While it is my job to dream up thrilling escapades and battles against cosmic forces that threaten the very fabric of my reality... there's not a lot of adventure in my real life.
Today I was going to make a chicken salad from Richard Blais's cookbook, which is the fanciest thing I've attempted in a while. But the chicken, which was a mere day past it's sell by had a funny smell. Not strong... but certainly a little off. Of course I don't go around smelling chicken all the time so maybe it smells like that? Anyway it was off to the internet.
A google search of "Can you cook and eat chicken if it smells" reveals a surprising wealth of queries. In absolutely ZERO cases on nine pages of comments did anyone say this was a good idea. The internet may not be able to agree the Confederate flag is a racist symbol (which it is) but it really came together in one voice when it comes to the safe handling of poultry.
You can cook the living shit out of the meat and kill the bacteria but it's the toxic substances they create that pose the health risk. You learn something new each day.
I've had food poisoning exactly once and it was traumatic. I don't remember a time in recent memory that I felt sicker. On top of the pain and nausea there is the constant flow out of both ends. It was enough that I couldn't eat sushi for a year... and even after that I only eat sushi when someone else suggests it.
I count myself lucky that the internet was there for me, so I will pay it forward by adding my journey to the path of food safety traveled by many before me. When in doubt throw it out. The human olfactory system is one of the most advanced field tests for chemicals in existence (well... besides dogs and pretty much every other animal)
Interesting random fact-- psychopaths have a poor sense of smell. How crazy is that? I mean in addition to the crazy of psychopathy.
Smell is an oft neglected sense in writing, and the English language in general. It's partially because we don't have a lot of words for smells. We usually make them by analogy-- vinegar, sulfur etc. The whole smell test for wine uses a well-defined taxonomy. When a sommelier says they catch hints of cassis on the nose, it's a fancy way of saying it smells like cat pee. But we have no articulate way to describe what cat pee smells like.
Our noses are definitely not our keenest sense and our language reflects that. We probably have more words to describe various shades of blue than all smells put together.
So as I type this on my little laptop and smell a peppery glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, I meditate on the dangers of raw poultry and my brush with misfortune. Back to the word mines... and dreams of chicken salad.
*(In the course of writing this, spell check red lined the words: Sauvignon, cassis and sommelier. What peasant programmed this dictionary?)
Mike bode is the author of The Queen of Lies , the first installment in the ongoing series, Architects of the Grand Design. His next book comes out October. Sign up for the mailing list for more info.
Mike bode is the author of The Queen of Lies, the first installment in the ongoing series, Architects of the Grand Design. His next book comes out October. Sign up for the mailing list for more info. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest . (You can also follow him on Goodreads and even Amazon)