01 June 2011

As we reach for the smaller fork

No recipe this week. In fact, there's small chance of anything of substance at all this week.

Work is full of large piles of paper to be pushed around. Faithful followers of the continuing saga that is The Belfry will recall last summer's angst-inducing performance of 'The Giant Ball of Stress: An Historical Tragicomedy in 3 or More Acts.' The sequel, 'Revenge of the Son of the Giant Ball of Stress,' is now in rehearsals.

Memorial Day weekend did wonders for reducing my faith in the essential goodness of my fellow man. Not for most of the usual reasons, but from the bombardment of telephone calls from 'charities' looking to raise funds to 'support the veterans, you know, Miz Viking, especially on Memorial Day.'1 I stopped answering the phone, and then some of them left voicemail.

And, of course, it has been hotter than the proverbial blue blazes around here, which never does anything much for my desire to accomplish more than lie around drinking iced tea until 5, and rickeys after that.

Yet the Viking still wants to eat. So I make salads, of whatever vegetables are at hand, washed, chopped if necessary, piled on a plate, dressed with the barest bit of vinaigrette. If he is lucky, the Viking gets a bit of cold sliced meat or crumbled cheese on his.

I am trying not to think too hard about the E. coli outbreaks in Europe, though with headlines screaming things like 'Killer Cucumber' Bug From Spain Hits Britain it's hard to ignore. The strain is suspected to be O104:H21, which is rarer than O157, the usual bugbear in the U.S.

'Killer cucumber' sounds like something out of a video game; indeed it is something out of a video game.

Cruelcumber, on Photobucket

That's a 'Cruelcumber' from Dragon Quest IX, a lighthearted -- and really excellent -- RPG for the Nintendo DS gaming system.

What makes the current European outbreak much scarier than a spear-wielding cucumber, though, is that the bacteria seem to have contaminated the tissue of the vegetables; they're not just on the surface and washing won't help. A similar kind of contamination is thought to have occurred in the spinach-linked 2006 E. coli outbreak in the U.S.

Salad looks less appealing, somehow.

1Anytime anyone calls me 'Mrs Viking,' it's a sign that all the chumminess is artificial.
Joanie Mackowski

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