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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Kung Yowza

State agriculture officials seized a truck recently that was carrying 16 tons of rotten, unrefrigerated meat headed to Chinese restaurants in Jacksonville. While, as someone who dines out frequently, I appreciate the catch, I wonder if the government would have better served the public by allowing the meat to be delivered.

No, you ninny, not because I want people to eat rotten food. Quite the opposite. As a former restaurant cook for many years, I doubt these establishments would have actually accepted the deliveries. The story makes it clear that the smell from the delivery truck was what alerted officials. Any decent restaurant owner or cook accepting the delivery would notice this and, unless they are sick bastards, refuse.

Of course there are some sick bastards out there more concerned with money than their patrons' health. Finding out who those people are, if there are any, would have done a greater service.

Which brings me to my favorite personal anecdote regarding this issue. I once had a boss who was not afraid to cut corners, and one morning while prepping for lunch, we noticed that a three-gallon container of chili in the walk-in cooler had a film of mold on top of it. My instinct, similar to other cooks there, was to pitch it and make more, but the boss was obviously thinking of all of the money he would make from the many, many bowls of chili that those three gallons would provide. He scooped off that mold and told us to heat it up.

Don't worry, there's a happy ending. As soon as the boss went back to counting beans and yelling at the wait staff, another cook and I dumped the chili in a garbage can and made a fresh batch. End of story.

I have a feeling you won't be eating Chinese or Mexican for a while.


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