Friday, June 15, 2007

Where Has It Been?

Hardhands and I both know not to eat street food--you never know where it's been. Or where its preparer has been. Or where the ingredients have been. Or for how long.

This is a lesson I learned at my mamma's knee, as we traversed various third world counties. No matter how delicious the smell of blue corn tortillas baking, or how lavishly buttered the roasted corn, it was drummed into my head that the price you might pay for such yumminess could include more than just money. Enviously we watched others drink coke with ice, and eat watermelon from street vendors, but we did not succumb.

By following this rule strictly, not only did I never have any problems, but I was the sole survivor of the Great Chinese Restaurant Hot Tea Massacre of '77, where the rest of my family, and another family besides, all fell, one by one, to parasitic symptoms too horrible to describe. Remedies included dosages of nasty purge-y medicine, one sufferer had to return to the States and to this day still has twinges, and another victim turned entirely green. (Absolutely pea-green--he was actually sent home from school by an appalled school nurse who had never seen a kid so emerald in hue before.) Tho' this appalling catastrophe took place in a restaurant as opposed to at a street stall, and its vector was later determined to be insufficiently boiled tea water, still--the moral remained clear. It might be delicious going in one end, but its exit could be much less happy.

Hardhands learned this lesson the hard way, by ignoring his grandmamma's warning and succumbing to the buttery charms of the Hot Corn Dollies. We all know what happened then. (If you don't, you can find out here or here.) No doubt he'll be more careful in the future.

Now comes Sieur Tom Kline who lays out, at CNN.com, rules to follow when eating street food. Good for him, I say. He can enjoy his food--and his Flagyl chaser.

Hardhands and I know better.

NB: Of course, it is sadly true that some places are probably safe to eat street food. I am less worried about New York lunch trucks than an abuela making tacos in D.F. If that be cultural imperialism, then so be it. I'm sorry.

1 comment:

Erika Hamerquist said...

Aargh! More evil tantalizing, Madama! Neither book is as yet available. I ordered the one long ago and have yet to be appeased. How long must we wait! Hardhands and Hot Corn Girls ... the imagination pops!