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Hunker Down with Kes

If We All Had The Constitution Of Mr. Newbill...

Posted 8/11/20

This Covid-19 thing has spawned more ideas than you can shake a stick at. Some of them can leave you shaking your head…Take the new “contactless” food service being offered by …

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Hunker Down with Kes

If We All Had The Constitution Of Mr. Newbill...


This Covid-19 thing has spawned more ideas than you can shake a stick at. Some of them can leave you shaking your head…

Take the new “contactless” food service being offered by restaurants, corner eateries and national chains for instance. I can understand the concept. You order and pay by phone; the meal is delivered to the car, doorstep or underground bunker of your choosing boxed, hot and ready for consumption.

The idea here is the consumer can take comfort, and eat heartily, knowing the food has not been touched by human hands. It appears fool proof. Safe. Un-Contagious. And you have to admit, it’s pretty ingenious in light of the current circumstances.

But I do have a couple of questions. How do you break that first egg without a smidgeon of contact? Can you “pat out” a hamburger with just a spatula and a large mayonnaise lid? Is there a way to test for proper seasoning in the tomato sauce without touching it to somebody’s tongue?

Oh, they are wearing gloves you say! Well, here’s what the gloves do—it makes it impossible for the wearer to know how sticky or contaminated things are after they have opened the refrigerator door, laid their hands on the counter, scratched their face, retied a shoe, picked a loose leaf of lettuce off the floor...

And statistically speaking, 85.7 per cent of rubber glove wearers blow on them to create the space needed to easily slide their hands inside.

Listen, it gets deeper. The various TV commercials hawking the new service say “contactless” like, perhaps it is a novel idea. That begs further investigation that has my stomach on edge. It suggests, if not overtly, at least sublimely, that all sorts of “contact” has been made in the past.

Boy howdy, that will send you on a gastronomical journey!

Any person considering their “eating out” history must ask themselves the five basic questions pertaining to “food contact”: who, what, when, where and how! And gosh, when you start considering all the joints you’ve ordered food in over the past half century or so…

In 1973 I asked for the “manager’s special” in the only diner open past midnight in Post, Texas. They had a velvet picture of Elvis nailed to the back wall. There was more than a dash of sawdust on the floor. And the waitress was a dead ringer for the heroine in the “Creature From the Black Lagoon.”

The jukebox played “Now and Then There’s a Fool Such As I” while I waited for my food. The cook came through drinking something murky out of a dirty Styrofoam cup and smoking a cigarette as he headed for the bathroom. I don’t remember if he was wearing gloves or not. An Australian Blue Heeler drifted in just as the faux movie star dropped the hash in front of me.

I was afraid I might offend Elvis if I didn’t eat it all.

I don’t think this is the first time something “fishy” is going on in the food industry. We all remember the fast food place a few years back publicly announcing that “from now on” they were going to use real chicken in their nuggets. Me and the rest of the known world immediately thought, “Just exactly what had they been serving us before in their ‘semi-chicken’ nuggets!”

Wasn’t there another chain about the same time that proudly declared—like it was doing us a favor—they were going to start using 100 per cent beef in all their sandwiches…

Thank God for the City Café.

We didn’t have to worry about the food there. Big Jim Stavely ran a tight ship. And Miss Cora treated us like grownups when she came over to take our order.

We’d see the men drifting in and out of the kitchen while we waited for our food. Big Jim did some other type business back there in-between cooking cheeseburgers. Most every customer at the counter was enjoying a cigarette with their coffee. Miss Cora would laugh all over your food as she finished her favorite story about the time Bill Newbill came in for a chicken salad sandwich.

It seems ole Bill had enjoyed a drink or two when he decided he was hungry. Maybe he’d had more than two. He ate the entire sandwich in silence, including the two toothpicks with the orange foil on the tip!

Bill never seemed any “worse for wear.” But there was definitely contact—which I don’t think we can blame on the present coronavirus…




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