“Modern-day heroism is having no fear of eating reheated food”
The world, it seems, is always looking for an unlikely hero. There appears to be a deep-seated needd to witness someone whose actions elevate ate us. After all, to see someone overcomecome fear is remarkable. And it can occurr in unexpected ways. It may be a passerby erby who snatches a wandering toddlerler from the path of an oncoming oming car. It may be a pudgy schoolboy olboy who takes on his bully y and wins. Or it may be me, who goes quietly aboutut her business, eating food that others are too scared ed to touch.
(I’m ’m leaving a pause here for the pernickety amongng you to point out that writing this in a majorajor magazine doesn’tn’t constitute being g “quiet” about my heroism. ism. And then, anotherher pause, to let you jab at this page and proclaim: laim: “Food others are toooo scared to touch? Codswallop!” swallop!” Because, in this his scenario, you are a curmudgeonly barrister ister from an Agatha ha Christie novel with h a demeanour that doesn’t “suffer fools” ” and a bristling moustache,stache, slightly nicotine-stained at its tips from regular immersion in cups of Earl Grey tea, bowls of mulligatawny soup and actual nicotine, all of which remind you of your time under the Raj in India.India Anyway, I digress. And – heads up,u Rumpole – we’re all a little over y your constant need to butt in. So please let me get on with it. Tha Thanks.) You see, the modern w world is scared of food. And I don’td just mean the demonisingdemonisi of certain foods (Fat! Eggs!Eggs Salt! Dairy! Sugar!). We alsoals seem terrified of preparin preparing and cooking our food, as if it’s waiting, like a ta tasty assassin, to kil kill us. There are coun countless ads on TV for h hand sanitiser and k kitchen disinfectants, en endless health departme department ads about the importa importance of using separate choppingcho boards for vegies and meat, and a slavish adherenceadhere to “use-by” dates. These days, you can’tca go to a sausage sizzle w without seeing volunteer helpershe wearing plastic glo gloves and brandishing fo foodhandling certificates. All this to cook sausages, wh which are made from the conte contents of Satan’s outhouse. It’s n nuts.
Once, I drove over to a friend’s house to pick up five containers of Chinese takeaway she WAS GOING TO THROW OUT – so terrified was she of reheating food that, she said, had already been reheated. And yet our household ate it two days later, and it was delicious.
I don’t doubt that you need to be sensible with food, but I think we’ve gotten a little carried away. Frozen Chinese blueberries aside, I don’t think it’s that easy to get food poisoning. And here is the inarguable proof: school lunches. Millions of lunch boxes sit in the sun all day, often next to the corpse of yesterday’s uneaten sanger. Their contents are then consumed at room temperature hours later; cheese and ham and butter and mayonnaise and chicken and leftover roast and yoghurt.
And yet, who has ever heard of a child getting food poisoning from a school lunch? I rest my case. Not on the kitchen bench, of course. That would be unsanitary. I’m brave, not foolish.
Hughesy & Kate,
“Millions of school lunch boxes sit in the sun all day, next to the corpse of yesterday’s uneaten sanger”