I would say the chances of your being in a kitchen where cookies are being baked increases significantly this time of year. With all the holiday reasons to make cookies who wouldn't want to be around when the tasty treats come right out of the oven. For some of us, waiting that long is too long, we like to eat our cookies raw, right out of the bowl.

Despite how you might feel about the ingesting of uncooked foodstuffs, the Centers for Disease Control says in the case of cookies, you really need to cook them. The problems come from the raw flour and the uncooked eggs. That's where bacteria, salmonella, and other tiny creatures are lurking just waiting for the chance to get inside your digestive tract and raise a stink, literally.

If you aren't up on your safe food handling practices, here are some guidelines from the CDC.

  • Do not taste or eat any raw dough or batter, whether for cookies, tortillas, pizza, biscuits, pancakes, or crafts made with raw flour, such as homemade play dough or holiday ornaments.
  • Do not let children play with or eat raw dough, including dough for crafts.
  • Bake or cook raw dough and batter, such as cookie dough and cake mix, before eating.
  • Follow the recipe or package directions for cooking or baking at the proper temperature and for the specified time.
  • Do not make milkshakes with products that contain raw flour, such as cake mix.
  • Do not use raw, homemade cookie dough in ice cream.
    • Cookie dough ice cream sold in stores contains dough that has been treated to kill harmful bacteria.
  • Keep raw foods such as flour or eggs separate from ready-to-eat foods. Because flour is a powder, it can spread easily.
  • Follow label directions to refrigerate products containing raw dough or eggs until they are cooked.
  • Clean up thoroughly after handling flour, eggs, or raw dough:
    • Wash your hands with running water and soap after handling flour, raw eggs, or any surfaces that they have touched.
    • Wash bowls, utensils, countertops, and other surfaces with warm, soapy water.

I know it's going to be hard to not sneak a taste right out of the bowl before the Christmas cookies go into the oven. But before you do, just play the tape all the way to the end, the tape that finds you bathroom bound again and again because you couldn't wait 10 to 14 minutes for those tasty treats to come out of the oven.

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