I dropped a piece of steak on the kitchen floor the other night. Didn’t mean to, it just sort of slipped right off the plate.
Being a pragmatist who has lived on a Dakota farm, raised commercial Polypay sheep and Arabian horses, camped in the wilderness, cooked on a wood stove, tanned my own buckskin, as well as having visited the interior of Mexico and eaten dog with indigenous peoples, I picked it up, rinsed it off, and proceeded to grill it (medium please, no pink for me).
My 24-year-old daughter was aghast. She paled, backed away, shook her head, and made sure her steak was on the opposite side of the grill. “Gross, Mom, how can you?” was her response. Notice that she did not offer me her steak…
I think we live in a world that is obsessed with diseases and germs and the avoidance of casual physical contact. Can’t touch or hug students in school any more, never talk to strangers, please don’t kiss the baby….everywhere you look are anti-bacterial soaps and wipes that kill bacteria indiscriminately, the good along with the bad and the ugly. Not that cleanliness isn’t good…and please do wash your hands with soap, but…
God forbid that our kids get dirty. Can you remember the last time you saw a muddy child? We don’t put our hands in the soil; we pay to have our petunias planted and our lawns mown. We spurn and avoid the microbes and bacteria we need to survive…..that should live in harmonic co-existence.
Anyway, I digress, so let’s get back to the dropped steak…..
I looked online for references to spilled food, and found a great article written in 2007 about the 5 Second Rule. A couple of students from the University of Connecticut experimented with dropped foods, and came up with a flow chart to help you decide if you should or shouldn’t eat dropped foodstuffs. Interestingly enough they expanded the 5 Second Rule, and determined it could be more properly called the 30 Second Rule.
You can study the image of their flow chart for yourself and feel free to use if you ever find yourself faced with the choice, “Do I eat this or not?”
Now, according to the National Center for Disease Control, food borne illnesses are not serious for most of the 76 million Americans who contract them every year. Although 300,000 of those 76M are hospitalized and of those, 5,000 do die, the CDC points out that most of the deaths are the very young, people with compromised immune systems, and the elderly.
Foodstuffs dropped on dry floors are the best bets for safe eating if they are first rinsed/washed and then thoroughly cooked.
Don’t mess around with food dropped on moist or sticky floors, or areas of public traffic.
Oh, and by the way, my steak was delicious, and no…I have not suffered any illness from it.
Be safe, take your women vitamins, and be blessed, Kersten