Columns

2009.07.15 The tell-tale almond dust

on . Posted in By The Way

By DAVID GREEN

My wife is worried that I’m reverting to old behaviors established in my younger days when I was a single man living on my own.

That’s going back quite a while. It must be 27 years or so. Dates and anniversaries—it’s something you have to put your attention on and I don’t. I can tell you that the monarch caterpillars haven’t yet begun depositing eggs on the milkweed. I’ve put my attention on that.

Colleen’s concern about me comes up every now and then, most recently when she packed a lunch for a library event in Chicago.

She reached into the drawer for a plastic sandwich bag and noticed a little residue in it. It was only almond dust. I had packed my lunch that morning and included a little bag of almonds and dark chocolate chips.

I seem to be the chief washer of silverware and plastic bags in this house and I wasn’t about to wash that bag after it had a few almonds in it.

I have to admit, I never expected her to reach into the drawer just a few hours later and pull out that bag to pack a lunch. I figured I would be the next one to use it.

Or maybe she grabbed the carrot bag first. I probably went too far with this one, but the carrots were peeled and washed. They spent about three hours in the baggie before they were removed and ingested. How could you call that bag dirty?

Just by writing that last paragraph I realized the proper course of action. The bags should have been rinsed and hung on the bag drier. There was no need for hot soapy water. Just a quick rinse to remove any almond dust and perhaps to take away that tell-tale orange stain of a few carrot sticks.

That feels good. See, I’m growing in my matrimonial skills. I’m not reverting to bachelorhood after all.

Unfortunately, Colleen also brought up the problem with a food tray. If I place my lunch on a tray to take out of the kitchen, I don’t always wash it off when I’m finished. True, I will admit to that. It doesn’t always need it, but of course I’ve used that line unsuccessfully with plastic bags.

I’m always careful to think about the condition of the tray before I return it to its storage place. I brush off crumbs. I wipe off a spilled liquid if necessary. I certainly don’t place it on the counter to be washed. My obvious error here is that I haven’t been careful enough to remove all  residue.

I’m wondering if the bulk of my failings have to do with washing. My wife has had a lot of trouble with me and washed fruit. I recall that it started late last summer.

Unlike a food tray, I like to wash my fruit. Not bananas, although I live with someone who does wash bananas. Bananas are said to be notoriously dirty, but rather than wash mine, I simply keep my fingers out of my mouth.

I wash apples and pears with Dr. Bronner’s soap. Perhaps some of you are familiar with the wondrous Dr. Bronner’s All-One Magic Soap. “Absolute cleanliness is Godliness!”  “Enjoy only 2 cosmetics, enough sleep and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap to clean body-mind-soul-spirit.”

Dr. Bronner’s is something left over from bachelor days and before, but it’s also something that’s part of Colleen’s modern era. I don’t recall if she learned of Bronner’s from me or on her own.

I figure a little Dr. Bronner’s might wash off some pesticide residue from an apple or a plum, but it’s late-summer pears that pose a problem.

Picture a ripe pear in your mind. Mostly yellow but with a few brown spots. Wet the pear, add a drop of Bronner’s, rub it around and rinse. And then wipe it dry on my bath towel.

Colleen has a very large problem with brown stains on a bath towel. It doesn’t bother me. I know it’s just a little pear residue. I like pears. Take a look at all the shampoos and skin washes that my daughters use. Those items are supposedly full of food, judging by the labels.

With the kids gone away and Colleen nearly living at the library during the busy summer reading weeks, I’m spending a lot of time alone. Perhaps I really am reverting to former years. Maybe I’ll just rinse out that bowl from breakfast tomorrow and use it again at lunch. And then at dinner.

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