Years ago while working at a big box distribution center that starts with the letter “C”, my department was getting ready to have a little Christmas potluck. Everyone brought something and you could smell the delectable scents leaking out of the crock pots and you could see the fabulous spread of brownies, fudge, cake and candy on the tables and counters. But the number one thing that caught my eye that day was the chicken cookies.
You see we had a person in our department who wandered aimlessly though life, one of those happy, care-free people that don’t have a clue. She was a sweet girl but she made awful food and many people in the department claimed they had gotten sick after eating what she made.
Now let me back up the bus a bit. A few weeks prior to the party this person was complaining that she had an awful smell in her kitchen and she couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. She told us stories day after day about going through cabinets, cleaning out the refrigerator and checking every
place she could think of. She had come to the conclusion that maybe a mouse had died within her walls. She was really stressed out about the smell.
The day of the party she came to work all smiles with her plate of festive sugar cookies covered in green and red sprinkles. They were even on a
Christmas plate with plastic-wrap over the top to keep them fresh. After setting the cookies on the table she came over where a few of us were drinking coffee
and discussing the plans for the day.
Filled with excitement she told us, “I figured out where the smell was coming from when I went to make the cookies last night. About a month ago I made chicken and I left a chicken leg in the flour canister and it rotted, that’s what the horrible smell was!”
She then gave us a big smile and walked away as I choked on my coffee. You see, this lovely girl didn’t have a clue that when making chicken you were supposed to remove flour from the canister, use what you needed for the chicken and then to throw the excess away. Nope, she didn’t have a clue.
When I discussed it with her (in private) I asked her about her methods she explained that she didn’t want to waste flour so she just used the same flour she dipped her raw meat into for cookies or anything else she baked. I was mortified but explained to her about salmonella poisoning and safe food handling.
Even though my job description said nothing about speaking to people regarding this type of thing I felt it was completely necessary that she was made aware. She smiled her clueless little smile and walked away after the conversation.
At break time, when the room cleared on that day and at every pot-luck from that day forward, I threw away a portion of whatever she brought. For
starters I didn’t want half of my staff to be sick with food poisoning but the majority of the reason I did it was because I knew no one in the department was
going to take her food and I knew she would be hurt. Yes she was clueless and maybe even an idiot but she didn’t deserve to have her feelings hurt over a plate of cookies.
The moral of the story: when you begin your holiday parties this year, beware of the chicken cookies! And if you see food that no one is taking, take some but don’t eat it. Secretly fold it up in a napkin and throw it away. And if you are the spouse of a bad cook, never ever take food back home that your wife made for your function, she would be devastated. Throw it away at work and tell her “it was gone in the blink of an eye.” You won’t be telling a lie and then you won’t be stuck eating it at home, it’s a win-win for everyone. If you are the mother of a chicken-cookie maker, SHAME on you! It was your job to teach
the rights and wrongs in the kitchen. We don’t need a world full of Paula Deans but raising a decent cookie maker should be a requirement.
I’m done with my rant now and so happy to see that my childhood friend Jackie Welter-Mayne has hopped aboard. When we were young she wasn’t into
swearing so when something bad would happen she would say, “Shoot a boot!” I still say that sometimes. My cousin Kelli VanReeth is also along for the bus
ride. I remember one year she got REAL diamond earrings for Christmas from her parents. Because diamonds are a girl’s best friend she wanted to make sure they were REAL and proceeded to scratch up the bathroom mirror. Those were the good old days.
I love you guys!!!!