noodles – Okay, everyone knows about ramen noodles. They are probably the first thing you think of when you think of cheap food. They certainly are a cheap food, at an average of 4 packets for a dollar. If you’re worried that this isn’t enough substance to actually be called a meal, take it to the next level! Throw a few cans of veggies in the pot, or dice up some chicken and add it in. It’s a great way to make that expensive meat feed more people.

3.) Cheesy Spaghetti – This one is a real crowd pleaser. Cook up a box of macaroni and cheese, and substitute the milk and butter for a third of a jar of spaghetti sauce. You can also use regular spaghetti noodles, and just add the sauce and powder cheese packet to it. No need for meat, butter or milk.

4.) Kool-Aid – Millions of different flavors, and you can’t get any cheaper. Replace your sodas, and juice boxes. Send your kids to school with a thermos full of this colorful nectar. You will be saving a ton of money on juice boxes, and you’re going green with your reusable thermos!

5.) Fruits & Veggies – With all of the fancy packaged processed foods, a lot of people just zoom right by the produce section. It’s sad really. Fruits and veggies are an awesome addition to any poor-man’s kitchen. There are endless varieties to choose from, and virtually all of them are super cheap. Finding it hard to get your kids to eat fruits? Get some bananas, they are the closest thing to candy that fruit gets. Your kids don’t like to eat veggies? Have some cucumbers or carrots washed and chopped up sitting on the table with a little ranch dipping sauce on the side. They are guaranteed to have a nibble.

With a little creativity, you can turn any poor-mans food into a gourmet cuisine. Or at least something your family will love.

Food as Fuel: Beyond Corn Kernels

Organic Popcorn Kernels 5KG

Ethanol is controversial. Critics believe that using corn kernels for conversion into ethanol takes agricultural land away from growing much needed food. And, the price of all food, especially corn has gone up this year due to astronomical increases in the price of gasoline. Yet, we NEED an alternative fuel to decrease our addiction to petroleum, with its attendant politics and existing delivery system.

Several scientists have taken on the challenge to provide alternatives.

Many researchers are trying to develop ways to turn other substances into ethanol.

Switch grass, grown without the pesticides and fertilizers needed to grow corn, is one prominent solution. Researchers have found two types of bacteria which break down different components of the switch grass, and are working to hybridize the bacteria so that the grass can be converted in one step, rather than the two which make it so far cost prohibitive.

The world’s largest ethanol producer, POET Energy received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a process for turning corn cobs into ethanol. (www.POET.com) They are in the process of converting a biorefinery located in Emmetsburg, Iowa into a facility to process the corn cobs. Using cobs is expected to produce 27% more ethanol per acre of corn than using corn kernels. This also frees up the kernels for sale as food for animals or people. Their goal is to produce 25 million gallons of ethanol per year. This would require cobs from about 275,000 acres of corn. (Good thing it’s located in Iowa!) Operation is expected to begin in 2011.

Grand Meadow Energy in Stratford, Wisconsin, owned by Joe Van Groll is currently producing 26,000 gallons of ethanol per year from cheese whey. Whey permeate, a product of cheese making (you know, curds and whey) is fermented into ethanol to be blended with regular gasoline. While this is only enough to power 52 American cars for a year, it is commercially available now. Cost to produce one gallon of whey ethanol is currently $.80 to $1.00 per gallon. Cost to produce one gallon of ethanol from corn is $1.50 to $2.00 per gallon. Hopefully this reduced cost alone will be enough to spur growth of this alternative.

Food waste is another candidate for conversion into fuels. Animal fat and vegetable oils can be converted into diesel fuel, including jet diesel fuel. There are no vehicle modifications required to use the diesel fuel to be produced by Dynamic Fuels, a partnership between Tyson Fuels and Syntroleum Corporation. (www.dynamicfuels.com) The first plant will begin to operate in 2010 near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is expected to produce 75 million gallons of fuel per year, enough, they estimate, to power a 757 jet for 10,000 round trips between New York and Los Angeles. There are plans for more factories as well.

Several people have developed ways to retrofit diesel cars to burn used oils. (www.greasecars.com) (www.cartalk.com). The Permaculture Institute of Northern California offers courses in converting your car (must be diesel) to run on vegetable oils, either from a kit or from scratch. They also offer courses on making small scale biofuel batches that people can use in unconverted diesel vehicles. (biopaceticautosite.com)

Investors are needed for commercial development of converting eggshells into hydrogen fuel. Liang-Shih Fan, Ph.D., distinguished university professor of chemical and bioengineering at Ohio State University has patented technology to produce emission-free hydrogen fuel. The US produces 450,000 tons of eggshells yearly. Seems like a natural investment for ConAgra Foods, maker of EggBeaters.

This is a look into the future of vehicle fuels. There is hope that we can break our oil dependence.