Sunday, April 22, 2018
Cookie dough wins
"Pick up some romaine lettuce," my wife said on Monday.
I was going to the supermarket and asked what we needed.
"Okay honey," I said. Romaine hearts were on sale, two packages for $4. Seemed like a deal, because usually they cost three or four bucks apiece. Though we already had a package at home, I eat a salad almost every day. No harm in stocking up. The stuff lasts a while.
"Throw away the romaine lettuce," my wife said on Wednesday, pointing to a Centers for Disease Control directive that romaine might be tainted with deadly E-coli.
"Okay honey," I said, thinking, guess that's why it was on sale.
I'll be honest. Left to my devices, I would take my chances and just eat the stuff, washing it first, as I always do—a vigorous dousing in the salad spinner—Get behind me, Satan! All you germs, down the drain!
It's not that I'm against caution. I wear my seatbelt and my bicycle helmet, usually. I look both ways crossing the street and own a variety of insurance.
But certain kinds of caution are a bridge too far. The worry about salmonella from cookie dough, for instance. I once crunched the numbers for getting salmonella from raw eggs, and they're infinitesimal. Which means, in a country of ... check ... 325 million people (crikey, I thought it was 310 million; they'r reproducing like rabbits!) that somebody is going to get salmonella from raw eggs. But it probably won't be you. So grab a spoon and scrape away, clutching the big stainless steel mixing bowl to your chest, going after that delicious dough, beaming like a child, as primal a joy as there can be (well, ahem, ignoring a primal joy or two).
Why pitch the lettuce but eat the cookie dough? A good question, and one that deserves a logical answer.
We can eliminate the listen-to-your-wife factor, because she certainly shook her finger in my face vigorously about the cookie dough, to which I responded with a shrug and a lick of the wooden spoon.
If that isn't it, then what?
In the case of the lettuce, the tiny risk of sickness is weighed against the loss of a $4 investment in produce (it's not worth four bucks to spend 45 minutes returning it to Jewel, assuming they would take it back, which they might not). It's not worth $4 to risk getting sick. Caution wins.
In the case of the cookie dough, the tiny risk of sickness is balanced against a lifetime of eating raw cookie dough when the opportunity arises. As barren a prospect that can be imagined, especially in a life where a few pleasures have already been pitched over the side in the name of survival. So in the tug-of-war between tiny risk of sickness and decades worth of cookie dough, cookie dough wins.