Because I didn’t want to waste an eight-dollar chicken, I gave my husband food poisoning.
We were trying to be healthy. We decided to get a “natural” chicken from the fancy health foods store, even though their chicken cost twice as much as regular grocery store chicken.
The first chicken I bought went bad before we got around to cooking it on Sunday, two days after I bought it. Michael cut it into pieces and then asked me to smell it. It smelled a little fishy, which didn’t seem to be a good sign. I called the fancy health foods store and told the manager about the smell. “Did we get a bad chicken, or did we wait too long to cook it?”
“Your chicken shouldn’t smell like anything. You really should cook the chicken the same day you buy it,” she said. “We don’t inject our chickens with sodium to preserve them, so they don’t last as long as other grocery store chickens. But you can return it and get another chicken.”
On Tuesday, I went back to the store with the bad chicken and got a new, fresh chicken in its place. Then, I got busy and didn’t cook it that day. But surely, I thought, the chicken would still be good in the morning. The next morning, I roasted it. Did it smell a little off? No, not at all like the two-day-old chicken. Actually, it smelled like a little something, and the woman had told me that it shouldn’t smell at all. And she’d also said that I should cook it the same day. But I was sure that the chicken would be ok. Because I wanted it to be ok. I didn’t want to throw away a perfectly good, or even a slightly flawed, eight-dollar chicken.
I had some roast chicken for lunch. It was tasty. My stomach felt a little funny, but not too much. And maybe it wasn’t even the chicken! Soon, I felt fine again, and I was still able to go to the gym.
I didn’t say anything about my stomach to Michael when he came home. He worries too much, I think, about whether food has gone bad. He’s kind of paranoid about it. I didn’t want to put any thoughts in his head.
Michael had a wing for dinner. Later, he said that his stomach felt a little funny.
I woke up at 12:30 to the sounds of Michael retching. I stumbled guiltily into the bathroom. “I haven’t slept at all yet, and I have to go before the Academic Committee tomorrow,” he said angrily. “This is all your fault.”
Well, yes, it was. And I had forgotten all about his important presentation to the Academic Committee. If there is ever a good time to give your husband food poisoning, this was not it.
I apologized profusely. But I waited until the next morning to confess my own stomach issues, which really should have shown me that the chicken was bad and needed to be thrown away. At 12:30 in the morning, I figured that Michael had enough problems without hearing that his suffering could have been avoided had not his wife’s frugality blinded her to the obvious risk of food poisoning.
So what have I learned? First, not to buy “natural” chickens. Food preservatives aren’t all bad.
Second, I’ve seen (not for the first time) that my desire to have things go my way can blind me to the truth, or what is best. Denial is powerful. Ironically, I’ve been working on an article about how God’s economy is different than our economy, and what we may think of as wasting our resources is sometimes part of God’s plan for providing for us. (I got to thinking of this after reading how Moses melted and ground up the gold calf and made the Israelites drink the water w/ it, "wasting" the gold rather than using it for the sanctuary.) I didn’t recognize the application to what was going on in my life. Next time, I’ll know to “waste” the old or questionable food rather than putting our health at risk!