And speaking of kitchen countertops, imagine a piece of toast that has just freshly popped out of the toaster. You butter it and accidently knock one of the slices off the plate and onto the floor. It goes sailing through the air and lands on the floor. Not so agile either!
I'm not suggesting that toast has feet. That would be just plain stupid. And toast really is stupid!
Consider this scenario … your toast has just popped out of the toaster. You spread your margarine or butter and then you spread your favorite condiment … jam, peanut butter … Fluffo, whatever it is you like.
And then all of a sudden, inadvertently, the sleeve of your shirt connects with the corner of the toast and your toast is airborne. Right onto the floor at your feet!
Now when you look down what do you invariably see? The toast, is it good side up or good side down?
It's almost always good side down. Here's what happens immediately. Two different events take place simultaneously at the speed of light. The first thing is you look down, you see your toast, and you utter a couple words ffffiddle sticks!
Secondly, also at the speed of light, from deep inside your brain, your reptilian brain kicks in. And it only has one question. “Can I eat it?”
That's all it wants to know. I would suggest that you start the Countdown at this point. Have you ever heard of the five, ten or fifteen second rule, when it comes to food falling on the floor and picking up and eating it? It tends to be a family secret and most people don’t talk about it in public. Until now!
It's not so much that it's a problem, it’s that the toast gets cold quickly. if you're lucky and you look down and your toast with peanut butter, or whatever you added, is staring back at you, scoop it up and eat it! No problem at all, just go for it. However, if it's the good side down, you may want to pass.
Pick it up and throw it in the garbage.
Metaphorically and figuratively, it's toast! Get rid of it and don't even worry about cleaning up the floor, that's where dogs become useful, licking up the mess.
Now, I don't know where I originally learned the rules about recovering fallen food. I think it might have been one of those parental things that fathers pass down to their sons. Like how to work the barbeque and how to get out of doing the dishes.
I think there might have been a connection between rescuing fallen food and Canada's Food Guide.
Are you familiar with Canada's Food Guide? There are a series of food classifications they organize all foods into. I'll try to go through some of them for you. One is the meat group … everybody knows the meat one.
Well if you drop some meat, down on to the floor, two different rules come into play and you need to be prepared for either of them.
The first criteria is to determine whether you are inside the house or are you outside? This should be easy enough to do unless you have been heavy into one of the other important food groups … the Beer Group.
Let's start off with being outside. Here's the scenario. It's a family get-together. You are out working the Barbecue, you are the designated Barbecueist.
We've got hamburgers and wieners sizzling away on the barbecue. And one of those wieners decides to go on a walk about. It jumps off the grill, on to the deck. Now what happens immediately?
You start the countdown. One steamboat, two steamboat … you're counting the seconds. And the other part of your brain, the reptile part of you, asks the important question “Did anybody see it fall?” closely followed by “can we eat it?” You look around and determine that the Great Weenie Escape was unwitnessed.
And that's important because if nobody saw it fall, you can reach over, scoop up that wayward weenie and throw It back on to the barbeque grill.
Then you mix them up, move it around with all the other wieners. This ensures nobody will know which wiener fell to the ground. And there's no problem. It’s still good to eat if you’re wondering. Your deck is clean, the rain washes all the dust down.
Now let's go back to the beginning of this scenario. What happens if when you took your precursory look around and saw somebody did notice the wiener go flying onto the ground?
Well, a little bit of modification is required but you should still be okay. It’s basically the same response as before. As you are being watched by someone, you reach over with your tongs and you grab the wayward weenie and you say something like “and where do you think you're going?” Likely you have a little shelf on the side of the barbecue, put the wiener there by itself and just leave it there.
Keep on cooking the other ones, ignoring the lonely wiener on the shelf and when you know that the person that saw it drop on the floor is no longer looking, toss it back on to the barbecue.
Blend it in with all the other weenies and move them all around on the grill. I would suggest keeping track of the ‘special one’ it so that you don’t end up eating it. It would be okay for anybody else though.
That's the way you handle fallen food outside.
What happens with the food falls to the floor when you're in the house? What do you do in that case? Once again, you need to refer to the rules.
Did it happen in the kitchen or was it in the living room, because there are two different environments, with their own rules?
Kitchens usually have vinyl or perhaps a tile flooring. And that makes a difference because if something drops on the floor, onto a hard surface, you can just pick it up and blow off the dust, especially if you have pets. Or perhaps, if it's a little on the fuzzy side you can run it under the tap for a moment, then throw it back into the frying pan for moment or two. It should be good.
It’s easy enough to do in the kitchen however, the living room gives you a different scenario.
Carpet can cause unique problems. When you pick your fallen meat up off the floor, you need to be quicker. Probably no longer than five seconds at the most.
If you see fur on it and you know that you have pets in the house, you might get away with just blowing the fur off. Then eating it. If you don’t have pets, you may want to consider calling the pest control people as you may some little furry creatures gallivanting around your living room when you are sleeping.
Now, if you see carpet fibers on your meat morsel, don't worry about that at all, as fiber is good for your diet!
One of the other food groups that is important and some people will argue it’s not a food group at all, is chocolate.
Here's the scenario, you're driving along in your car and you have a big sack of chocolate covered almonds in your hand. You're almost down to the very last one and one of them falls in between the seats.
Well, in the old days, you would continue driving along and reach down in between the seats to retrieve it. You would distort yourself, performing body contortions, trying to grab the little wayward chocolate covered almond.
However, nowadays with the expensive distracted driving fines, you may not want to do automobile gymnastics. You can buy an awful lot of chocolate covered almonds for the price of the traffic ticket. Be safe! The goodie can wait.
But not for long! The way you handle this crisis is you pull over as soon as you can to a parking lot. And if you can locate an empty parking spot, try to find one where there's an empty spot on either side of your vehicle. That way you can pull out your car seats, right there in the parking lot.
And if you rescue your missing chocolate, it's heavenly! It's like finding a buried treasure.
The treat that you rescue will likely be as tasteful as all the others combined. So … it is definitely worth the effort. One of the good things about rescuing fallen chocolate is that you don’t need to start the countdown. Chocolate is exempt! It also doesn’t have any calories, but I will save that for another story.
And while you're searching for your fallen chocolate, if you happen to find something like a chicken Mcnugget and it's a little furry and you don't remember having recently eating any, blowing on it won’t help because it's likely a different kind of fur. You would be well-advised to pass on that one .
There's one last food group that I want to share with you as it requires extreme caution. I’m referring to the vegetable group. You have to be really careful with this group.
Here’s the scenario. You're cooking some kale for your supper. Yeah, I know it’s hard to believe but some people actually do it.
The kale falls onto the floor. Immediately step away from the stove, this is a hazardous situation. The killer kale is not rescuable!
You need to locate somebody you trust, but could probably live without, to come in and pick it up and throw it in the garbage for you. Don’t touch it. To be on the safe side you probably shouldn't have any kale for the next 30 days just in case you were exposed. You don't want to have any untoward effects.
I'm not sure if the same rules apply in anybody else’s house, but I hope I’ve provided you something to think about. We take our food safety and rescue seriously.
In our next session, we look at ways to reduce your dining-out budget, by stealing food from somebody else's table . What works what doesn't work?
This post was derived from a speech that I presented at a Humorous Speech Contest in the fall of 2017 @ Kelowna Flying Solo Toastmasters.