The University of Oregon's paper, The Daily Emerald, released this story this morning: UO uses dishwasher on potatoes. Apparently, the kitchen that supplies the dorms with the potatoes washes them in the dishwasher with the same detergent that they use to wash the pots and pans, called "Solid Insure," before preparing them for consumption...all of this unbeknownst to the innocent freshmen who have been away from their mother's kitchen for mere months or up to a year and eating at the dorm cafeterias. Poor freshmen.
The story goes on to say the anonymous employee who alleged that this was occuring asked the head chef about the practice, and he stated: "We've been doing it this way for years and it's a very common practice ... if it doesn't hurt the pots and pans it doesn't hurt the food.' Ick! What kind of a chef would say that?
I'm assuming (um, hoping) that this will go up for investigation and will be stopped. While the amount of detergent that may end up in the potatoes is minimal, I know I wouldn't dream of sticking my own potatoes in my dishwasher, even when I use environmentally friendly, biodegradable detergent. It's bad enough that there are probably pesticides used to grow all of the food that makes it into the school kitchens, no need to add more chemicals once they're there! Another line in the article that added insult to the whole thing and made me cringe was that the potatoes came out of the dishwasher partially cooked, due to the hot water. EW. Who wants potatoes cooked in a dishwasher? Not me. And you can guarantee the head chef doesn't cook his potatoes in his own dishwasher at home, either...
But, when you're a slave to the dorm kitchen, what's a freshman to do? Especially if mom and dad already paid the bill for the cafeteria and you don't have steady job? Bummer. Perhaps its a rite we are all fated to endure...
I know when I was living in the dorms during my own freshman year in college, there were rumers about how the cafeteria used government "Grade D" meat and the ingredients in the salad bar were used over and over until some poor starving, or non-observant, sap finally consumed them, regardless of how slimy they got (although the meat was definitely not of highest quality, and I avoided it most of the time, I can vouch that the salad bar was quite sketchy). I think that's why I lived primarily on the vegetarian chili (though I am not a vegetarian) and usually only ate what I thought I could stomach...which also included making our own Rice Krispy treats by melting large marshmallows with butter, adding a bit of the rice cereal and then mix, mix, mixing until the delicious treat emerged. Not exactly mom's, and not exactly healthy, but it sure tasted a lot better than a slimy salad bar, preservatives and unidentifiable ingredient list or not!
Truly, though, this is an outrage. The people out there who don't think it is, or don't find it a "big deal," obviously don't care much about their food or what goes into their bodies...and at the very least - would they truly choose to eat potatoes cooked in a dishwasher?
Oven-roasted, dishwasher detergent-free, organic parsley potatoes, anyone?