Separation of Food and Poop

Friends and family are constantly making fun of my germaphobic tendencies. Yeah, well, I can take it; after all, who's served people and worked around food for 20 years? It's precisely because I have seen too much that I am so obsessive. But this weekend I saw more than enough:

There is a bar in town that keeps its backup kegs in the ladies room. Gross. What's on the floor that you're dragging into the keg cooler or bar fridge? What sort of butt particles and whatnot are clinging to the outside of that keg? And believe me, "whatnot" is a far larger category than your wildest nightmares can conjure.

While walking this weekend, I curiously peered into a kitchen space that keeps strange hours and predominantly caters. I saw a man surrounded by vegetables, prepping. Not more than four feet away, on the same counter, a woman stood changing a baby's diaper. (I won't say where, and don't assume.) Curiosity squelched.

I tried to wash the icky away with a special treat, but I had to abandon my purchase when the person behind the counter not only touched my food with bare hands, but did so straight from the cash register after ringing me up. No hand washing, not even a sink in site. I was stunned. Calling money dirty is like calling Michael Jackson crazy. It's true, yet not quite descriptive enough. Money is a special kind of dirty. It is against health code to allow bare hands to come in contact with ready-to-eat foods. Compound that with the fact that he probably rang up the person in front of me and in front of them in between handling the....I won't say (to protect the sloppy).

Was this just a perfect storm of gross? I notice great moments in hygiene every day. Most establishments are tip-top, cleaner than your kitchen on its best day. More and more I see the sense of the Los Angeles health code, with the mandatory displayed grades for taco trucks and Mr. Chow's alike. I would have liked to hand out three scarlet letters on Saturday. Big brown "Ps" -- for poop.

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