Many questions have to be asked and answered, not only in this latest outbreak of dangerous things dealing with one of our most pleasurable and basic occupations.....buying, preparing and consuming..........FOOD.........!
Without question, the German Authorities were too quick to find a guilty party, but the fact does remain that we must find out - where, why, when and how these things happen.
Often the reasons are simple......greed, and not greed in the sense of over-eating, but greed in over-producing, too quickly, in an un-natural way, using chemicals and other materials we don't understand sufficiently, to satisfy our greed for money.
Image by MattersMind.com via Flickr
Now - these people in the image do not produce in the unbelievably high quantities we produce in "the civilized world".
They produce sufficiently to nourish themselves, their families and if possible to be able to sell something to satisfy other needs.
In our "civilized world" we over produce everything, and often end up still having the highest prices world wide, the most dangerous products worldwide, and always end up destroying vast quantities as "unsellable" because the products don't meet our mental image of what we want, ...... or because they are simply too dangerous to consume...malformed and unsellable due to the products used to satisfy the money bug, and destroyed at high cost and no profit. When someone can explain the logic....I would be thankful.
I recall, many years ago now, visiting Croatia and other "Eastern" countries where vegetable, fruits - even animals - were produced in the basic fashion, no funds were available to purchase the fertilizers and other aids. Strange things did happen - fruit and vegetables were invariably much smaller and more often deformed than in the Western world, but strangely - they tasted of what they were supposed to be!
Of course, the basic rules must be applied, nowadays even more strictly, washing, peeling - if in doubt - throw away - longer cooking, but all these precautions take their toll on the usage, taste and nutritional value of the item, and badly cooked non nutritional foods almost always lead to this ....!
Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, most fruits and many other standard items were created to be eaten raw! Cooked cucumber...? Well, yes, it CAN be done, very carefully and generally very quickly, one of the nicest actually is cucumber cooked in butter, lightly so it doesn't brown or lose too much of its value, then incorporated into a cream and chilled to give a quite delicious summer soup. Of course, there is still the little problem of the "garnish" - normally raw diced or chopped cucumber and herbs....with the e-coli present? Another delicious summer thing is the Russian "bortsch" (beetroot soup) which can be served chilled or hot, but the vegetable in question has always been cooked for a long period.
The famous "Gazpacho" (chilled tomato soup) is, quite frankly a total delice, particularly in summer, but the last time I made it, the French left it on one side - wasn't French and looked like a soup - too hot to eat! I loved it and finished it off using the left overs for tomato sauces of a different kind. It is also so easy to make. The problem of "garnish" doesn't exist, just a spoonful of "crème fraîche" and a sprinkling of chopped, fresh raw herbs will do the job for the eyes and the taste. It can also be served in various forms and if you can get your guests to try it, maybe with a touch of Worcester Sauce or similar, they will swallow it with gusto.
On the other hand...cooked lettuce is not quite as simple. I do use any left overs when I prepare small garden peas "French style"
in actual fact, the addition of normal green strips of raw lettuce into the preparation actually brings out strongly the true taste of the peas - try it, you'll be surprised!
At the end of the day, there are many dishes these "possibly infested with deadly bugs" salad items can be safely used for.
The problem is that most of us can't imagine a Summer without "salads" prepared in the normal way - with raw ingredients,
and I agree wholeheartedly!
Well in this case, we must accept the minimal risks, do the maximum in cleaning and correctly preparing, chilling and serving - and tell ourselves that it only happens to others - leading to this... and in extreme cases worse......but really, relatively seldom. Mind you, when it does happen, you - like me - probably feel that death would be more agreeable!
In fact, I think that the amateur chefs who trot out their summer Barbecues and impress us (and our stomachs) with "burnt on the outside - raw on the inside" - meat and fish, are probably responsible for most of these "summer attacks" - particularly fascinating are those plates of meat and fish lying around in the hot sun, being verociously attacked by flies and other beasties....A real appetizer!
Now I know it's almost lunch time, so I'll close this article now and wish you "Bonne Appétit" - if you're invited to a Barbecue, make sure you get a "digestif" (a little cognac or other high powered alcoholical drink) after the meal....Our ancestors weren't stupid,
iwmpop(mrlemarquis) - Vauvert, France - Juin 2011