The way I see it, we have to be really careful as regards what we put into our stomachs.
As a matter of fact, I am reminded of a quote which states: ‘We are what we eat.’
On Thursday of this week, I listened with interest, as one of our celebrated seniors spoke on the issue of food safety and I was appalled at some of the things that I was hearing.
Now, there are fairy tales and there are true stories. As much as I would love to hear that she was only joking, sadly, the lady confirmed with a very sad and serious face that what she was saying, was the absolute truth.
She spoke of attending a high- level reception, somewhere in the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis (The establishment will not be named, for the purposes of this class) and had reason to go to the rest room.
She got mixed up with the directions given and made a wrong turn and busted into a section of the kitchen. One of the servers had accidentally spilled her tray with some chicken that she was taking to the guests and she witnessed her place them back onto the tray, after carefully wiping them off with a napkin and she went out and served to the high level delegation.
Well I newa!
The interesting thing about her conversation is that she also stated that while she was later having a conversation with one of her fellow guests, the lady remarked: ‘The chicken was absolutely lovely!’
She indicated that months after that, she could not bring herself to eat chicken!
I am also reminded of something that I heard from a contractor some years ago. He said that they were doing some work on a two storey building, some time prior to our conversation and realized that from that vantage point, he had a good view of a nearby restaurant where some of the workmen got their lunches.
One day, he looked down in time to see one of the workers, preparing some chicken in the kitchen sink and if that was bad enough for starters, when the guy finished, he watched him brush his teeth in the same sink!
Now, dear reader, I am sorry but I forgot to tell you that this material is for adult readership only and for people with strong stomachs.
Now, if those were fairy tales and let’s say for argument’s sake, that those are made up stories, I can tell of a personal experience and this is no ‘made up story.’
I was a Public health Inspector, in another life and there was a particular restaurant that I loved to visit (in the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis). The food and the service there were great. Two things that would enhance the chances of return customers.
I was invited to a seminar on Food safety and as part of the practical aspects of the workshop, we randomly selected several food places and dropped in on them unannounced, to carry out some inspections.
When I saw my favourite restaurant on the list, I made sure that I was in that group, because I intended to have lunch there after we were through.
We went into the restaurant and as per usual, the dining area was spick and span and there a few customers already in.
‘See what I told you?’ I said confidently to one of my colleagues.
‘Am impressed,’ he retorted.
Now, as Public Health Inspectors, we got the chance to enter that area where the regular customers cannot tread—the kitchen.
I don’t want to over exaggerate but I almost got a heart attack.
From the spick and span dining area, the kitchen looked like it had not been cleaned since world war two!
There were missing tiles on the floor; cobwebs hanging from the roof and some right over the stove. There was obvious grease and grime presence….
Needless to say, the report on that particular restaurant was not good and the recommendation was made for the local authorities to pay a repeat visit after the seminar, so that immediate corrective action can be ensured and/or forced and immediate closure.
Now don’t get me wrong eh. There are some excellent restaurants and hotels in our federation and there are some excellent and absolutely health conscious food handlers as well, but there are others….
I say all of that to say that I really love some of the sayings of my late mother. One of which was: ‘You are sure of what you put in your own pot.’
Hey, don’t get me wrong. I am not knocking the habit of eating out and I am one for occasionally treating those you love to a nice dinner every now and then.
I am just facing the reality that if the wonderful food we eat sometimes at certain places could tell of its own history, it may not look so palatable after all.
Makes it more important that we learn to say our grace before meals, because we are also asking for God’s protection and blessings in the process.
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?