Do you disinfect your countertops and sinks just before you start baking or cooking?
It sounds logical, but I don’t do it. I clear the debris and swipe at the crumbs before hauling out the pans, flour, sugar, and other yummo ingredients.
I know that at any given moment, my kitchen countertops are not free of germs. (Well, I do use something to kill the little microbes, but only once a day—usually just before bed.)
So, here’s where I’m going with this—my oldest daughter and I were in the germy kitchen last weekend, preparing dinner. She washed the veggies, and then set them on the counter. The germy counter.
I told her to put the clean stuff on a plate, not directly on the counter, because it hadn’t been disinfected. She rolled her eyes (did I mention she knows everything because she’s 17?) and told me I think way too much about germs.
She’s probably right, although I didn’t tell her that.
But, to play devil’s advocate, let’s take a moment and review a typical Saturday.
We go to the grocery store and Costco, touching cart handles and checkout stations and bins, just like the thousands of shoppers before us.
We return to the car, unload boxes and bags into the back end, and get into the front seat.
After I’ve opened the driver’s side door and touched the steering wheel and the gearshift, I put my hands all over the outside and inside of my purse, trying to unearth the hand sanitizer. I squirt on more than I need and rub briskly until dry, after which I promptly put my clean hands onto the germy steering wheel and gearshift.
Did you know that once the sanitizer is dry, it won’t kill any new germs that make it to your hands?
We drive home, grab the boxes and bags, carry them into the house and put them on the floor, chairs, and countertops in the kitchen. If we only have a few boxes or bags, we just use the countertops.
Hey, it’s easier!
The girls put away the groceries while I do the debris-clearing and crumb-swiping. Then, out come the pans and flour and what-have-you that we’ll be using for that day’s baking or cooking.
You see my problem. In fact, after explaining our routine, I’m just now seeing how lazy I’ve been about a clean cooking environment. My excuse is, I know how germy the countertops are and I never put any food on them.
My daughter is right in that I do think too much about germs, but I’m right in that there are some basics we should observe to reduce the risk of infections, which I swear I’ll start observing as of this minute.
Never put purses, briefcases, grocery bags or boxes, or anything that’s been sitting around a germy environment, on the kitchen countertops. Whatever germs the boxes etc. have on their bottoms will transfer to the counter.
Take two minutes to disinfect the cooking and prep areas.
Wash hands with soap and water, and realize that the germs you have on your hands when you turn on the water will stay on the faucet for a certain amount of time, unless you then disinfect the faucet. (It’s never-ending, really, isn’t it?!)
Well, I’m sure you know there are heaps of rules for safe handling of food. But that’s about all my stomach can take. Please share your keep-it-clean cooking ideas in the comments!