High risk foods

half of juicy ripe pomegranate (isolated, clipping path)

I’m usually a pretty casual person. Not only is our office population small and unassuming, but we work with food and I never know at the beginning of the day how much time I might need to spend in the kitchen. As a result, I rarely dress up for a day at work (seriously: I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I’ve worn panty hose during daylight hours in the last 12 months). In fact, 3 work days out of 5, you’ll find me in flats and machine washable clothes at the office. The other two days, if I have on something nicer, it’s only because I have a meeting with someone outside of our little group.

Last Thursday, I attended a fancy gala at the Four Seasons hotel that honoured this year’s Ontario Hostelry Institute’s award winners (My husband and his partner got the Gold Award designating them Ontario’s Independent Restauranteurs of the year!) I wore a filmy white organza top and a shiny aubergine coloured satin skirt – both designer label and ridiculously expensive in comparison to most of the other clothes in my closet. As I dressed, I didn’t think about the perils that eating a meal in that kind of outfit might present. But, as I sat down for dinner, I was overcome with fear when I thought about the high risk foods I might be asked to eat in my finery. They had already tried to get me to eat a drippingly juicy shrimp at the cocktail reception – who knew what hijinks lay ahead at dinner? My imagination ran away with me and I began to make a list of foods that one should never serve when people might be wearing delicate fabrics:

• ice cream cones
• spaghetti in tomato sauce
• anything ‘tall’ that can tumble down into a sauce and splash you
• gooey butter tarts
• croissants (buttery crumbs can be dangerous, too)
• whole cherry tomatoes
• red wine
• foods topped with melted, stringy cheese (like pizza)
• any hors d’oeuvres served with a dip
• ribs or chicken wings
• pomegranate
• ripe cherries

There are likely many more foods to add to the list but that’s as far as I got before I had to rejoin polite conversation. I made it through the meal but not without being super careful (I left a roasted-on-the-vine tomato on my plate because it was just too likely to burst if I put my fork into it!) Have you ever had a dining disaster that ruined a favourite piece of clothing?


19 Responses to High risk foods

  1. Rosa says:

    Yes, these kinds of foods could ruin a piece of clothing! Fortunately, that hasn’t happened to me yet ;-P!



  2. danamccauley says:

    Oh, I have another one to add: poached eggs – just ate one and I’m putting on a new shirt!

  3. I’d add chocolate to the list…sauce, ice cream, truffles. It never fails, I always wind up with some on my shirt. That means I can never sneak chocolate. I’ve tried.

  4. Jacki Armstrong says:

    I don’t know if my already failing eyes just haven’t pick out the most obvious…. soup!!! As for me, anything that goes near my mouth is dangerous especially when I’m out and about, dressed to the nines (doesn’t happen often these days). Otherwise, many days, I wear my menu on my chest, especially coffee! Most everything I wear lately is wash and wear, since I am a working mom, again, after a long hiatus from the little kiddie world 🙂 Gotta go change….

  5. danamccauley says:

    Yes – chocolate is a messy one. Especially when you’re baking. I always wear a dark apron when chocolate is an ingredient on my counter top.

    Soup is, indeed, high risk! But so wonderful – I just can’t live without soup.

  6. Be grateful you don’t have a mustache. Back when mine was longer and I wore ties, I would invariably wipe out a tie during business dinners.

  7. Barb says:

    My clothes report more splash disasters after I have cooked than after I have eaten generally. I have an apron but rarely use it. Congratulations to your husband and his partner! You must be bursting with pride! I feel proud and I don’t even know them. Your outfit sounds gorgeous! I’ll bet he was bursting with pride as well.

  8. danamccauley says:

    Barb – thanks for sharing our excitement! It was such a great night and I’m so glad to see Martin get the recognition he deserves.

    Peter, I used to have that problem when I had a moustache, too. ; )

  9. Congratulations to your husband and his partner. I bet you looked stunning.

    As for high risk foods? For me, add watermelon, anything in a “wrap”, tacos and spaghetti to the list.

    For my husband? Anything that goes from the plate to his mouth. I love that man dearly but we have yet to eat a meal where he didn’t spill something on himself. Even when he eats mixed nuts he ends up with flakes of nut skin on his front.

  10. cheryl says:

    Salsa. Chips & salsa used to be the sign of a casual, Mexican-themed party, but now that salsa is ubiquitous and the dippers/scoopers have moved way beyond tortilla chips, I’m a walking disaster. I can’t get it from the bowl to my mouth without it taking a detour across the front of my blouse.

  11. Diva says:

    Please, what haven’t I ruined by spilling something on myself?! I second all additions to your excellent list and will add any kind of gravy, sauce or au jus to the mix. Really, I can ruin almost anything … I’m a walking disaster. 😦

    HUGE congrats to Martin! What a wonderful honor! You both must be beaming. 🙂

    Your outfit sounds amazing too.

  12. Andrea says:

    I don’t recall what I’ve ruined clothes with but I know that I’ve got stained tops and dresses and there’s a brown stain (chocolate ice cream?) on one of my skirts. I can say that at food events it’s difficult to hold wine in one hand and food in another, especially while trying to get out your camera and take photos. 🙂 It helps to have a friend who can momentarily hold something.

    Some people are just clumsy and should stay away from dressing nicely when eating period. 🙂 When I was a child my dad would take me to baseball games at the old Exhibition Stadium, and then the Skydome. By the time I returned home I was covered in mustard and ketchup from the hot dogs!

    I was reminded last night that when I’m cooking/baking I should avoid wearing black. I was only wearing yoga pants, a t-shirt and a hoodie but I got arrowroot starch everywhere. On me, on the counter, stove, floor, sink…. It’s kind of fun to make a mess in the kitchen, though.

  13. danamccauley says:

    I’m glad I’m not alone in being a bit of a slob when I eat!

    Cheryl: you are totally correct. Salsa has to be on the list. I’m always freaking out at my son for eating chips and salsa in front of the TV for that very reason.

  14. Natashya says:

    I wore a light linen suit to a very formal affair with a gathering of people way out of my league once, years ago. I was so paraniod all night but didn’t have any mishaps. Then, one of the high-rollers there fanned out his coat to put it on at the end of the night… sending a table of (filled)red wine glasses all over my backside… sigh. Good times.

  15. danamccauley says:

    Natashya – that story is made for TV. Seriously, it could be the plot for an episode of Sienfeld!

    I just thought of another one: hard shell tacos.

  16. Morgana says:

    I can spill anything on myself and make a mess. I am a born slob, I guess.

  17. :(: says:

    oh dont worry i dont no who isnt ! hehe 🙂
    i was out at a local restaurant when a waiter came up behined me with a plate of spaghetti and i didnt no i jumped up to go to the toilet when i got the spahetti all over my face.! i know right!! :)/:

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