Dorothy was a public health nurse in Prince Rupert and she worked with Jim part time. Before Susie was born she had me over a few times; I think to introduce me to Canadian culture coming from the backwoods of Budapest. She started dinner and I watched her. She took a package from the fridge and removed the wrapping. She picked up a flank roast, bent down to open the oven door, took out a baking pan, and plunked the roast on it. Next she reached for the pepper shaker and sprinkled pepper all over the meat and that is when I interrupted. Aren't you washing that meat? - I asked. Why should I - she shrugged - It’s clean. She put the pan in the oven and turned it to 425F. Then she put the kettle on. That will be some dinner I thought, but that was my first clue into Canadian trust and unquestioning fate in things no one knows anything about. I thought how could she know that the meat was clean, the butcher touched it, she touched it and I didn't see her wash hands. Growing up in communist Hungary I learned that not everything authority tells you is true. We had to circumnavigate an intricate web of official lies and pretend in order to survive and not have the police bang on the front door at night. I learned early to look for reasons behind every rule I had to follow. I thought, that the meat Dorothy was cooking came from a place neither of us knew and it had to have gone through several pairs of hands, one of which did not wash. If I was going to eat from it I would want it to be washed. I knew even back then that there had to be germs on that meat. I went home enriched with the knowledge that Canadians follow authority and don’t think for themselves. Which brings me to a couple of authorities and boy do I have a bone to pick with them!
Good to know the chicken we eat is a “safety hazard”.
Can't you just move that cheese, paper towel and salad away from the sink?
How about wearing an apron?
Unbelievable as this “don't wash the meat” is, it is starting to resonate with the public. Savvy cooks ignore it, but most people will simply accept it without ever thinking it through and the mantra will be repeated over and over again and no thought will be given as to why they are not washing the meat anymore. Some people perhaps never bothered to wash the meat and now there is a good excuse for them not to.