2013-02-14 / Lifestyles

The ick factor

Lois A. Corcoran

He paused for a moment while eating cake with his friends. I glanced up to see my son reel in from its depths an 8-inch strand of hair. Same color and length as mine, so two guesses where it came from.

When he held it up for all to see, I felt like dropping through the laundry chute. Nevertheless, the boys finished their dessert, undaunted by the ick factor.

A gal relayed how she once found a whole clump of hair in her cereal. Not only does she no longer eat that brand, she can’t stomach watching others swallow it either.

Likewise, a woman who spied a knot of hair in her fast food potatoes lost her appetite. “I wanted my money back, but instead they gave me more fries,” she said.

Anyone working with food, including yours truly, should wear her hair back, although that may not solve the problem. I heard about a restaurant patron who found a hair net in his meatloaf.

Vegetarians aren’t immune, either. Salads provide a home for all sorts of foreign bodies. One diner found a caterpillar among her lettuce leaves. The cafe replaced it —the salad, not the bug—but she couldn’t bring herself to eat it.

Not everyone feels that way, of course. When a patron at a small country inn discovered a live slug in his salad, he removed the little dickens and continued eating, to the amusement of his companions. He’s quick to add that, “Some local wine had been consumed up to that point.”

Still another guy found a worm in some apple cider his relatives made. After consuming a good portion, there was little he could do about the surprise visitor. “At least with tequila you expect it,” he said.

A former employee of a greasy spoon recalls having to fish dead flies out of the iced cappucino machine each summer. This effectively convinced him to drink alternate beverages.

“One time I found an acrylic nail in my enchilada,” a woman relayed. Paranoia set in later when she watched a hired hand with a broken fingernail prepare her sub sandwich, especially since it fell off before the worker finished.

To avoid this, many restaurants require employees to wear plastic gloves now. But unless they don fresh ones for each customer, I’m left to wonder what they touched in between.

The ick factor thrives on imagination.

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