Too Much Touching Of Food?!

Decorating By flamingobaker Updated 5 Nov 2009 , 10:28pm by just_for_fun

flamingobaker Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 4:54pm
post #1 of 52

I'm curious about other's reactions to something that has been rolling around in my mind for awhile. (lots of room to roll in there icon_wink.gif )

A non caker was talking to me about how much she likes to watch the cake shows (Challenge, Ace, etc) Then she said:
"The cakes are really beautiful but how could you eat it? I can only take so much manipulation of my food." (my italics)

And then recently I read someone's comment on here about some cakes being more like "crafts".

I didn't say anything to my friend because frankly I was caught off guard. Never thought about that before.

Are we touching too much?
Are we losing skills?

51 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 5:02pm
post #2 of 52

I bake bread, cinnamon rolls, bread sticks, pizza, pan dulce, empanadas, ect...

All of those things involve about as much touching as a fondant cake. My hands are clean, my kitchen is clean, it's not a big deal to me.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 5:13pm
post #3 of 52

Cake decorating is a craft/art done mainly by using your hands - how can you not touch?!

-K8memphis Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 5:13pm
post #4 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by flamingobaker

...
Are we touching too much?
Are we losing skills?




Loosing skills? I'm nost sure what you mean. We're displaying skills on tv--what do you mean by loosing them, like piping or something where you don't touch the icing?

I dont' think we're touching too much--I mean check out the folks in the fine dining places.

Not to mention getting the hamburger out of the cattle takes a ton of 'touching'. It just would not be pretty to serve it otherwise yes?

majka_ze Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 5:25pm
post #5 of 52

Flamingobaker, for the non caker who can only take so much manipulation of their food - they are lucky not to know how much "manipulation of the food" the food industry brings...

As for cake decorating being craft - I am not really unhappy about this. My cakes are craft - meaning it needs skill you can learn. There are some/many artists here. I don't belong among them. I wasn't given the gift for colors, for forms. My cakes are still hit and miss. I will be happy to learn the craft well.
I am slowly getting where I can reproduce a cake without obvious mistakes and flaws or reproduce an object (toy, picture etc.) in cake. I don't think I can train myself enough to be real artist with gift for good/stunning design ideas.


You can see it here on CC - some newbies make beautiful cakes. You see flaws and newbie mistakes, because they didn't learn "the craft" yet, but the cake all in all is stunning.

Bluehue Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 5:33pm
post #6 of 52

I don't think anyone WANTS to actually *touch* a cake more than they have too -

Did you mention that gloves are worn alot by many, and it isn't always bare hands touching the cake?


More concerning is all the people at salad bars that icon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gif me -
I DON'T DO SALAD BARS - *shudder* - all those toilet hands - icon_cry.gif

Bluehue

indydebi Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 5:36pm
post #7 of 52

Salad bars, commercial buffets, smorgasbords, and anyplace that has a "all you can eat for $4.99" deal ..... all make me nervous. Locally, the $4.99 lunch deal place has a high number of HD violations (per the local paper). As I explained to my daughter, "When you have a cheap meal, then you're not making a lot of profit, which means you are cutting costs wherever you can, which means you are running the place with a skeleton staff, which means there is too much work for each person to do, which means some stuff isn't getting done, which means shortcuts, which means lack of proper cleaning, which means HD violations."

grandmom Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 5:44pm
post #8 of 52

Our mothers and their mothers made our biscuits, pies, breads and everything else with their hands. Their hands likely were clean. My hands are clean. I make biscuits, pies, breads and everything else using those clean hands. That type of touching of food doesn't bother me.

What does bother me is watching Ace of Cakes and seeing Geoff carrying his fondant bundle around in his arms like a baby. Granted, in that episode, his red bundle of fondant was not going to be consumed, it was to cover a "building" not made of cake. But the open disregard of food as food on those shows bothers me.

Mike1394 Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 5:47pm
post #9 of 52

Of course we all wear gloves when that cake comes out of the oven don't we.

Mike

Win Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 5:49pm
post #10 of 52

I think I understand what the friend is saying. My husband watches hairy-armed men (I know, women can be hairy too) take the huge sheets of fondant up to their elbows and lay them over cakes. He remarks that he does not see how you can't get hair into the fondant that way. Many people comment on the hair that is falling into the faces of those who make cake on challenges. Yes, a lot of gloves are worn, but it's not often one sees gloves up to the elbows. icon_biggrin.gif Of course, we know hair can fall off your clothes (no matter how hard one tries to keep from it) into any medium whether it's buttercream, fondant, bread dough, etc. Are we handing food too much? I don't see how you cannot handle food in order to perfect it. I did think it was interesting to note; however, that last year on Amazing Wedding Cakes, the only shop that held their hair back was Cake Divas, and this year all but Christopher Garren's wore head gear that restrained their hair. And, does anyone else think it MORE gross to see sweaty chefs dripping into their food as seen on challenges like Chopped, Iron Chef, and Top Chef? Gag.

indydebi Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 5:55pm
post #11 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Win

And, does anyone else think it MORE gross to see sweaty chefs dripping into their food as seen on challenges like Chopped, Iron Chef, and Top Chef? Gag.


Saw that on Hell's Kitchen a couple of times. Oh. My. God.

Kavrena Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 5:57pm
post #12 of 52

Being a former culinairy student, this was always sa "hot topic". Gloves are used mainly in plating but not always in preparing a meal. It is presumed that a chef's hands are clean at all times. Many people will not it food that is "fussy" or looks like it has been handled too much. What we do is an art and should be treated as such. I personnaly do not know or have not here of an artist who does not "touch" their work. I think people are just way to picky.

herdream Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 6:07pm
post #13 of 52

This is too funny because while taking Wilton course 3 at Michaels, a lady shopping in the store just decides to walk into class, and stand right next to me watching while I was kneeding fondant to cover my cake with. She looks right at me and says "Wow, everything is so hand made", and made a weird face.
I never thought that may be a turn off for some until that day. But thats where the intricatcies come into play. Machines cannot generate the types of masterpieces that we can with our hands! icon_biggrin.gif

snowboarder Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 6:11pm
post #14 of 52

I get what the friend is saying because to tell you the truth, now that I know how much handling (or crafting, whatever you want to call it) goes into decorating the more elaborate cakes, it sort of gives me pause when it comes to eating them. I'm not saying it's rational, but nevertheless it's just one of those personal things that makes me think I'd rather have one of those cookies over there instead of a piece of cake. It's also one of the reasons why I simplified my decorating style.

Ok that last part isn't true. I just don't like decorating.

flamingobaker Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 6:12pm
post #15 of 52

I KNOW hands are clean and/or gloved. And I know about all the hidden germs. But, for example, she is looking at it as going right from "manipulate, squeeze, mold" to being eaten. Cookies, rolls, are cooked in between.

And by skills I guess I do mean piping.
Yes, leveling and fondanting (is that a word?) a cake takes skill and practice, but after that, cutting out strips and dots and flowers does not.

essence706 Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 6:17pm
post #16 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Win

And, does anyone else think it MORE gross to see sweaty chefs dripping into their food as seen on challenges like Chopped, Iron Chef, and Top Chef? Gag.

Saw that on Hell's Kitchen a couple of times. Oh. My. God.




YES! Every time my DH and I watch those shows it makes us shudder to think of the "extra" salt that's being dripped into the food from their faces. Yuck.

grandmom Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 6:20pm
post #17 of 52

flamingobaker,

Yes, piping takes skill and steady hands (some of us don't have that steady hand anymore), plus an artful (is that a word?) eye to know what to pipe where. That same artful eye for shape, color, size, space is required for a pleasing arrangement of fondant shapes.

It's all art, just different medium.

-K8memphis Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 6:20pm
post #18 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by flamingobaker

I KNOW hands are clean and/or gloved. And I know about all the hidden germs. But, for example, she is looking at it as going right from "manipulate, squeeze, mold" to being eaten. Cookies, rolls, are cooked in between.

And by skills I guess I do mean piping.
Yes, leveling and fondanting (is that a word?) a cake takes skill and practice, but after that, cutting out strips and dots and flowers does not.




Cutting strips and dots and flowers does too take skill and practice.

And after the cookies are baked they are never again touched by human hands? they magically dance off the sheet trays and blablabla...

Your friend is getting on my nerves. icon_biggrin.gif

Ok look. Your vegetables sit out in the weather where rodents walk and where birds poop on them--salad anyone?

sadsmile Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 7:48pm
post #19 of 52

I don't like peoples hands all over food either. I don't care if you just washed them. Most people do not ever wash their hands correctly. You are supposed to have sudsy soap and vigorously scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds and rinse under running water. Sing Happy Birthday twice folks. I usually spend a little more time on my hands, front, back in between my fingers and making sure to scrub under my nails with a finger brush. I just like super clean hands.

But even then our hands shed about 40-60 thousand-THOUSAND cells a day.
There is no way to completely avoid this and most have healthy immune systems and you are never phased by it physically. But knowing it is gross.

If you don't ware gloves you are literally baking a piece of yourself into everything you make. ~Shudders~

I think chefs should ware head bands or something and be given a break every hour to wash up and wash off the sweat. Most just use a towel and mop their heads while cooking-some don't and just drip that salty goodness right into your food. And most who do have a sweat mop towel will use that to dry their hands after washing them. UHHHG! It's so gross.

sadsmile Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 8:03pm
post #20 of 52

Not only that Kate...LOL Lots of pickers have dogs to help keep away birds and rodents and they will lift a leg now and again. And lets also not mention that usually there are no restroom facilities out there in the fields. So even if they do bring in Port-a-potties I doubt there is hand washing going on there.

The veggies and fruit are picked by hand if not by machine, sorted by hands, boxed by hands, unpacked at stores by hands, and then riffled through and picked over by countless consumer hands before you even touch that tomato.
That is why we wash our food.

My mom said rinsing is fine...LOL When she saw me pull out my scrub brush and go to town with actual soap on some fruit and tomatoes. "You'll bruise those tomatoes!", she warned.

But when I went through it all and her little light bulb flashed brightly for a second or two and, by Georgie- she got it! icon_wink.gif Yes we even vigorously wash fruit we cut. While cutting right through the rind or skin those germs can be dragged right through the food on the knife. Washing is the only way.

Lambshack Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 8:12pm
post #21 of 52

I have to say that any decorated sugar cookies are almost always handled by hand - in order to flood coat evenly, to rotate or get the right angle when applying extra details. Then you may have to transfer to a drying rack in order to make more room for the next tray of cookies. And let's not even go into bagging them up!!! My hands are soooooooo darn chapped after a large cookie order, I can hardly bend them to wrap around a pastry bag for the next order. I am meticulous with my cleanliness and always have my hair pulled back. And yet, you just never know...

We had a lady come thru our office today selling banana bread for some church mission project, and while we don't necessarily care for solicitors, we allow her since its a good cause, and yet all I can think of is 'where was this baked? did your cat lick on it before it gat wrapped up? how many tasting spoons went back and forth into the batter? etc"

Sad, as I am doing the same thing with cakes and hoping that people trust me to be as clean as possible, but I couldn't help but wonder... (and yes, its very good banana bread!)

sadsmile Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 8:38pm
post #22 of 52

The nose is also a big no-no. The average person touches their nose or face many, many, many times an hour.
The germs and bacteria that live in the nose include Cold and Flu germs of a sick person, Staff like MRSA and E-colli bacterias.
One swipe of an itchy nose with out washing your hands can make others sick.
MRSA is every where right now. And just a light hand washing is not enough.

My mother who was not sick or ill at all had nasal surgery and wound up with a huge MRSA infection in her nose at the surgical site. So we got some info from the lab and her doctor. The lab explained to the doctor that most people are carrying staff bacteria, MRSA and E-colli around in their noses and don't know it at all, until their immune systems are compromised and they get sick and get an infection.
Nasty stuff in the nose.

I don't bake for others except family and friends on occasion. But when I do bake or cook for guests, I tie my hair up and wear a head band and wash and glove. And wouldn't ya know it that is when my nose itches the most. It drives me nuts..LOL So I take off the gloves and go blow in the bathroom and re-wash twice..LOL I wash in the bathroom and then go wash again in the kitchen. IDK until I have washed twice I won't touch food. A Little OCD maybe. icon_redface.gif

Loucinda Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 9:33pm
post #23 of 52

Not only do you carry that stuff in your nose, it is on your skin. It is all about common sense.

If everything we used/touched were sterile, guess how sick we all would be then?

cathyscakes Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 10:27pm
post #24 of 52

I think if we worried about every contamination we would go crazy. It is a real concern though. Dr. Oz's show really adds to all of the fear, they said that all of the fruits and vegetables are touched by human hands 20 times by the time it gets to the store. Then they set up a camera in the store to watch shoppers, and everyone was squeezing the produce, rubbing their noses, it was quite an eye opener. I was basically worried about pesticides, now something else to think about. Also the mrsa problem is scarey, they banned doctors from wearing necktie's in england, because they were so contaminated. Cake decorating shows are kind of hard to watch sometimes, but I enjoy the process so much I try not to think about it.

CakeMommyTX Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 10:36pm
post #25 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by cathyscakes

they banned doctors from wearing necktie's in england, because they were so contaminated.




I decorate in the nude as to not contaminate the food with anything that might be on my clothes, also saves me on my laundry bill. icon_lol.gif

Texas_Rose Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 10:41pm
post #26 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMommyTX

Quote:
Originally Posted by cathyscakes

they banned doctors from wearing necktie's in england, because they were so contaminated.



I decorate in the nude as to not contaminate the food with anything that might be on my clothes, also saves me on my laundry bill. icon_lol.gif




Okay, my computer is now wearing my Big Red!!!


ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just be careful when you're closing the dishwasher, a friend of mine was doing her dishes in the nude and closed her nipple in the dishwasher door!

icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

JaeRodriguez Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 10:45pm
post #27 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMommyTX

Quote:
Originally Posted by cathyscakes

they banned doctors from wearing necktie's in england, because they were so contaminated.



I decorate in the nude as to not contaminate the food with anything that might be on my clothes, also saves me on my laundry bill. icon_lol.gif


hahahaa :] :] :]

sadsmile Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 10:46pm
post #28 of 52

There is no way to be sterile nor would I want to try to achieve that. Going too far reduces our good bacteria.
But good washing makes sense and prevents a lot of infection and the spread of illness. Illness and disease are more prevalent in areas with lower hygiene.

indydebi Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 11:14pm
post #29 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by sadsmile

Going too far reduces our good bacteria.



My 17 yr old got chicken pox a few weeks ago.....for the 2nd time. My married daughter said that her pediatrician told her since kids had started getting the chicken pox vaccine, then older kids and adults were no longer exposed to it like we used to be. Our bodies have forgotten how to battle it. So a lot of older kids and adults are getting chicken pox AGAIN.

In their endeavors to eliminate the disease, they may be actually bringing it back. icon_surprised.gif

Pediatrician said "Follow the money". Drug companies, of course, were pushing for the vaccine, but she said the biggest lobby came from working parents, who were (big sigh!) TIRED of having to take off of work JUST because they had a sick kid! icon_surprised.gif

I shared this with my HD guy and pointed out how kids seemed to have SO many more allergies than when we were kids. I pointed out that we live in an environment where we dont' open windows anymore, we run A/C instead. Office windows don't even open at all. I told him, "Kids aren't exposed to dirt and germs and their bodies never learn to deal with them. Kids just need to eat a little more dirt, like we did as a kid!" icon_lol.gif As a dad, he totally agreed with me! thumbs_up.gif

good lord, my favorite childhood memory was turning an abandoned chicken coop into our clubhouse, when we lived on a farm. can you imagine a mom letting her kids play in an old dirty chicken coop these days? icon_lol.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 11:16pm
post #30 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMommyTX

Quote:
Originally Posted by cathyscakes

they banned doctors from wearing necktie's in england, because they were so contaminated.



I decorate in the nude as to not contaminate the food with anything that might be on my clothes, also saves me on my laundry bill. icon_lol.gif




Yup. And shoeless so I don't drag icing all over the front of the studio when I go out to feed to the cats! tapedshut.gificon_lol.gif

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