Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wash Your Hands

The Eastpointer

Wash Your Hands

By Richard E. Noble

I had been in the restaurant business or been working in some type of food service for most of my life. I have been involved in food from the field to the dining room table; I picked it, I packed it, I processed it, I delivered it, I prepared it, I cooked it, I served it, I sold it - you name it, I did it. But here I was at the Florida Food Service Health and Sanitation Training Program. The State of Florida and several other like-minded States had come to the conclusion that a restaurant was not a healthy place to eat - primarily because of people like me and many others who worked in these unhealthy establishments. Not necessarily because we were dirty, unwholesome, slovenly, derelict, illegal, diseased, unhealthy or had been living under a bridge or sleeping in someone’s hedges, but because we were lacking in food handling knowledge. I for one considered this to be a definite step in the proper direction.
There was a very nice man conducting the lecture. He looked normal. He spoke ... normal. He seemed like the kind of a person that you might have living right next door. He was dressed nicely. He was wearing a tie and a suit jacket. He spoke well and had lots of funny little stories about the restaurant business and preparing and eating food. But it soon became obvious that he considered a restaurant equivalent to a toxic dumpsite. By the time that this man had finished his lecture I realized that operating “a healthy” restaurant was an impossibility.
Raw Chicken, for example, should really not be touched. If you must touch it, it should be boiled first. If for some insane reason, you touched a piece of raw chicken before you boiled it, unfortunately, you must now be boiled. If you do not boil yourself within a reasonable time after touching a piece of raw chicken, you will probably die. Even worse than that, you may be the cause of some innocent person’s death - possibly even a small child or a dog or a cat.
Hamburger? Hamburger is a very scary material. How and why people ever started using hamburger as a food product is a study for historians and anthropologists. Hamburger needs its own building. If you make a hamburger patty and then touch a piece of raw chicken, you could spontaneous combust. The man showed a slide program of people who instantly exploded while standing in front of a twenty thousand dollar stainless steel sink.
Any utensils that are used in processing any raw meat product must be destroyed after using or sent to Nevada to be buried miles under the ground. And the people living in Nevada must never be told that these utensils are buried in their state otherwise it could cause a panic.
Any and all raw meat products are extremely dangerous but cooked meat products aren’t much better. Chicken salad, tuna salad, shrimp salad etc. should be eaten simultaneously with their preparation - or sooner. If you must let a shrimp salad or chicken salad sit in a refrigerator before serving - it should be blast frozen first.
Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and other condiments are perfectly safe as long as they are kept in hermetically sealed unopened containers or air tight packaging. If for any reason you must open any of these type containers or packages they should be immediately discarded - or buried in Nevada. Once again, please don’t tell any of the people in Nevada about any of this stuff.
Heating things in a restaurant is extremely problematic. Anything heated by an open flame or by convection or convention should reach an internal temperature of 642 degrees Fahrenheit or higher and then should be thrown away before serving.
If you must “hold” something that has been heated for any length of time you should wear heavy Teflon gloves or have an assistant do it – preferably an illegal immigrant.
You should have no unhealthy people working in your restaurant - that includes hunchbacks, midgets, and the cross-eyed.
If you would like to know more about the do’s and don’ts of the restaurant business, you can get a free 9,253 page booklet from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer services. If you live in Florida ask for Jerry. If you live anywhere else in the United States ask for Bob - if Bob isn’t there ask for Evon.
After the instruction course ended, I had to go to the men’s room - the instructor had the same problem and was at the bathroom door just ahead of me.
He took a clean handkerchief out of his breast pocket and wrapped it around the bathroom doorknob. Upon entering the facility he went over to the sink turned on the hot water and washed his hands. He closed the lever that operated the water at the sink with his elbow. After stepping up to a urinal and doing his business he returned to the sink once again and repeated the original procedure. He pressed the button on the hand dryer with his elbow, then once again opened the door with his handkerchief and exited the bathroom.
After listening to this man for three hours and watching his men’s room procedure, I had one thought that wouldn’t go away; how did this man have sex?
Wow, being privy to a visual of that would be a real study in modern day sanitation and human ingenuity. I can only imagine – but I will try not to.

Richard E. Noble is a Freelance Writer and has been a resident of Eastpoint for around thirty years. He has authored two books: “A Summer with Charlie” which is currently listed on and “Hobo-ing America” which should be listed on Amazon in the not too distant future. Most recently he completed his first novel “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother” which will be published soon.