The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How am I not dead?

clearlyanidiot's picture

How am I not dead?

Mixing bowls crossed my mind the other day and thinking back to what Grandma used to use. As soon as she was old enough to help in the kitchen she did and had the responsibility of baking from age 10 onwards.

After getting married for most of her professional life she worked in a hospital cafeteria and was well acquainted with stringent foodsafe requirements. Even at home everything was always immaculate, except for one thing; She never washed her dough mixing bowl. Dairy, eggs, etc all went into dough she made every week. Once the dough was out the bowl. The bowl was allowed to dry and then a quick scrape into the garbage for anything still remaining and back into the storage cupboard it went for the same procedure next week.

After taking the provincial foodsafe course myself (and briefly) working in a commercial environment where anything containing egg was immediately washed up after and sanitized (more-so than for non-dairy, non-egg containing products.)

I know of the potential hazards of raw, unpasturized eggs. I'm just wondering given how germophobic society can be that somehow an unwashed bowl didn't kill everyone.

deblacksmith's picture

Where did grandma's eggs come from, home grown on the farm, or local from the farm.  Most likely very safe.  Even today in Japan they eat a lot of raw eggs, or least eggs are nearly raw.  No problem becasue the hens are not infected.  Also in your grandma's case all of the bread was cooked reducing the likelyhood of any problem.  (Infected eggs can still leave a toxin even if cooked, but not a high likelyhood in Grandma's kitchen.

clearlyanidiot's picture

At the time I'm thinking of (after she retired) it was mostly store bought eggs. Then again there are people that will make homemade mayonnaise with unpasturized eggs.


T. Fargo's picture
T. Fargo

   There are assumptions made that any of the eggs that were used in those recipes contained salmonella or any other dangerous bacteria (e.g. Listeria).  If they were fresh and kept refrigerated, chances are slim for contamination.  That being said, any bacteria need a warm moist environment to survive.  Allowing the bowl to dry is a good practice, and certainly better than bleaching it (last I checked, bleach supposedly tastes nasty...).  Of course, the best practice would be to use a non-porous, food grade plastic or steel bowl and washing it afterward, and like your experience this was never the case at my grandparents house either.  "If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger." was the mentality in those days, but having lived through two bouts of food poisoning, I can assure you it merely changes your character.  BTW, I got the illness from vegetables once and beef the other, but that's another story.

  I love eggs.  I adore them.  They are one of the first food I learned to cook; scrambled, poached, graved, soft or hard boiled, coddled, baked, pickled - you name it, eggs are good eats.  Pasteurized eggs serve a purpose, I have no use for them after attempting to use them on a couple of occasions, however.  (Don't ever try to make a meringue with pasteurized eggs, just sayin') Cesar dressing and mayo is about the only place I can think of I would use them, but I tend to get really fresh eggs from a non-dubious farm so I have shelved the whole idea of them.  As far as mayonnaise goes, if there is enough acid in it the bacteria won't do well there either.

  Interesting research here

Young healthy adults have a far less chance to contract food borne illness in comparison to the very young or elderly, so I tell a colleague of mine who insists his unsanitary food storage habits (he's told me horror story's) won't hurt HIM.  He has a young son I worry about.  Maybe he'll consider that a good enough reason.

chris-sheffield's picture

I dont wash any of my pans except for the stainless ones because they often get a fond on the bottom that doesn't always deglaze.  Cast iron gets a dry brush for caked on materials, a wipe, then a light oil.  Non stick gets a quick rinse in warm water and a gentle wipe from a soft towel.  I have made mayo using unpasteurized eggs from store.  I dont recommend it but I have.  Mostly my eggs come from a neighbor though.  As for your grandmas bowls, anything dry doesnt harbor bacteria.  Drying food is a way to preserve even.  So if she dried and scraped there is no worry especially from a bread that reaches 200 degrees in the center before finishing.