Restaurants are the second best invention since a bologna sandwich; however, over the years many have gotten a bad rap for being unsanitary and providing patrons with food that has passed the “best-serve” date. Restaurants are a great convienence. They’re always there when we’re not in the mood to cook, or when we realize we may have forgotton to defrost something for dinner.
Regardless, just about everyone loves restaurants. Whether it’s fast food, a quick place to sit down to grab a sandwich or even a fancy 4-star establishment; there’s always some comfort to be had when we sit down and wait to be served.
Most people tend to overlook the things we don’t see. You know. If you don’t see it, it never happened. Most times you’ll never know something went astray when you’re eating at a restaurant until you read about an incident either on the news or internet.
The Subway Saga
One evening several years back, my honey and I decided to get some Subway. There was no one there at the time we went, but when we walked in we were greeted by this woman who was sweeping the floor. As we’re standing looking at the menu, she puts down her broom, washes her hands and puts on her gloves.
We tell her what we want and she starts making the food. All of a sudden, she had to lean over my sandwich to grab my pickles and her chest that was hidden behind a nasty, dirty, dusty apron, made it’s way over my turkey sub and made contact with the bread.
I swear, I was ready to puke at that moment. I looked at my boyfriend and he looked at me, and at the same time, we both said, “Thank you we changed our mind” and bolted out the door.
There are so many disgustingly gross things that happen at a restaurant that most of us aren’t aware of. Unfortunately, you can’t control or prepare for those mishaps. The good news is, with these tips I’m about to share with you, you’ll learn what to avoid while eating out at a restaurant.
3 Things you should avoid like the plague at a restaurant
Here are some super gross things you should avoid the next time you go to a restaurant. As a point of reference, grossness happens at all types of restaurants, regardless if you’re paying $50 for 2 ounces of Chilian sea bass or just getting an $8 turkey sub with a side of dust and dirt.
Lemon and Limes in your drinks.
Lemons and limes are pretty much staples when it comes to the restaurant industry. They serve lemons and limes as a garnish and who doesn’t love a nice lemon wedge on our iced tea, water glass or cocktail? Let’s not forget about a lime wedged shoved in the bottleneck of your Corona.
There’s something you need to consider and a few things you may be overlooking when it comes to the adorable lemon and lime.
If you’re looking to plunk a lemon or lime wedge in your water, tea, or cocktail, you may want to think twice before doing so. There’s a slight chance you can possibly get sick from that lemon or lime wedge.
Why do you put lemon or lime in your water?
Is it because it’s refreshing, or do you find it to have some sort of health benefit? I’ve been told lemon water is also used to treat an upset stomach. For me, I’ll just stick with Pepto Bismol.
How is a lemon or lime wedge typically served?
If you said, it’s served with the peel on then you just won the prize. Ding, ding, ding, that’s right Johnny, tell this lovely lady what she just won!
Now, I’m not saying every restaurant doesn’t wash and scrub the outer skin of the lemon or lime before cutting them up, but odds are in our favor; most don’t.
So now, let’s ponder this. When they cut the lemon or lime and they didn’t wash it; what knife did they use? Was it the same knife they used to cut some chicken? Was it the same knife they wiped off on their chef apron?
Did the fruit cutter, prepper or whatever their title is, wear gloves when they were cutting the lemon or lime?
Did the lemon or lime roll off the table and land in a spider’s web? Last I checked both of those are oblong and oblong and round things like to roll off tables.
Did you happen to notice your server leave the restroom before digging their hands in the lemon or lime dish at the bar for your water with their fingers?
Do you see where I’m heading? I’m heading down the, “never put lemon or lime in your water highway”. That’s on the crossroad of sour puker road and disgust lane.
Just remember, lemons and limes are considered a “ready-to-eat” fruit – same as an apple. Which means they go right from the servers hand to your drink.
On a scientific note
Think I’m crazy? Well, technically, I am. According to a study that was published in the Journal of Environmental Health, researchers swabbed the outer peel of lemons, as well as, the flesh of the lemon that was sitting on the rims of restaurant glasses.
During this study, they checked to see if there were any microscopic pathogens on the flesh and peel. Get this. They tested 76 lemons from 21 restaurants and found 69.7% of the lemons had pathogens on them.
If you want to read the journal article without me highlighting the good stuff, click the above-highlighted link of the journal. If you want to see the parts I highlighted then you’ll want to click here.
Here’s a fun health fact
According to that journal article, lemon juice has even been shown to be useful as an anti-HIV agent when applied to lady parts.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can run an entire lemon on your hootch. Man, that would burn something fierce (probably like the peppermint body wash I bought one year). Anyway, it’s just good to know and it may make for a great discussion at your next “mommy and me” class.
Seriously though, who comes up with these ideas to even test this sort of stuff?
So, when it comes to lemons and limes
Don’t ask for lemons in your water and limes in your Corona.
The basket full of bread or rolls
There’s nothing better than having a basket full of hot steamy honey-infused rolls delivered to your table. What you may not realize is, there’s not a baker in the backroom baking those rolls specifically for you. There’s a good chance the rolls that were brought to you, were left behind at another patrons table.
I’m not saying all restaurants do this, and the ones that do, should be reported to the health department; however, how do you really know? You don’t. It’s really a chance you’re gonna have to take.
If a restaurant does this, how do you know the patron before you didn’t touch it? Maybe they were sick, sneezed on it or have a communicable disease.
You can’t just blame the poor slob that got up from the table next to with a plateful of leftover Chicken Parmigiana as the culprit of the cootie laced bread. The biggest culprit of mishandling the complimentary bread basket is the person who delivered it to your table.
Who you are no doubt going to tip. Doesn’t it make you all warm and fuzzy inside knowing you gave money to the person who caused you to get sick?
Most cases of restaurant acquired food poisoning come from improper hand hygiene from the restaurant staff and not from the food itself. Some employees do it on purpose (as noted in the Angelo story above). Some don’t really have a clue why there are signs in the bathroom stating, “All employees must wash hands”. Some may think it’s purely decorative.
Look at it this way. If you don’t eat the complimentary bread, you’re cutting out a bunch of unnecessary calories or not cheating on the Keto diet.
Salty snacks from the bar and why you should never eat them
This part is mostly for your honey unless you enjoy throwing back a few brewskies at the local pub while watching football, baseball or whatever people watch when they’re getting drunk.
You should never eat any snacks from the community snack bowl. Even if the bartender just filled the bowl, your hands aren’t the first ones to enter it.
Think about how many other people were at the restaurant before you.
Although I haven’t been able to find scientific research to back this up, the internet is full of articles stating nut bowls are full of urine and fecal matter. While I don’t doubt that at all, I’m unable to verify the validity of this claim without scientific proof.
I did find this one article that claimed Johnny Depp had scientific proof, but honestly, how much validity does Captain Jack Sparrow hold when it comes to food safety?
With that said, just think about it. It seems very logical when you consider a lot of people don’t wash their hands after using the toilet. Some will even pick their nose, then shove their hands in the snack bowl, throw some cash at someone. We all know how dirty cash is.
If that’s not gross enough, did you know if the nuts, chips or pretzels are still in the bowl by the end of the day, all the salty snacks get poured back into the communal snack tub ready to put out again the next day? I learned this tasty little morsel a few years back.
Regardless, if there’s scientific proof or not, stay clear of the communal snack bowl.
So there you have it. There are probably more than 3 utterly disgusting things you should avoid when you eat at a restaurant, but since these were the 3 most prevalent ones, I felt it was my duty to fill you in on that tasty nugget of truth.
Tell me something gross that you either witness or experienced when dining out at a restaurant. Share in a comment below.
Until we meet again,