The reception was called for 5:30, the chuppah (wedding ceremony) at 6:30. This being an Israeli wedding, we got there at 6:30 and the chuppah started at around 8 pm.
If you've never been to an Israeli wedding, here's how it usually goes:
During the reception, there's a buffet (mainly fried foods and soft drinks)
The ceremony starts at least an hour late
Dinner starts with challah rolls and a variety of salads served family style
The first course – usually a huge portion of fish, is served
More food – platters of rice, potatoes, couscous and vegetables is served
The main course – chicken or meat is served
More dancing, followed by dessert
Usually there's enough food for an army battalion. Usually it's heavy on the carbohydrates and fats. Trans fat is abundant in the desserts. But that's another story.
The wedding was lovely – outdoors on the lawn of a nearby kibbutz. There was just one problem. Several hours before the guests sat down to eat, all of the salads had been placed on the tables.
I warned my husband not to eat the potato salad. He listened to me for once.
Food-borne illness is a big problem. Caterers are not the only ones who make mistakes. Restaurants, food processing plants and growers all play a role in the safety of our food supply.
Even foods that we think of as safe – like lettuce, potatoes, cheese and ice cream have been implicated in thousands of cases of food poisoning. But you can't stop eating.
What can you do to protect yourself?
At home, cook foods thoroughly. Use a meat thermometer to check poultry and red meat to be sure they're cooked completely. When you're finished using utensils for raw meat, fish or poultry, wash them with soap and hot water before using them for cooked foods.
Don't eat raw or undercooked eggs.
Wash salad greens and scrub hard vegetables. Be sure your refrigerator and freezer are at the proper temperature. Keep cold food cold and hot food hot until they're ready to be served. If you're traveling with food, use ice packs and an insulated carrier to keep them cold.
Don't stop going to weddings. But nosy around for bad food handling habits and eat cautiously. It may sound extreme, but I never go to a catered event on an empty stomach. With a glass of sparkling water in my hand, nobody notices what I do and don't eat.