Thursday, September 30, 2010

If I'd Have Known It Was Gonna Be That Kind Of Party

I came across this in the sometimes great, sometimes "who in the world are they writing to?" New York Times food section this week. It's an article where the author had a restaurant kitchen inspector come into his home to grade his kitchen. Yes, a letter grade. This is how New York is running it's health inspections in restaurants now. You get your grade written nice and big and you must then post it in plain view in your place for all to see. In this case, a huge red "A" is a good thing.

It's kind of sad, I think, the hysteria surrounding this topic. I mean, this article actually suggests that we not wash our hands in our kitchen sink, and instead trek to the bathroom everytime we want to do so. How much sense does that make? Given the choice, do you want that "clean" hand turning off a faucet touched by a hand that just washed some lettuce in the kitchen, or by a hand that just, well, you know, in the bathroom? Plus, it's fairly clear that the overall rate of handwashing would fall noticeably if it was required to be done in a room other than the kitchen.

The are are valid points in the article--and in health inspections--to be sure. But hey--NYT, let's not push this paranoia in to the home! People are afraid of food and cooking enough--let's not give them another reason to avoid it and go to the surely A-graded PT McFun's. How do we keep food safe in the kitchen at home? Use common sense! Wash your hands once in awhile--in your kitchen sink, for goodness sake! Don't put raw meat on top of the salad greens! Don't get the cat involved in prep work! And even if the temptation arises, no matter what, don't do what Mantan Moreland suggests at the end of that one Beastie Boys song.

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