I have been meaning to post about all manner of things—from thoughts on the underwear bomber to an essay on the futility of worrying. Every time I get the germ of an idea, the “cares of the world” sweep it out of my mind, and then I seem to miss the window of relevance and bag the whole idea. But this thread of “food” posts meshes very nicely with something that happened at the café today, so I’m going to bang this one out before I lose it.
I got a call from the County Health Department today. The Health Inspector. Following up on a complaint that had been called in against us. (Let me just say for the record that we received a 100% on our last health inspection, so it’s not like there’s a whole array of glaring violations for folks to choose from around here… )
This particular complainant was concerned about our home-made baked goods, which we display under glass far away from nasty hands or sneezes. And we handle only with tissue pick-ups or tongs when serving to any guest. But how we handle the product was not the issue. The insidious means by which we are poisoning the community is—
CREAM CHEESE ICING.
We make our own cream cheese icing. We use butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, and a little dash of half and half to make it spreadable. What are we thinking?
Cream cheese, being a dairy product, can be categorized as a high-risk food. Which should not, by state health law, be kept for more than four hours in the “danger zone” of temperature range—that is, warmer than 41 degrees or cooler than 165 degrees. So the fact that we keep our lovely pumpkin bars, cinnamon rolls and gingerbread in our un-refrigerated pastry case is, evidently, a BIG no-no.
No matter that we have been serving these things under these conditions for three years, and no one has ever gotten sick off our cream cheese icing. Nor, because of the high sugar content of the icing, are they likely to. And it’s not like they sit in there for days. We put them out fresh each morning, and generally run out before the end of the day.
So now, we have to keep our lovely baked goods in the refrigerator, since we do not have a refrigerated display case. Sales of these wholesome made-from-scratch goodies will now dry up and blow away. Eventually we’ll probably have to stop making them altogether.
And do you know what the sad thing is?
If we used some kind of crappy, factory-made institutional white “mystery icing,” full of chemicals and preservatives and who knows what not all…
We would not be having any issue at all with the local Health Department.
Doesn’t that just make you want to scream?