Where to Draw the Line - Live Like a Mensch
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Where to Draw the Line

 Image courtesy of Greg Williams

We are not a particularly germ-phobic household.  I like to describe myself as germ-bivalent, as I do my best to avoid E. coli, Salmonella and Dysentery, but I don't spend my time thinking about the potential bugs that may be sharing every surface of my house.  This may explain why I've been sick for the past three weeks, but that's another blog post.

I am finding that my germ-bivalence is a little problematic when it comes to this financial fast.  Last night, as I was grating some of the precious little cheese we have left in the fridge (is anyone else getting the impression that I should have gone grocery shopping before starting this little money fast exercise?), I dropped a piece of cheese on the floor.

Now, I am a definite believer in the five second rule.  If you can pick up a piece of food from the floor within that tiny window, you can enjoy that food germ- and guilt-free (since it having been on the floor also negates the calories).  However, I have two caveats to the five second rule--the wet food caveat and the really really tasty food caveat.  The first states that wet foods (like apple slices or pudding) are more likely to pick up germs quickly and so should immediately be disposed of rather than eaten.  (And no, I have no degree in bacteriology, why do you ask?).  The second caveat states that all bets are off when the food is particularly tasty, meaning you can eat it off the floor past five seconds and even when it is a wet food, since taste trumps all.

Now, with the cheese on the floor, I had a bit of a dilemma.  We did not have a great deal of cheese available for the quiche I was making out of the eggs and Brussel Sprouts.  Cheese is not exactly a wet food, but its texture does seem to lend itself to germ pickup.  On the other hand, I do love cheese, but it is not like cheesecake in that its overwhelming tastiness edges out my fear of germs.  Finally, I knew that if that cheese was not used, I would have wasted some of our precious resources on this financial fast.  What to do?

That's when the dog came by and fixed the entire dilemma.  I knew we kept him around for a reason.

Anyone else believe in the five second rule?  Or have I just grossed out an entire community who will now never accept a dinner invitation to my house?



Lisa R said:

I don't really believe it scientifically... but practically, yes.  I confess that yesterday I dropped a Heath Bar on the floor and it was little bit wet as I was just going in for my second bite... and I picked it up and ate it.  Can't say it was without a second thought, but it was just too scrumptious to toss.  Anyway, I heard that wooden floors are especially good for not harboring germies.  Soooo glad we have wooden floors.

January 9, 2012 9:52 AM

Emily Guy Birken said:

Lisa, I think Heath Bars get automatic immunity.  At least, I'd rather take my chances than give up something that delicious.

January 9, 2012 11:01 AM

Cheryl said:

There is a tv program called the food detective and one of their experiments was to test the 5 second rule. It showed that all food dropped gathered at least some bacteria, as well as other matter (not going there!). Less porous foods picked up less, while more porous foods picked up more.  They had experimental and control groups and did this on various surfaces. Sorry but only marble or granite had the least.

As often as I mop, doesn't matter.. with whatever our shoes may pick up walking across lawns, parking lots etc if it hits the floor in my house it's trash!

January 10, 2012 6:17 PM

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