Thursday, December 20, 2007

Potluck this, you cross-contaminated nut jobs!

I find it difficult to be respectful at a potluck. I have a hard time eating food that other people cook in their home. It's nothing personal--and yet it's terribly personal. No, I won't eat your fried chicken. No, I don't care to try your "super yummy fudge." Nope, I won't even taste it.

Whether it is because I come from a family where the kitchen is sterilized before every use, or because I worked in a production kitchen for five years with the highest cleaning standards of any facility in the state... I demand to know where my food is being prepared. Simple ideas like washing hands and not using the same knives or cutting boards for different things--common knowledge, but uncommon practice. Disgusting.

I'm not pointing fingers or placing blame. Even when my own family gathers, there are certain people's foods I'm leery of, and there are other people's foods that you can't keep me out of. I know a few of my friends have worked in kitchens, and I know that their standards for cleanliness are quite high. I trust Rachel's cooking, Jenny's cooking, and Emily's... although Emily never cooks with raw meat, so I have less to worry about there.

Sometimes I'll even go so far as to not eat at other people's houses. I strongly dislike friends cooking for me, partly because I am picky with my food, and partly because I don't know about their kitchens. One of the first things I look at is the countertop. If there are crumbs or bits of food sitting there, I'm out. If I can, I'll check the can opener. Odd, right? If a person cooks often, their can opener is likely to be handy. That's one of the first things the Department of Health will look at in a kitchen. If the can opener is clean, it means the person took the time to clean other things too. Of course, if the can opener is brand new, the rule is out. But who has a new can opener?

I hate potlucks.


The Guy Who Writes This said...

It's a wonder people don't die from it all. Office food is bad as well where someone leaves a plate of cookies where everyone can cough on it as they walk by.

I'm with you on this one, Jaggy. But be careful, your quirkieness will get you a reputation like mine.

Jeff W said...

Well now that I have my own place my kitchen is pretty clean. mmm... clean. But that's more of a preference then a physical fear of contracting a disease. Truth be told if there was some sort of bell curve of crumbs (or microbes) per square inch of kitchen space I think that it would have to get quite a lot dirtier then most, maybe two or three standard deviations, to actually increase the chance of illness. For instance, I wouldn't eat anything at my cousin's house. He's an outlier.