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A Not So Happy Meal

June 18, 2014

“What is that?” my client asked. We were walking across East 73rd Street when we spotted a rather unappetizing sight outside a popular restaurant in a very wealthy Manhattan neighborhood.chicken restaur

“Looks like a rat’s Christmas morning,” I said, snapping a picture of the clump of raw meat on the ground adjacent to the barrel.

“Do you think we should tell them?” she said. Being the good Samaritans we are, we walked inside. After a few minutes of standing there being seen, but ignored by the staff prepping for the lunch crowd, we left, making note never to eat in that establishment.

A messy kitchen area is one thing. An unsanitary one is a whole other ballgame.

In the two years I’ve been in my new apartment, one of the best improvements over my old place is having a real kitchen. Living without one for almost five years, I can appreciate having space to cook. And the one thing I’ve discovered in learning  to cook is that it’s not so unlike organizing. The key is preparation.

First I set out all the ingredients on my large island: food, cutting board, knife, measuring cups, etc. Then I pretend I’m Rachel Ray, putting each chopped, diced or peeled ingredient in its own bowl before beginning the process. If a stray piece of celery, onion or one tiny grain of couscous hits the floor, I’m on it like white on rice. Knock on wood I’ve yet to see anything in my apartment with more legs than I have. We know the city has rats, but what helps New Yorkers sleep at night is that, for the most part, the (not so) little critters stay hidden underground.

I’d like to keep it that way.

In order to do that, if would be great if we all did our part. Lazily tossing food into the trash – only to miss – is like sending out invitations to unwanted guests. I’m not saying we need to keep our city spit shine, but raw meat on the ground? Not kosher.


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  1. Ewww. Gross. mayor DeBlasio would thank you! 🙂

  2.   Oh, I know that place! Uncle Jed and Jethro does all the huntin’, killin’ supplying and such while, Granny and Elli Mae serves up some right nice vittles! J

  3. Marilyn Solomon permalink

    I agree with you 100 percent! Hope all is well!

  4. I am with you completely! I’ve just recently started putting many food items in plastic ziplock or seal tight see-through canisters. I feel more organized but I’m also calmer about the possibility of infestations. I don’t want four legged creatures or any kind of insect in my home. I’m petrified of mice and the r-word.

  5. Auntie M permalink

    I couldn’t agree more. Last week we decided to walk to the center of town to the New Farmer’s Market. We walked along the main street & I was sickened by the amount of trash I saw strewn about. Come on everyone, go outside & pick up the trash around your property. I’m planning to write to the local paper to say the same. Keep America Beautiful, pick up your s–t!

  6. Dana Arschin permalink

    which restaurant?

  7. There’s another possibility here. A customer might have thrown out that food without actually checking to see if the trash made it in a trash can. I have worked restaurants and retail, right now I work at a grocery store with a cafe, and people are terrible at throwing away garbage, separating recycling and trash, only putting compostables in the compost bin, and so on. If it’s really raw meat it is likely an employee though. But we all need to do our part to clean up after ourselves.

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