Michael Ruhlman has had it with our obsession with oversterilization—at least when it comes to the kitchen. What set the illustrious food writer off was new California regulations demanding the use of gloves when handling food:
I was alerted to the new California law requiring more use of gloves by cooks (for any “ready-to-eat” food) no matter the venue. Now, I suppose if you eat in a seriously skanky-ass food joint—smells bad, there’s no toilet paper in the john—you might want the guy putting together your BLT to have gloves on. But at any busy restaurant, my experience has been that the cooks’ hands are the cleanest in the place. You’re more likely to pick up germs from the waiter’s hand that sets your plate before you—but you don’t hear the legislators clamoring for this.
Yes, this California law is more of America’s ridiculous germ paranoia, and it makes me nuts. Especially as the people making the laws are likely the most ignorant of any people actually qualified to be judging the situation. Who would you trust on this issue—a tableful of bureaucrats in suits or a gathering of talented chefs who have been in the business for twenty years?
The bottom line:
Yes, touching food is one of the great pleasures of cooking. Separating eggs, making meatballs, pasta, bread, swooping out a finger-load of sweet whipped cream and delivering it straight to the tongue (and then washing the hand!). Take the time to appreciate the texture and tone of the food you’re cooking and eating. It’s part of the fun of cooking.
As usual, it’s worth reading in its entirety.