Friday, January 4, 2008

Family brings out the best in you

So in my almost two weeks with Berilac's family I have been reminded of what a nutcase I am. There is one thing about me - something I can easily forget (when I prep my own food) something I try to forget about when not reminded by too many meals and loads of extra time to do nothing but watch others cook in mass ... I am turning into a germ-a-phobe. (My SIL only adds to my neurosis)

My biggest freak-outs this vacation:

1. I learned that the dispenser used on the front of refrigerators (you know, that kind that delivers ice and filtered water) is a germ magnet ... unless you want to share whatever is on the lip of your drinking glass - don't press the glass up against the dispensing arm.

2. this reminded me of the story I heard on the news about how there are more germs from the ice machines dispensed at restaurants than those restaurants' toilet bowls - yikes.

3. All garbage cans should have a foot pedal to open them up ... people have to touch the cabinet door the garbage hides behind, you have to either lift a lid or pull the garbage bin forward (both of which require touching) in order to get rid of your disposable items. As well, if you watch closely ... many people shove garbage deeper into a garbage bag (in order to make more room in the can) ... they then continue on finishing the food prep for the upcoming meal.

4. People don't always wash their hands - yet they share bags of food with you. Chips are the biggest offender. How many of you pour your chips into a bowl and pull out a serving utensil to divy out the goods?

5. If you have a tupperware of cold food and you open it up for some eats ... you need to microwave it to the point of boiling/steaming (killing all the bacteria) you also cannot open the lid, flip it over (with cold bacteria ridden food particles all over) and place your cooking utensil ON THE LID where the bacteria is (yes, hopefully it will be ok if the preparer cooks the food to a very high heat ... but really, can my mind rest on this thought?)

6. cutting boards should have different uses (veggie board, fish board, beef board, chicken board) ... even better than this, I learned from my equally psycho SIL that you can cut meat on dinner plates and then put them through the dishwasher (in order to santize them).

7. ADULTS double dip!!! ... people please!

8. Let me tell you that the kitchen sink (specifically the drain rim and down into the drain) is the dirtiest place in your entire house - including the toilet bowl) ... so if you place something into the sink - it is OFF LIMITS for use until AFTER it's been properly washed and sanitized. If you're using a utensil for cooking, and you place it in the sink (or on the counter) it is no longer clean ... even if you rinse it off.

9. Toddlers have a tendency to touch shared foods - after they've played with the bottom of shoes and/or wiped their snotty noses. Not their faults, but really, the best way to share food between children and adults (or adults and adults!) is to request/require that people dish out food to their individual plates rather than sharing germs from child to adult (and from what I've learned it's most dangerous for adult germs to pass to toddlers - rather than my fear of being an adult getting the kid germs)

10. Food should not stay unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours. If you make dinner, eat dinner, get distracted by a movie or games ... and it's been longer than 2 hours - the food has gone bad. If you go to a restaurant and you take a doggy bag ... and then end up shopping or going out to a movie or dancing or whatever afterwards - throw the food away if it sits outside of a fridge for 2 hours ... remember that you chit chatted at the restaurant after not eating the entire meal so your two hours can't start when you leave the restaurant, better to start the timer when you enter the restaurant (and really that would require that you head right home to preserve the food ... an in diningroom meal can take 1.5 hrs)

Ok, ok ... I'm done venting ... I'm so glad to be going back to my house, preparing my own food ... controlling my own germ intake.

I think this all started in the Springtime when I was sick for 10 weeks ... and they suspected a really bad case of stomach flu. I missed almost a month of work and almost lost my job! I guess it's not surprising that my mind finds these types of fears. These days I drink Kefir each day to get good bacteria into my gut just so I can fight anything that finds its way into my tummy. I DO NOT want to go through another sickness like that again any time soon.

So if you actually read my long list of freaky things ... good luck getting them out of your head. If you haven't and you're just skipping ahead ... very wise of you. I'm not sure how much of this craziness can truly be good for me. Perhaps the stress associated with controlling this type of stuff is more damaging than chowing down on a little bacteria.


  1. HA!!! You are such a freak! ILYtho. :-) Believe me, all this will just go poof! and away it'll go when you have a child. Because there is no possible way on this EARTH you could clean and/or sanitize to the degree to keep yourself happy/content. That little bugger will do things that'll just gross you out to the T. Snotty noses, wiped down the arm, touching Mommy's drink glass. Yah, welcome to the germ world.

    Good that you're taking kefir. ;-)

    Also, remember that germs and bacteria are generally good for you -- it helps your immune system. For MOST people; not freakies like you. :-) j/k

    You so crack me up!

  2. Ok Daisy ... but the thing is I get affirmation in this from my SIL who has a two year old ... she's the one who adds to my freaked-outted-ness ... and she HAS a toddler! I guess I ought to be impressed with her ability to keep this freaky in light of having a toddler around!

  3. You're crazy!

    I have a couple of good stories for you.

    1) Mrs. BigKat was exercising at the YMCA a little while ago and was talking to a lady from church. The lady talked about how they used to visit her in-laws who apparently had never heard of germs. Her mother-in-law would cut up raw chicken and then cut up carrot sticks on the same board and offer them to the kids. Drove this lady crazy! She had to covertly sneak around the kitchen and sanitize stuff behind her mother-in-law's back.

    2) My buddy and I were at an electronics store a while ago. He loves video games and wanted to try this one out. He started playing and I casually said something like 'I wonder how many people used the potty and then didn't wash their hands and then played this game...' I don't think he's played a video game in an electronics store since.

    But cutting food on plates is really bad for your knives. You can sanitize your cutting boards with a bleach/water solution.

    And be careful about putting your food into the refrigerator too quickly. If it's too hot, it can raise the temp in the fridge and make other stuff go bad. If you have something like a huge pot of hot chicken stock, you may have to use some other means of getting it down to a cooler temp before putting it in the refrigerator.

    Alton Brown has some good tips for helping prevent food poisoning. We have his books and they're pretty useful for this as well as general cooking techniques.

  4. Ok, Polly, you and Kat are scaring me! For real--we live in a crazy, germy world. If I even start thinking about all the ways I touch other people's germs (shopping carts, door handles)..I think I might just have to hole myself up in my bedroom for the rest of my life!

  5. Bigkat ... love the story about the friend w/the raw meat infesting MIL ... I would tie her up if I were a guest at here house (tact, it's not something I'm gifted with)

    ... and what I do to not put the really hot items into the fridge (like in the case of hot chicken soup) I submerge the hot pot into ice water into the sink before distributing it out into glass tupperware.

    Yeah, I knew about the plates ruining the knifes ... but I have cheap knives!

    Mandy: I whole heartedly agree - that's why I try to stick w/just one neurosis!! One is enough!

  6. Mandy: I just like hassling my friend. He's got a thing about people who don't wash their hands after using the potty. I think he even watches people at his work and if they don't wash their hands, then he tries to monitor the things that they touch so that he doesn't touch them later on.
    But I am pretty cautious with handling raw meat and cross contamination. I was at the grocery store the other day and I put our little one in a car cart. I got some meat and I was disappointed to realize that it didn't have a bottom section. I always put my meat on the bottom to avoid cross contamination. So I just had to carefully segregate it from the other stuff on the inside of the cart.

    Polly: Here's a good one for you. I watched Mythbusters a while ago and there was an episode where they were testing to see if more poop particles get on your toothbrush if you store it closer to the toilet. The good news is that it didn't matter if you stored it on top of the toilet, or on the other side of the room. The amount of poop particles that got on your toothbrush was pretty much the same. But the bad news is that they put their control toothbrush totally in another room. And it also had the same amount of poop particles on it. Apparently poop is everywhere in the air and you can't escape it.

  7. You can't escape poop?

    ... Oh no, I'm mortified!!!!!!!

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