Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sharks, Tax Cuts, and a Cutting Board

Tania and I got in a fight last night. It was over the blue, plastic, cutting board. I took the cutting board out of the dishwasher, cleaned it with a sponge, soap and water, and quartered a chicken on it. Tania was not pleased with this arrangement. In her opinion, I should have left the board in the dishwasher and used a clean board.

“But I cleaned it when I took it out,” I said.

That wasn’t good enough for her. “There was raw meat on that thing,” she said. She argued that no matter how well I cleaned the board by hand, I wouldn’t get all the raw meat bacteria out of the porous cutting board. Only a dishwasher could do that.

“You know there was a time, not long ago,” I said, “when the world didn’t have dishwashers. People cleaned things by hand. And they ate chicken then, too.” Somehow the species survived.

“Well we live in a world where there are dishwashers,” she said. She insisted that I was doing it wrong and that the old, raw, meat bacteria hiding inside the porous cutting board was contaminating the raw chicken. This coming from a woman who would eat carpaccio (raw meat) every meal if she could.

The fight escalated and it went off in some other direction that had nothing to do with cutting boards, and we went to bed in silence. Never a good idea.

I awoke in the wee hours of the morning. On the radio was a story about a woman who had been stranded in the middle of the ocean for days. I wasn’t quite awake, so I’m a little fuzzy on the details, but I remember her talking about having to fend off the sharks while treading water. It was a harrowing tale of survival. Then the announcers began questioning her on the subject of Bush’s tax cuts for the rich and they wondered whether or not she would repeal those cuts if she were the next president. In hindsight, I’m not sure what that had to do with her experience in the ocean?

Tania crept over to my side of the bed during all this and wrapped her arms around me. “I love you, Dave,” she said in my ear. I could tell by her tone that she was saying “sorry.” Apologies often come in the middle of the night between us. “I love you too, Tania,” I said. I was accepting her apology. Then she wrapped her legs around me and we cuddled. I do not fart during these occasions for fear of scaring the lady off. The cuddling escalated and we began to steer the ship out of the harbor and into the open seas of love. Presumably near where that poor lady had been floundering in the waves, kicking sharks in the face. When Tania became aware of where we were going, she got up to go to the bathroom, to freshen up I suppose. When she got back in bed, I scooted over to her side and began caressing her body again. She suddenly turned her back to me and retreated even further to her side of the bed.

What the—?

A strange response given where we were going moments before. It didn’t smell like I had farted? I was about to give chase when I suddenly realized there was classical music on the radio. There was no lady talking about sharks and tax cuts. And it suddenly dawned on me that there never was a lady on the radio talking about sharks and tax cuts. And that Tania had never gotten up to go to the bathroom. Nor had she been snuggling with me with her legs wrapped around me. She had never said a word.

The strangest thing about it was how real it all was. It took me quite a while to sort it all out and decide that, yeah, it was a dream. “As real as the invisible meat,” I chuckled. Still, if believing in imaginary meat would make the dream reality, then I'll believe in imaginary meat.

The next day while poking around on the internet, my meat wish came true. Or, in other words—in reality—Tania was right: there is raw meat bacteria hiding in our blue, plastic cutting board. From the article I read:

“Research has shown that bacteria, such as the salmonella often found on raw chicken, will thrive and multiply if not removed from plastic boards (because germs that cause food poisoning can hide out in the knife-scarred nooks and crannies that develop on the surface of a plastic cutting board). Hand scrubbing with hot water and soap can clear microbes from the surface of new or used wooden cutting boards and new plastic ones, but knife-scarred plastic boards are resistant to decontamination by hand washing.”

I stand corrected. My apologies to Tania who I’ve apparently been trying to kill with my reckless cutting board washing habits. Jesus, I have a better chance of surviving a shark attack in the middle of the ocean than winning an argument with that lady. For your health!


Anonymous said...

How do we know that we're all not dreaming... Or maybe we're all just little bacteria microbes in a tiny scratch on a much larger cutting board?

Philosophy, Apology and Brule!

Unknown said...

It's true about plastic cutting boards. They're not good for working with Raw meat.

But..if you cook the meat that was on the contaminated cutting board, shouldn't that be safe?

Shit, I hope so.

Unknown said...

a) plastic boards are actually SUPER AWESOME for raw meats and fish because you can put them in a fucking dishwasher which actually, technically sanitizes it. and they won't warp like wood. plus, they are exponentially better since our tap water barely gets warm enough to make suds, let alone kill off any bacteria.

b) the real problem with dirty cutting boards is cross contamination (getting germies on other food that's not gonna be cooked). i cut tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, and other various salad ingredients on that tainted board moments before i realized that the board was not properly cleaned since the time i had a raw chuck roast on it. i ate the salad raw (naturally) and now i'm probably gonna die. or, worse, get the barfshits. THANKS.

Unknown said...

oh god. Yuks.

Anonymous said...

We use two plastic cutting boards, the red one is for meat the green one is for everything else. You guys should get another one, its really the only way to feel good about cutting raw chickens up.


Ryan said...

I use plastic boards for raw meat (because you can bleach them) and wood for fruits and vegetables. When I need to cut up a body, I put down tarps.