Venus and Mars.
Venus and Mars.

The great food hygiene debate

Mars is Zane Jackson

I KNOW a bloke who once dropped half a chocolate bar, not in its wrapper, right in the middle of the Queen St Mall in Brisbane.

It took him a few seconds to find it as the bar had bounced to the side on impact.

All in all about seven seconds before he picked it up and held it to his mouth.

As another guy, I knew what he was going to do - still eat the bar, and enjoy it too - but it horrified one passer-by. She screwed up her face in disgust as my mate gave me a grin and downed the rest of the chocolate bar in one mouthful.

Did it kill him? No. He wasn't even sick.

Would I have done the same? Probably.

I know that science has proved otherwise, but in my head, I always imagine that it would take way longer than seven seconds for bacteria and all that other nasty stuff to settle on a dropped food item.

Same with off milk. Unless it is putrid, my male brain kicks in and says the boiling hot water from my hot coffee will kill off the unpleasant things.

I think it is just hard for us guys to let go. If that pizza five days ago was fantastic, and there are still remnants in the fridge, you still want to at least give it a crack. I mean, what could you lose? Sure, there is the chance of being ill, but the chance of having another tasty slice of pizza is well worth the risk.

Maybe it has to do with that one flaw a lot of us blokes have - the urge to show off, especially in front of females. Not that I've ever seen a girl get excited over a bloke tempting fate with a nearly off food item.

But, on the off chance that it might actually happen, I don't think that will stop some guys trying anyway.

Venus is Bianca Clare

When it comes to food hygiene, my partner has what he calls a fail-proof way to test the "real" expiry date of food.

It comes down to a four-word question: "would dad eat it?"

If yes, then that slimy looking chicken becomes okay to add to the stir fry. If no, then the dog's eyes light up in anticipation for a second dinner.

His two brothers live by the same logic.

I can tell you from first-hand experience; this science is not going to win any Nobel peace prizes.

My Christmas 2009 celebrations were spent with a bucket and a clear pathway to the bathroom six hours after eating questionable prawns.

Another time, in Nepal, there was a very tense tuk tuk ride after eating a curry, because of course "you can't get food poisoning from curry".

In Vietnam there was that incident after eating a street pancake from a man with a "nice smile".

Now that I have learnt my lesson and turn away in haste when food has a funky smell or texture, I am labelled a "fussy eater" by the other half.

The men in the office are the same.

Stomach of steel" they declare while adding the curdled milk into the coffee, "will taking a swig or two kill you?" "Live a little" is shouted out as they down the five-day-old take-away pizza.

I am not sure what triggers that cave-man attitude. It is not like we live in the ice age and need to preserve all food for hibernation

Guys, maybe you can enlighten me.

Is this the way the modern man proves his mettle? 

Venus and Mars is a weekly humour column.

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