July Spotlight

Alabama Living Magazine

Have a safe Fourth of July cookout

Sunshine, hot dogs and cold drinks (along with nighttime fireworks) make for a fun Fourth of July holiday. As you gather with friends and family, serve up some food safety at your holiday cookout. 

“If we don’t handle and prepare foods in safe ways, we could make family, friends and ourselves sick,” says Janice Hall, an Alabama Extension regional food safety agent.

Hall offers four basic steps to prevent the start and spread of foodborne illnesses at your next cookout.

Clean: First things first, wash your hands. This should be common after the pandemic, but it never hurts to remind, especially when people are going in and out of the house. Lather with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds; thoroughly rinse and dry hands with a paper towel.

Separate: Use clean plates and cooking utensils to take foods off the grill. Never use the same plate that held raw meat for foods that are ready to eat.

Cook: Use a food thermometer to check the temperatures of meats. Minimum internal cooking temperatures: Poultry, 165 degrees F; ground meats, 160 degrees F; fish, 145 degrees F; and beef, pork, lamb and veal (steaks, roasts, chops), 145 degrees with three-minute rest time.

Chill: Use separate coolers for hot foods, cold foods and beverages. One ice has been used for storage, it should not be consumed. Pack leftovers as soon as possible. (Information from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System)

Auburn student interns for Alabama Living

Tessa Battles, a senior at Auburn University, is working as an intern at Alabama Living this summer. Battles is a native of Geneva, Alabama, and is majoring in journalism with a minor in political science. Battles is assisting the magazine staff with social media, copy editing and writing stories.

Battles says that she has always loved to write, but she started her journey at Auburn as a pre-vet major.

“I quickly realized that wasn’t for me,” Battles says. “I knew I had always been drawn to reading and writing and did well in those subjects, but journalism never occurred to me until my sophomore year of college.”

Battles says that when she took her first journalism course at Auburn, she fell in love with it.

“I loved everything about journalism, especially when I got introduced to feature writing.” Battles says. “I am excited to be interning at Alabama Living because it is pushing me to strengthen myself and push forward in my career.”

Aside from writing, Battles enjoys hiking, painting, making jewelry and gardening. She plans to pursue law school and a career in intellectual property law following graduation in August. She says that her passion for helping people have their stories heard nudged her toward a career in law, but she never wants to stop writing.

New podcast highlights Alabama’s civil rights history

Most American history books only scratch the surface when it comes to telling stories about the Civil Rights Movement, and consequently many of those stories are not that well-known. To help bring a behind-the-scenes look at how the Civil Rights Movement shaped a nation, the Alabama Tourism Department is launching the Alabama Civil Rights Trail podcast.

The first episode provides an in-depth look into who the Freedom Riders were and their mission to ride across the Deep South. Episode two dives deeper into the bombings and other terrorizing activities that took place in Birmingham during the late 1950s through the mid-1960s. The third episode covers attempted voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, which radically influenced the passage of the Voting Rights Act, and discusses how events that happened more than 50 years ago still play a role in the fight for equality today.

Search “Alabama Civil Rights Trail” wherever you get your podcasts.

Tell us about your favorite cookbook!

A cookbook, handed down from one generation to the next, is a wonderful, personal way to share coveted family recipes with young cooks. While the bookstores (and shopping websites) of today are filled with cookbooks penned by “celebrity” chefs and TV stars, complete with professionally styled photography and eye-catching layouts, they lack the personal connection of the dog-eared, cake batter-stained and sometimes coverless heirlooms that belonged to our mothers and grandmothers. 

We want to know the stories behind your treasured family cookbook, and why it’s so special to you. Send a short (less than 250 words) note to Allison Law at alaw@areapower.com by Aug. 2 and tell us about your favorite cookbook and why you cherish it. We’d also love a photo of the book (or you holding the book!). Alternately, you can mail your story to us at 340 Technacenter Drive, Montgomery, AL 36117. You may be featured in an upcoming article!


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