Once upon a time, when my kids were young and running amok in the neighborhood, making a savory-scented meatloaf was a fun way to calm my inner soul.
Back in the day, before anyone ever heard about Mad Cow Disease, I’d throw ground beef into a bowl, add bread crumbs, an egg, salt, pepper, ketchup, sage, garlic, then plunge my bare hands into the mixture and vigorously blend it all together.
Now every package of meat comes with dire warnings about safe handling. This amazes me because my parents plunked their unprotected fingers into all sorts of edibles, tasted the uncooked concoctions to make sure the spices were right–and yet remained healthy and hardy well into their eighties and nineties.
So yesterday, while I was standing in the butcher section of one of Carpenter Country’s grocery stores watching the clerk put a tray of fresh meatloaf mix into the case, I asked myself, What’s to fear?
The answers came back quickly. Botulism. High cholesterol. Alzheimer’s. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Possibly even dry skin and wrinkles.
Before any more bad thoughts could crowd into my head and make me nutso or maybe give me a nervous breakdown, I tossed a package of ground beef into my cart, then rushed to the kitchen aisle for a pair of poly food prep gloves. "Better safe than sorry," I said to the cashier, as I checked out.
The end result: I’m home. I’m calm. My kitchen smells heavenly–
–but blending and mixing with shrink-wrapped fingers is definitely not as much fun.