After a mere four days it’s safe to say that I will never look at food the same way. While cooking dinner last night I was much more aware of how long my chicken was within the time-temperature danger zone (a maximum of four hours which is cumulative, between 41 – 135 degrees Fahrenheit; of course this differs in the state of IL and yet again in the city of Chicago). I’ll also be much more aware of things like cooked vegetables and rice. If not held or cooled properly these things can really ruin your day.
And of course there’s all the lovely bacteria, viruses and parasites that I’ve learned about. My instructor’s personal favorite is Shigella, which is, get this, contracted via the “fecal/oral route”. There’s only two ways to contract Shigella – either someone preparing your food had shit on their hands or a fly landed on your food at some point. Lovely huh?
It would be pretty easy to want to live in a bubble after learning all of this, but I understand the necessity for learning the ins and outs of sanitation prior to letting us run amok in a kitchen and potentially poisoning the homeless population of Chicago (the school donates only the edible food prepared by its students to local food banks).
The first exam is tomorrow and next week we focus on “The Flow of Food”, which will undoubtedly be much less exciting than this week. No actual cooking gets done for another two weeks for those who have asked.
Incidentally, I am nearly fully compliant with the school’s dress code. I’m still waiting on my shoes before my transformation is complete.