Shawarma in Baghdad and Tomato Recalls


Being a Geardo is not the only side effect of the years my husband has spent in the military. 

The man started out the pickiest eater on Earth, but basic training right out of high school changed that.  He doesn't need to identify the food!  Just eat it!  And bugs?  It's a favorite party trick for the neighborhood children to catch grasshoppers and hand them over like some kind of delicacy.

Not only is he no longer the least bit picky, but the man no longer has any fear for health repercussions due to the food he's ingesting.

Take, for example, the story of his favorite shawarma stand in Baghdad.  Often when Air Force Guy was out and about taking care of business, they would stop at varying times of day at a particular shawarma stand.  The owner was very pro-American and loved to serve the guys that stopped there.  AFG raved about the shawarma he was getting - teasing me about it mercilessly because I am such a fan myself and I just wasn't getting the good stuff back at home.

One day, AFG and his team stopped at the place the shawarma stand used to be.  Everything was closed.  As you can imagine, the guys were starving and irritated that they would be stuck with the DFAC food instead of this heavenly shawarma they had grown to love.  They were so irritated, that when they spotted am MP they started vigorous questioning about the closed shawarma stand.

The MP told them, "Oh, THAT place?  We had to close that place down for health violations!"

Well, knock AFG over with a feather!  How bad do the health violations have to be that MPs would shut it down in 2003 Baghdad!  And yet the man was eating there regularly and loving it!

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when the tomato recall news came out.  If you'll remember, several brands of tomatoes were noticed to have salmonella.   The immediate result of this was a drastic dropping of tomato prices at the store.

AFG took one look at the prices at Safeway and started filling bags with tomatoes. 

Did he get worried that our normal and rather large consumption of tomatoes might cause a health risk?  No.

Did he think that we might need to slow down on our tomato consumption until this issue sorted itself out?  No.

He thought, "Hey!  This is great!  Now we can get a great deal on tomatoes and stock up!"

I guess that to someone who not only regularly ate on the economy in Baghdad and Kabul, but ingested whatever was so awful that it didn't meet local wartime standards of cleanliness, salmonella tomatoes might seem like a small risk.

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