worship: church of the hermetically sealed

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People crack me up. Okay, and sometimes annoy me. And, since I include myself in the group titled People, I annoy and crack myself up too, so I can say so.

In expanding my local meat evangelism, I’ve been working in a nearby old school butcher shop.  My goodness, the things I learn from our customers are delightful, encouraging, fun and often disheartening.

I live in a rural area, so there are still some farmfolk who know their way around a churn of butter and appreciate a whole soup chicken, feet on please.

But more often, our customers are of the instant, quick variety. To them, thawing something out is just more complicated than they are willing to take on.

Le Sigh.

And this one: frozen is not un-fresh. It cracks me up that people don’t want things from our freezer case, even though they plan to take it home and pop it into their freezer. Huh??  

Commercial freezers do a far superior job with your meat than your home freezer will, and if we froze it, we wrapped it properly to maintain its freshness in your freezer.

Oh well, whatever. That’s just the illogical way our brains get stuck on ideas.

But the one that makes me scratch my head the most is this: the almighty faith we have that wearing gloves means everything’s sanitary. Somehow, people have faith in those gloves, but let me tell you, that faith can surely be misplaced.

Old fashioned frequent hand washing, with plenty of hot water and lots of simple, good quality soap is as healthy as it gets. Truly. 

Gloves, though sanitary looking, drag germs with them and tend to not be changed regularly. Often, food workers will wear the same gloves for hours, touching faces, noses, hair, trash and various food stuffs without noticing that their hands need washed.

Our American obsession with antibacterial this, hermetically sealed that, and gloves, gloves, gloves is a perfect example of how our brains have been hijacked by marketing, fear and suggestion.

We buy tons of products designed to sanitize that only live on to pollute and litter, killing wildlife, upsetting ecosystems and populating landfills. And lulling us into unhygenic behavior because of our complete confidence in store-bought products.

We also share a frightening lack of appreciation for the functions of good bacteria that are naturally working to keep pathogens at bay, and the benefits of allowing our immune systems to do their jobs.

Stripping your environment of all bacteria, both good and bad, weakens your immune system and conversely strengthens the pathogens. Go figure. All this time, frequent and liberal use of a simple bar of soap was all we needed.

Turns out there’s some truth to that old chestnut: “God made dirt and it don’t hurt.”

What gives you confidence in your food? Sealed plastic wrapping? Fresh before dates? Gloves? Does handmade give you the hygenic creeps? Do tell…