Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The most dangerous food in the world!
This is a repost from A Curate's Egg, but it is topical (re The Fat Duck post) and really belongs here .
In my previous incarnation as a food chemist I was often asked ''What food shouldn't we eat?"
I'm not sure what people expected me to say.
In the incarnation prior to that one, I worked at the Coroner's Court doing post-mortem drug analyses. No one ever asked me what drugs they shouldn't take.
However, there I am, Food Chemist, at a dinner party or a BBQ and after the obligatory "What do you do for a living?" question I get the "Oh, really? What food shouldn't we eat?" question. Always tricky if you don't know what is on the menu. But few people are ready for my reply.
Yes, those clean, green, biodynamically pumped shoots are one of the most treacherous foods on the menu.
"Surely not! You're joking, right?"
Think about it. Seeds of any sort are open to the environment. They will have bacteria on them. So what do you do with them? You soak them in water and leave them somewhere warm for three days. Water, warmth, and the seed, a good souce of protein. Bacteria heaven.
"But sprouts have been eaten for centuries." they protest.
"Cooked" I respond. Eating sprouts raw is a recent 'healthy' practice.
Cooking sprouts will kill any bacteria.
That doesn't mean that raw sprouts are bad, just that they are high risk. There is no safety net.
You can reduce the risks by using boiled or chlorinated water and changing the water frequently.
"Now, would you like my thoughts on curry powder? Or margarine?"
"Ah ... that's very kind of you but I can see an actuary over there that I have been dying to talk to ... "