Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Raw Chicken Freaks Me Out

Cutting raw chicken isn’t so bad when it’s frozen. Cutting raw chicken that has thawed, while it’s as flimsy and slimy as a slug, is like gutting an alien.

I can and will do it, but the minute I am done with that cutting board and knife, I will throw it into the deep sink awash with suds. I, armed with sponge, attack that cutting board, scouring its surface with antibacterial goodness, killing off what’s left of the jelly chicken guts to rid myself of that dreaded salmonella.

Or as I call it, the dreaded (phonetically) sal-lah-moh-nil-lah.

Salmonella brings me to my knees, just like a good back injury. It’s presence in life is to kill. The bloody mixture of raw chicken juice swirls and pools in the plastic and Styrofoam container from the grocery. When I cut the plastic wrap off the chicken, drops dribble onto the surface and I have to stop right away and clean that one spot before I begin again. These little groupings of bacteria, even though microscopic, probably clump together like bad cottage cheese. And even though 40,000 people per year come down with the illness (severe diarrhea), commercials are always making it sound like skin eating bacteria.

“I spray my counters with Clorox and let it sit for hours because of the dreaded salmonellosis yuck that pours forth from the thawed Tyson packaging.”

Before I became more comfortable cutting raw chicken, I would get pee-chills up and down my body as I was cutting, which isn’t very safe – because I opt for the largest knife we have when I go a-cuttin’.

Here’s the contradiction, though. As much as I fear dying from salmonella poisoning, I am a sucker for brownie batter and raw cookie dough. The bacteria are probably still there, but it just looks prettier. The runny, saliva-like juice that comes from the chicken packaging is not something I would drip into a shot glass and choke down. Cookie dough, however, chocked full with chocolate chips, is a much better presentation. And these days, it’s all about the presentation. I will take about five spoonfuls as I’m dropping the cookie dough onto the no-stick sheet, just enjoying the gooey mess as its sweetness makes my mouth water.

Brownie batter is a little runnier, so I just lick off the spatula, but it’s chocolate and chocolate doesn’t kill (only dogs and in high doses). Steph reminds me that there’s raw egg in the dough and batter, and sometimes she seems confused that I’ll shove raw-egg materials down my throat, but I’ll scream like a girl when I handle raw chicken.

I don’t really thinks it’s the chicken that gets me…it’s really the juice…the raw, infected juice. It almost makes me queasy.

And now that I think about it, if you want to kill me dead, just drizzle a bunch of raw chicken juice over someone’s open-back surgery.