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You Might Be Getting More Than You Wanted On That Pizza 
Posted on February 6, 2009 at 12:43 PM.
Yesterday, I stepped out of the train and in front of me was my favorite pizza shop in my neighborhood. So, I walk in, order two slices, and wait by the counter. Now, like most pizza shops, a doughnut shop here and there, and maybe even a chinese restaurant, you get a first-person view of the cooking.

I watched as the Italian and Mexican men behind the counter handled crunchy dollar bills, scum-infested quarters, and extended their hands for friendly handshakes with people I'm sure coughed into their hand less than a minute ago. I then saw one of the men step to a back counter and begin pounding a large piece of dough with his bare hands. When he was done, he grabbed a slice with those same bare hands and placed it in the oven. When that was done, he grabbed that slice with his hand, placed in on a plate, into a bag, and told me how much it cost. I gave him my two dollars, thanked him, and walked out.

Then it hit me. As I grabbed the slice out of the bag, I began to inspect it. Was I looking for hair? Dirt? Something disgusting? I don't know. I quickly stopped, perhaps fearing that I would find something. Kind of like going to a doctor when you're sick...or not going. "If I go, they'll find something wrong with me, and it'll be terrible." Did I really want to continue inspecting my pizza? If I found some grime or residue, what will it do to my appetite? And, man, this really is some good pizza. I take a bite.

The thought never escapes me. As I continue taking bite after bite, quickly examining the pizza before my teeth rip a piece away, I begin to wonder if there are other foods I eat handled by bare hands. No. I can't think of anything. At least, not anything I get to see, and even if I don't see the food being cooked, everyone is walking around with gloves somewhere on their pocket. Surely, they use them. So, why not a pizza shop?

What makes pizza immune to disease? I certainly can't think of the last time someone told me they became sick over a slice of pizza. Ok, maybe they shouldn't have had the mushrooms with that slice, or maybe they really shouldn't have attempted to eat two pies, but that's your own fault, right?

Over the past couple of months, even years, we've received news on e-coli affecting the food we eat. Even salmonella has somehow gotten into our peanut butter. No PB&J for you, Little Johnny. Yet, somehow, even with pizza being handled by men wearing dirty aprons, no gloves, and a questionable smile that would make Mario jealous, not once have I read or heard of anyone legitimately getting sick off a slice of pizza. What's the deal?

Let's dwell into this a little further. Why am I now curious about this? How is it that my mother, or friends, or teachers, or even scientists, have not commented on this phenomena. And no, not the single phenomena of not getting sick off of pizza, but instead that all pizza makers are breaking a world general rule: you cook people's food with gloves on.

Little Johnny really wants his peanut butter.

Countless times, I have stepped into a restaurant and people have commented on the overall look and cleanliness of the place. Even the workers should be in tip-top appearance, otherwise, you risk the possibility that someone might leave, disgusted with your place of business. But, can anyone admit to me that Louie, or Frank, or Big Ed, those lovable pizza makers you know around the corner, are the cleanest guys you've ever met? You might even admit they could rival that neighbor that always comes over for the big game. You know, the guy that seems to never stop wearing that same gray sweatshirt with the stain that seems to grow every time you take a look at it. That guy.

It's almost socially acceptable. The pizza guy doesn't wear gloves and he handles everything around him with the very same hands he pounds my dough with every day. It's beginning to make you wonder now, right? You might even start looking around, try to figure out what other things he might have touched on his way to your amazing slice with the pepperoni, sausage, little bit of oregano, and just the right amount of marinara sauce. Mmmm. Sure sounds good, huh? Might check it a little harder. You might find some Shigella sprinkled over the bread too.
# 1 rspencer86 @ Feb 6
Haha, great thought-provoking post, YP. Pizza must have some magic anti-viral properties.
# 2 ChubbyBanana @ Feb 12
I love the last line. Brilliant!

You should be a writer
# 3 Valdarez @ Dec 19
Most food canneries are allowed a certain amount of insect per tonnage of their food as there is no way they can keep all insects out. At a bread factory I worked at in my late teens, there was a milk bin (that was really corn syrup and mold inhibitor) and it constantly had flies in it that you'd just turn the ogger on to spin/tear 'em up so you couldn't see 'em. Yeah. You're definitely getting more than what's on the label of ANYTHING you buy whether canned, manufactured, or prepared 'fresh'. Bon appetit!
# 4 CMH @ Dec 23
What the hey! I didn't want to know that.

But I am inspired to write more thought provoking blogs.
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