Thursday, March 17, 2011

Quantity Induced Germophobia

If Quantity Meal Production has taught me anything, it's to Fight Bac!

I am no where close to a germophobe. In fact, I might just be the opposite.

Ya I wash my hands, I sometimes wash my fruit and veg (I know, I know, gross right?) but I believe in the 5 second rule (I'm, pretty sure mythbusters concluded that the 5 second rule was totally misguided and that food would pick up bacteria regardless of if it was in contact with it for a nano second or 2 minutes), and I am not all that concerned about the egg salad sandwich (with mayo) or yogurt that sits in my lunch bag all morning without an ice pack. There are those of you out there that are probably thinking that they never ever want to eat anything I prepare ever again out of fear that I might accidentally poison you. Obviously I make sure I don't contaminate fruit and veg with raw meat and wash my cutting board and dishes etc, but I am not nearly as cautious as some, nor as cautious as maybe I should be. I also happen to LOVE raw cookie dough, and can't resist sampling at least a taste of the batter of what ever I happen to be baking, despite the fact that it contains raw eggs most of the time. And I kind of consider expiry dates as guidelines, not rules. Expired yogurt, within reason, is totally delicious, and I generally live by the 'smell test' method of checking if food is still edible instead of the marked expiry on the package. 50% off for cheese expiring tomorrow that I won't actually finish eating for a week? SCORE!

All this being said, I very rarely get sick or even get a head cold (knock on wood) a fact that I attribute to growing up playing in the dirt outside, biting my nails and paddling slash swimming in the gross slimy Credit River. If that didn't build up my immunity to every known disease on the planet I don't know what could! I think that being too cautious might actually make you get sick more often because you are never exposed to pathogens and can never build a super strong immune system.

It's not that I was never aware of all of the germs lurking out there, and the dangers of eating raw cookie dough etc but I never really thought to much about it. My quantity food production class has made me so incredibly aware of the "danger zone" temperatures, the appropriate cooling, heating, reheating and holding temperatures of specific foods and all the ways in which food can become contaminated. I can't help but see red flags everywhere I go, or question the food handling procedure at restaurants or cafes.

Yesterday my roommate left raw meat out on the counter to thaw all day while he was at work and I really had to fight the urg to put it in the fridge for him, but a few months ago I probably wouldn't have thought to much about it. And today I was made aware that apparently you are supposed to re-sand your wooden cutting boards as soon as they get grooves in them from use because do you know how many germs and bacteria could be living in those grooves that are so small that it's virtually impossible to clean and remove the food particules from within them? GROSS! I can't help but think of the only cutting board my family has been using since I was a kid that has definitely never been re-sanded and without a doubt is covered in grooves from being used so much. While part of me is a little grossed out, the majority of my brain just thinks back to all the incredibly delicious meals that that cutting board contributed to.

While I don't think all this knowledge about food safety is going to drastically change my life, I am way more aware of all the places that germs can be lurking. To be fair a lot of this is common sense and I probably knew the majority of this information already, but having to actually study it and get tested on it makes it all sound so much more of a threat! I haven't quite reached the germophobe level of my prof (who is VERY passionate about Fighting Bac) but I am a little bit more squeamish then I used to be.

In other news, I regret to announce the death of my dad's bee colony. They did not survive the winter which is tragic and sad. He'll be buying a new colony in the spring and will be getting right back into it, hopefully learning from this years unfortunate outcome to build stronger bees for next year. I'm home this summer (YAHOO!!!) and am hoping to be his unofficial apprentice and learn some mad beekeeping skills.

But until then, Cooper and I will be waiting anxiously outside the hive for the new bees.

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