Friday, April 9, 2010

Clean or Not Clean, That is the Question.

The ironic thing about hypochondriacs is sometimes they inflict the very thing they are trying to avoid. In truth, if you try too hard to protect yourself and others from all germs, you may just end up becoming ill as your body is unable to build up antibodies to ward off unwanted intruders.

Not quite the situation that ensued yesterday, but it is something that often crosses my mind when I see mothers hyper-cleaning everything their children touch. Funny, how they are always the ones with the runny noses. Now, don't get me wrong...people should attempt to keep their children out of harm's way but a little dirt never hurt anyone, did it?


I have a certain sibling who can be rather anal about germs, especially ones involving food in the kitchen. He refuses to eat off of dishes that have been handwashed by him because he does not trust himself to get them clean enough. However, he's fine if someone else does it and he doesn't see them...out of sight, out of mind??? If anything comes remotely close to raw eggs, raw meat, etc., it must all be hosed down with disinfectant.

He'd been offering to make dinner for his girlfriend (my roommate) for a few days now and she decided to take him up on the offer. The meal planned: fried chicken. Fried chicken involves raw meat and raw eggs. Two points on the hypochondriac meter. Red alert. He oh-so-carefully sliced the chicken into thin strips with a fork and knife on the cutting board, making sure not to come in contact with the contagion. Unfortunately, he was not so lucky when it came time to fry up the poultry. He was forced to dip the raw chicken by hand into raw egg before arriving at the stovetop. The poison was held precariously at arms length as he hastily transferred it from bowl to pan. He nearly lost his marbles as a drop of egg landed on the space between...."NOOO!!! Quick, clean it up before it mutates into a man-eating beast from the depths of hell!" Needless to say, he survived the experience and lives to tell the tale. But my story does not end here. Oh no.

He was also kind enough to fulfill dish duty after dinner as well. For him, that meant rinsing the dishes so well that they were nearly clean before they hit the dishwasher. Lamentably, for us, it made it rather difficult to tell whether the dishes were clean or dirty. I innocently came home last night to make a quesadilla. Opening the dishwasher, it appeared in the process of being loaded as it was not quite full. However, I decided to investigate further as perhaps some had simply been removed after washing. Peeking into coffee cups that had no stains, bowls that were bereft of their milk rings, and frying pans that had been degreased, I came to the conclusion that the dishes were clean after all. I removed the frying pan from the top rack and went to work on my quesadilla....

Flash forward about 4-5 hours and I'm heaped over on the floor at a friend's house with horrible pain in my abdomen. Sometimes I get this type of pain comes from eating greasy foods so thought it was perhaps that, but it was much worse than usual and I hadn't really eaten anything particularly greasy....

Flash forward to the next morning, I'm still not feeling so chipper and wondering why this is lingering. I'm chatting with my roommate in our kitchen about my uncomfortable night as she goes to unload the rest of the dishwasher. She opens the door, takes a look inside, and is also confused about the status of the dishes inside. We inspect again, determine they must be clean and she begins to unload, as she tells me the story of my brother's humorous, chicken-frying experience. As she goes to unload the last spoon from the dishwasher, she glances down to discover food visibly crusted on the spoon. Uh oh. You missed one, dude. Dirty. And all of the pieces come together....

Yep, I cooked my quesadilla in an unsanitary pan thanks to the hypochondriac who rinsed those dishes so well they appeared clean....but I'm still alive to tell my tale too. :)

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