A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.
By Nina Pajak
Some people get all the luck. And some people get all the food poisoning.
Normally, I fall into the latter category. I always say: if someone in some restaurant is going to sneeze on a piece of lettuce, that lettuce is going to find its way to my plate. It’s inevitable. I’ve been poisoned from fancy restaurants, greasy spoons, salad bars, upscale supermarkets, delis, you name it.
So yesterday, when I was at Trader Joe’s, I was naturally drawn to the peanut butter. I hadn’t read any of the articles about the recall due to Salmonella, but clearly there is something in me that instinctively magnetizes to the next thing that can make me violently ill. Of course, I wasn’t thinking about that. I was thinking about how I need to be healthy, and an adult, and how the rare shopping trip to TJ’s makes me feel like a healthy adult.
It makes me feel like I’m the kind of person who can shop only for what she needs, who can eat things like “organic macaroni and cheese” and not get fat, and who never buys crass, commercial products filled with things like high fructose corn syrup or anything hydrogenated. Gah! Hydrogenated! As if. The moment I walk through those doors, my consciousness evolves sooooo far beyond hydrogenated. I’m on another plane of being, where Italian sodas and organic frozen samosas are my reality, and where I can buy a tub the size of a basketball full of small cookies and eat them over the course of a normal period of time because I’m a normal person with a normal relationship to calorie intake. Not, you know, someone who would eat them by the fistful in around three days because ALL COOKIES IN THE HOUSE MUST BE DESTROYED IMMEDIATELY. No, ha. That sort of person is just so embarrassing.
Anyway, when I got to the peanut butter aisle, I had a basket heavy with Greek yogurt and artisanal hummuses and was feeling quite good about myself. I thought, I need peanut butter. Why not get it here? I picked up a jar and read the ingredients: dry roasted peanuts. Hm. I picked up another jar and read those ingredients: dry roasted peanuts, salt.
I picked it up. I can do this. I can be the grown woman who doesn’t need sugar and all sorts of delicious preservatives to make her peanut butter taste good.
On the other hand, feh. I put it back down and made up my mind to go to Duane Reade for a jar of Skippy.
And wouldn’t you know it, when I got home, I saw the headlines about the Salmonella recall! Hooray! I was saved. My base taste buds and childish preferences saved me from yet another bout of horrifying foodborne illness. And what’s more, I have a feeling you never hear about a Skippy recall, because all those delicious artificial processes it goes through probably kills the heck out of any bacteria that could be lurking. In my scientific opinion, anyway.
I then immediately saw the accompanying headlines about a Salmonella recall of Target’s “Boots and Barkley” brand dog treats and freaked out about the many bags I’d bought for Gus in the past. Then I remembered that he eats garbage, drinks dirty puddle water, and licks other dogs’ butts, and I felt better.