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.
     Make sense?


  1. "Make sense?"

    Not to me, but then I've never considered raw cookie dough to be "as primal a joy as there can be." Rather, I put not eating it in the category of "something you're not supposed to do that I don't do anyway," which is my favorite category of things you're not supposed to do. : )

    1. I'm with you. I never understood what the hell is supposed to be so appealing about raw cookie dough. They're called "cookies" for a reason--you're supposed to cook them.

    2. “Who gets to lick the bowl” was the highest distinction one could aspire to in my little 7-child family.

    3. Scribe you are too funny.

    4. Cake batter is better.

    5. My mother and grandmother scared me straight as a kid by telling me that cookie dough would give me worms. Eventually, I outgrew the craving, and took up smoking instead.

      We had a Sunbeam Mixmaster and my kid sister always asked to be allowed to lick the beaters, something a lot of folks probably grew up doing. Our parents took us on a tour of the Mars candy plant. When we passed the enormous mixing bowls, Sis excitedly asked if she could lick the huge industrial beaters. That request earned her a lot of laughs from the employees and the rest of the group. She was seven years old. Big Brother still razzes her about it, six decades later.

  2. Neil:

    There’s a show I listen to every Saturday morning on Wisconsin Public Radio call Dr. Zorba Paster on your health. Callers frequently query him about the dangers of eating certain foods that might have carcinogens or excess fat or excess sugar and although Dr. Paster is an enthusiastic proponent of the Mediterranean diet, he usually tells these callers that eating such foods probably increases the risk of bad outcomes a couple of percent, but that as long as they maintain an otherwise healthy diet and only scarf up bacon, red meat, French fries, ice cream and the like occasionally, the indulgences might actually help to keep them on the straight and narrow the rest of the time. He himself confesses a taste for Big Macs, which he indulges a couple times a month on average.


  3. Makes sense to me. I live a tobaccoless, alcohol-free life, so if someone tries to take away one more thing, there's gonna be trouble. Besides, I can just about gaurantee it won't be cookie dough that ends my life.

  4. Weren't we better off when we ate everything (perhaps washed, thoroughly cooked, or not) and developed resistance to these germs? BTW, cookie dough is highly overrated.

  5. Makes sense to me. To me, cookie dough is yummy, and I've enjoyed it many times over the years with no ill effects. Lettuce of any kind is just...there.

  6. I licked many a spoon and sauce pan clean of delicious frosting but it never occurred to us in the '50s and '60s to eat the dough. Patience proved a virtue by the fantastic cookies my Granny produced, barely fast enough to keep ahead of my appetite. But if the dough moves you, I would think the odds are in your favor, scrape away.

  7. There are packets or cups of cookie dough you can buy now that are okay to eat raw. Why take a chance? Check Meijer's, etc.


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