hot foods hot, cold food colds


I have this weird perversion. Now, don't fret, this blog is still work-safe reading, as this perversion has absolutely nothing to do with gonads. Rather, it's food-related. Here it is: I don't like hot food. And I don't mean spicy-hot, since the more a dish causes my orbicularis oris region to burn, the better. I mean temperature hot. I prefer my foods colder, ideally around room temperature. For some things, this isn't all that strange. Cold pizza is considered nice by large swaths of the population, as are certain Chinese leftovers. But fish sticks? tuna casserole? barbecued chicken? Clearly, there is something wrong with me.

When I was living alone up in Canada, I would often cook dinner about 4pm, just before going to work. Then I would eat a little bit of whatever I had made, just so that I wouldn't pass out at the reference desk or lose my wits when a guy at the train station offered to fight me for my tuque. But I would leave the remainder out on top of the stove for when I came home. I loved coming home to a pot of lukewarm spaghetti, some cold twice baked potatoes, or tepid beans. I'd even make and butter my toast in the morning before getting in the shower so it wouldn't be piping hot as I grabbed it and dashed out the door, late as ever for class.

I'm not sure what this preference stems from. Was I born this way? Is it a choice? Like all great nature v. nurture debates, we'll likely never know. Part of it surely comes from hating the way a microwave turns food all soggy and from being too lazy/incompetent to calculate how much food I need to cook so I'm not left with a week's worth of leftovers from every meal. What I do know is that I'm pretty lucky for not having contracted some hideous foodborne sickness. As all card-carrying food handlers know (and I was once one of that class), you're supposed to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold and never ever just leave food sitting out. Maybe years of this habit and an already very iffy digestive system have caused me to be able to stomach these potential pathogens.

Oh, and it could be a lot worse. Like the case study I read in the sanitation and safety textbook used at my school. Apparently, an employee with diarrhea didn't wash his hands after using the bathroom. He then proceeded to mix an entire vat of buttercream frosting with his bare hands and arms. Estimated number of people infected: 500. Think about that next time you're eying that frosted sugar cookie. See, now lukewarm fish sticks don't sound so unappealing, do they?


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