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April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
Nov. 8, 2012/ 23 Mar-Cheshvan, 5773
'Five second rule' leaves bad taste
We've never abided by the "five second rule," the rule that says
if food hasn't been on the floor longer than five seconds it's safe
to eat. We use a slide rule. We go from five to 10, 15 seconds,
or even the day after.
If it's chocolate, there is no time limit. Pick it up and have
As for a recognizable bit of a cookie, sometimes it's easier
to pop it in your mouth than walk to the trash can. Oh, don't tell
me you've never done it. I'm smarter than that. Remember, I use
a slide rule.
There is a direct correlation between willingness to eat something
that has fallen on the floor and the desirability of the food. I've
yet to see a kid scream, "Five second rule!" when cauliflower hits
the floor. Right now, I could probably assemble an entire vegetable
medley with bits and pieces the grandbabies have left under the
Despite the obvious - that food on the floor will pick up germs
-- researchers at San Diego State University, partnering with Clorox,
conducted a study on the "five second rule" and found it to be bogus.
A study always implies government funds somewhere. Such a shame.
I wish they would have called. I could have saved them a lot of
time and money. Of course "the five second rule" is bogus. But it
is a way to build immunity.
The most interesting finding from the study was that the dirtiest
surface is not the bare floor or the carpet, but the countertop.
That's really disgusting, especially when you consider how much
food we eat off our countertops.
In the interest of saving researchers' time and preventing other
unnecessary studies, let's examine some other common myths.
"If you cross your eyes, they'll stick that way." Not true. Of
course, if some research team wants to assemble thousands of 7-year-old
children to test it, I'd love to watch.
"Scaring someone will stop the hiccups." It will not. But that
doesn't mean it isn't fun to try.
"You can't make taffy on a humid day." Actually, that one does
have some truth to it, although I'd feel better if a team at Harvard
put it to the test.
"It's OK to double dip in the chip dip." Maybe at the frat house,
but not at this house. You're welcome to eat a chip off the floor,
but don't double dip with it.
"Throwing salt over your shoulder brings you good luck." No it
doesn't; it just means you have to sweep the floor.
"The best way to tell if pasta is done is to throw it against
the wall." Not true. The best way to tell if pasta is done is to
throw it on the floor and see if anybody eats it in five seconds.
I hope this has been of service to university research teams
Send my honorary degree in care of my email.
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© 2012, Lori Borgman
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