Not so finger-licking good

licking the bowl

Where will it all end?

When will the unwanted guardians who loom over everything we do give us our lives back?

Today we have been warned of the health hazards in that time-honoured childhood pleasure of licking the bowl at cake-making time.

Gawd help us. If that were so, I should have keeled over decades ago, finally succumbing to a succession of near-death experiences.

Apparently, after all the pouring, mixing, stirring and churning there can still remain specks of uncooked flour. And these might contain bacteria which could lead to outbreaks of salmonella and E.coli poisoning.

And, ultimately to death!

Really?

If this were so, entire communities should by now have been wiped out by a plague of global proportions.

It is a rite of passage to lick the bowl. Finger in, wipe it around, suck it between salivating lips and release a sigh of utter contentment. Punctuated perhaps by an accompanying “Yum.”

To support this attack on bowl-licking addicts the US Food and Drug Administration (where else?) states that 10 million pounds of flour were recalled when “dozens of people across the US” were “struck down” by a strain of E.coli O121 traced to a mill in Kansas.

Yes, dozens. Out of a population of 323 million.

And please define “struck down”.

Thus we are confronted by the headline, “Home bakers told: don’t lick the bowl.” A scary follow-up to the one that told us to stop playing marbles. And to the warning that implied a contest of conkers is more deadly than a hail of bullets from some crazed sniper.

Playgrounds are off limits, use of sports fields guarantees scenes of carnage and the sea is safe only for creatures with fins and gills.

To think there was a time when, barely into my teens, I led five mates of similar age on an off-road trek across the Weald, minus tents, digging our latrines, living off the land and using compasses and stars to map our way to arrive on time at our ordained destination three days later.

Building fires to cook our meals, no phones, no sat-navs, no calls to or from home. Yet we survived with hardly a scratch between us – no terminal diseases, no broken bones. Simply a sense of adventure, achievement and enjoyment.

Heaven only knows what Health & Safety, Child Protection and all their kindred bodies would have made of such irresponsible and carefree behaviour.

Nor how today’s molly-coddled youth would cope with even thinking about such an undertaking.

Better not let them lick the bowl.

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