I found out to my horror recently that, all these years I have been rinsing off my chickens before cooking them, I have likely been spreading bacteria all over my kitchen and myself. This is almost as bad as the dread “toilet sneeze.” These made me reflect on so many of the other things that I have learned over the course of my life, which I have later had to unlearn. After awhile it gets confusing.
For example, there’s Kurt Waldheim, and Austria itself. When I studied world history, Austria was “Hitler’s First Victim,” invaded in the Anschluss. Years later, I met Gertie, who had been there at the time, and described the cheering crowds surrounding her, a Jew, as the Nazi troops marched by. And Waldheim, who became President of Austria,and Secretary-General of the United Nations, had been a member of the S.S. during WWII. Justice may wear a blindfold, but history has amnesia.
And then there are the medical advisories that constantly change. With my first child, I was chided if I gained more than fifteen pounds; eleven years later, weight gain was encouraged, to a magnificent thirty plus; and only four years after that, back to a limited number, somewhere in between. And I was starting off at pretty much the same weight each time. Have no idea what the weight rule is today. Just glad I don’t have to follow it!
When I was young, we swam all summer in Long Island Sound. It was something of a garbage dump, with flotsam and jetsam from boaters occasionally drifting in, along with the jellyfish and horseshoe crabs. But the nearby ocean was considered to be infinite, and all sorts of things were tossed into it, on the assumption that no damage was being done. And while the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” swirling in the Pacific may be a myth, the coral reefs worldwide are eroding, and stocks of various types of fish are decimated. Saw porgy on the menu recently at a fine restaurant. We used to consider them “garbage fish” and throw them back. But now cod have almost vanished, and there are no wild Atlantic salmon, just farmed ones.
Pacific, yes; garbage, who knows?
Again, when I was growing up, eggs were considered a superfood, then they somehow turned into poison, and now they are back as a good thing to eat. Similarly, fats were blamed for heart disease, and many (not I) resorted to bland, low low fat eating, to stave off the plaques. Now it seems that it is a lot more complicated, and those fat-free regimens have helped to contribute to today’s obesity epidemic, as the shift to added sugar and carbs in lieu of fats in food helped put on the pounds. Take the fat out of the cookie or yogurt and you have to put something in there!
While I might sound like I am whinging about all of this, in fact I am delighted to keep learning about new and better ways to deal with the world, my health, and the varying facts of life. As a scientist I know that we never reach “truth” in the work that we do, but that we can learn more and more about the issues. And sometimes that requires us to rethink, and relearn, what we thought we already knew.
So my chickens will go straight into the pan for their thorough cooking, and I will lower the toilet seat cover after use, I promise.