Thursday, 5 September 2013

Sniffers and scrapers

Following on from a post by a fellow, and might I say, excellent blogger (CT, you know who you are - at least I hope you do or we're all in trouble), I wondered who else out there in this big, grubby, germ filled world of ours is also a 'Sniffer 'n' Scraper.' And by that I mean someone who ignores sell-by dates in favour of using their nose to test the edible viability of food, and someone who is not averse to scraping a bit of mould off the jam and the cheese and cheerfully slapping what is left underneath 'twixt two slices of bread for a sandwich. (Not to be recommended if you are a contestant on the Great British Bake Off, I hasten to add, if purely for aesthetic purposes. And did you witness the Custard Thief Drama? I reckon she did it on purpose - poor Howard.)

Anyway, I happened recently to be in the presence of a friend, and I had with me an apple picked that very morning from our tree in the back garden. I mentioned this to my friend, and after shuddering a bit she said,'Ooooh, I couldn't eat that. Not straight from the tree.'

'Why?' said I. 'It is fresh and organic and I gave it a good wipe on my trousers.'

'I don't know,' she said. 'I just can't eat any food that has been picked directly from source. I can't even drink tap water. Everything I eat has to come from the supermarket in plastic packaging.'

Well, I thought, how odd. One of the best things about growing your own food is going into the back garden, the greenhouse or the allotment and picking stuff straight from the plant and eating it immediately. Okay, so I might give the carrots a good wipe because I am not keen on loam, and I always check for insects inside of things like raspberries because I am a vegetarian, but what is better than standing in your greenhouse a-munching the tomatoes all warm and gorgeous smelling straight from the vine?

And as we continued lunch, I thought, what about eggs? Straight from a chicken's bottom? Does she eat those? 

And hands up who observes 'The Ten Second Rule?' That is, if something is dropped on the floor, provided it is retrieved within ten seconds and shows no visible sign of having acquired unsavoury crud e.g a fur ball or a bit of cat litter, then no harm is done and it's carry on eating.

And one does have to be a little cautious about observing the Ten Second Rule with other people's floors. I'll eat things dropped on my floors because I know the maid who cleans them (that'll be ME! We are not wealthy enough to afford a cleaner and even if we were I'd be one of those people who went around and cleaned before the cleaner arrived), but I have witnessed some floors belonging to other people that I wouldn't retrieve a rubber glove from with very long tongs, let alone food. Actually, I have also seen some floors where, if you dropped some food, you'd never find it amongst all the other clutter, but I digress. 

Don't we all need a few germs? Don't we need to be able to cope with non-sterile living? Aren't human beings built of sterner stuff than anti-bacterial wipes?

Of course, there are a few things I cannot abide, my not-eating-food-from-the-source equivalent, I suppose. And they are:

1) spitting in the street
2) breathing in cigarette smoke
3) pub carpets (NEVER observe the Ten Second Rule in a pub. EVER!)
4) being licked on the face by an animal (Flora Bijou Mybug is a face licker. I am doing a lot of 'Stop it, Flossie!' at the moment)
5) children with snotty noses, especially when they blow snot bubbles

And just in case you are having your dinner or snacking on guacamole, I shall leave it there!


Countryside Tales said...

Aww shucks I am blushing. I expect you can see it all the way from Kent?
As you know, we also eat food from the floor, not for preference you understand, but because as you so rightly say your own floors are a known entity and we are used to our own germs. A bit of dog or cat fur (or possibly moth dust) is an acceptable accompaniment in our house. Not being able to eat something unless it's been wrapped in plastic first is WEIRD! Think of the synthetic chemicals leached into the food! I'd rather take my chances with a bit of wasp poo thanks :-)

Olly said...

Sorry, but your friend is bonkers. When the apple's come straight from the tree I know it hasn't been handled by who knows how many people. I grew up in a house where mould was scraped off the jam on a regular basis, and I think it gave me a strong digestive system ... I'm not often ill! And warm tomatoes/raspberries, peas straight from the pod etc have an extra-special taste.

Denise said...

Olly, CT, we are girls of a kind and I agree with everything you both say. I did try to convince her - citing all the sprays, chemicals, plastic leaching etc that goes on when even simple food is processed and packaged for the supermarkets. But she would not be swayed. I even said, 'The only person to have handled my apple is ME!' I am glad I didn't mention the eggs and chicken bottoms. I fear it may have resulted in meltdown.

LynneFtWorth said...

I've been buying fresh eggs and just wash them in vinegar and water to get the poo off. Should I be doing anything else? Well, a little cat hair and stuff doesn't deter us any. We usually have to fight the animals to get it back.

Denise said...

I just wipe over any grubby eggs with a damp cloth, Deanna. And as long as the nest box is kept clean then the shells are generally clean, too.

I am laughing at visions of you fighting your cats for a dropped biscuit!!

rusty duck said...

Bit more cautious outside, because of the mice, but in the kitchen pretty much anything goes!

Denise said...

Wise words there from our Rusty Duck correspondent! Thank you, Jessica x

Vera said...

Excellent post, Denise. When we came to France I did have difficulty with some things because I, too, was trained to only eating what came off a supermarket shelf. But now I try NOT to eat anything which has even the faintest whiff of supermarket on it! Hope you have a good weekend.

Olly said...

And when I pick up a freshly-laid egg, still warm, I can't resist holding it against my cheek! Your friend would probably need sedation if she saw that ...

Denise said...

Thank you, Vera. I get fed up in supermarkets just because of the sheer supermarketness of it all. I am very happy that all the fresh grown goodies are in abundance at the moment so only need to go in for basics.

Olly, yes!! And even after more than 5 years of hen keeping, I still get excited opening the pod and finding eggs. And that waft of feathery warmth on a cold morning. I love the whole perfectness of an egg! I am very tempted to pose the egg question to my friend just to see the reaction!