On Eating the Batter and Tossing Your Cookies

Brooke Newberry
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With the approaching cookie season just a sift away, we know what you’re thinking: what about licking the spoon?

Why is batter so delicious? Maybe it’s because we want what we can’t have. And the stuff is just really, really tasty. There’s a reason ‘cake batter’ became a buzzword flavor back in 2010. Remember cake batter ice cream and those weird cake batter martinis? Desserts in their precooked form are like thick, ultra-concentrated dream puddings that only the characters in Candy Land are allowed to eat.

So here’s some not so good news: there has been an outbreak of salmonella in the US that reportedly contains strains that are resistant to antibiotics. According to the CDC, as of October 7, 2013, a total of 278 persons have been infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg that have been reported from 17 states. The outbreak is associated with chicken products produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California.  

Salmonella is a group of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. People become infected through meat, eggs and contaminated water.  Salmonellosis is a bacterial disease of the intestinal tract.

How does salmonella get into eggs? The bacteria infect laying hens but do not actually make them sick, so they show no signs of illness. Bacteria can then enter the bird’s ovary or oviduct, where they can infect the egg as it is formed inside the chicken.

Some good news: Chickens harboring salmonella are actually rare, and even in those cases, only a small number of eggs will be laid with a small amount of the bacteria inside.  The risk of an egg being contaminated with Salmonella bacteria is very low, about 1 in 20,000 eggs.  It is unclear how many outbreaks per year in the US actually come from consuming raw cookie dough (at midnight, on the couch).

When baking, to lick the bowl or to not lick the bowl is continual internal banter that probably won’t subside. If batter must be eaten, the very best come in the form of chocolate chip cookie dough (dough made with some baking soda, please), homemade brownie batters, yellow cake and pound cake batters.  Skip the pancake batter, scone batter, as well as any batters containing yeast – if gambling with the threat of salmonella, at least consume the batters that taste good. Also, buy good eggs. A representative from the Humane Society was quoted stating that there is evidence suggesting that cage-free facilities have significantly lower risks of salmonella infection.

How to eat batter without eating the batter: Try making and eating this cookie butter by the spoonful. Try regular batter recipes and just substitute the eggs for a small amount of milk until the batter comes together.

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