Thursday, December 05, 2013

canadian hand lotion

That is what a couple of Mexican waiters in Melaque call it.

Those little squeeze bottles filled with hand sanitizer that are whipped out with the regularity of a Muslim call to prayer.  Looking as if a group of elderly cruise ship passengers have been marooned in town.

The waiters put the national adjective on their little joke only because they do not see a wide assortment of Americans in town.  If they did, those bottles would be called northern hand lotion.

At times coming north is like entering a foreign culture.  At least, foreign to me.

Yesterday I stopped at a grocery store and was a bit bemused that each customer seemed to have a hanky to wipe off the shopping cart handle.  I first thought they were simply kleenexing away the moisture of melted snow.

But I was wrong.  They were getting their "hankies" from this stand.  Sanitary wipes says the sign.  The cloth cousins of the little squeeze bottle.

I can only guess the cause of this odd ablution.  I seem to recall that a study showed grocery cart handles were a veritable petri dish of germs.  And I don't doubt it. 

But the sanitary wipes seem to be about as effective as TSA agents at the airport.  Because the same hands that have been polluting the cart handle are the same hands that have been fondling the food that we take home and chop up in our salads. 

We just don't like to think about how difficult it is to remove hand grease from tomatoes or lettuce.  Let alone those slug trails.

Having said that, I am rather jealous of the produce that shows up in American markets.  Take a look at these offerings.

Within the perimeter of this photograph are several items I cannot buy in my part of Mexico.  Boutique cheeses.  Sweet onions.  And not to mention the greatest prize of all -- heirloom tomatoes for Greek and summer salads.

The tradeoff is that most of the vegetables and fruit I get in my local Mexican market taste far better than the remainder of the produce at Fred Meyer.

But nothing can match the taste of those heirloom tomatoes.  Whether or not they have been sanitized.

They really will be something I miss when I head south next week.

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