We have been ordering takeout and having meals delivered from local restaurants. We are trying to help local businesses, but every order is sprinkled with guilt and smothered with anxiety. I am attempting to trust the common wisdom that ordering takeout from restaurants is safe, but every order is a journey.
First, I clear off the counter space. Next, I lay out the clean plates where I will plate the food. Then, I watch for updates on our delivery. Once the food arrives, I quickly bring the food in and place the bags on the counter. I take the containers out of the bag, then immediately dispose of the bag. I then pop open the containers, followed by twenty seconds (sometimes more, never less) of hand washing. After this, I swiftly plate the food, then dispose of the containers. With a Clorox wipe, I saturate the counter top and anything else I may have touched in the process (drawer handles for instance). After another bout of hand washing, I am ready to serve our dinner.
Over the past few weeks, I have become rather efficient with this process. However, I am always stressed and filled with anxiety as we eat. It is unlikely that the food itself is contaminated, but I still worry as Ashley and Max consume our dinner. I am on edge if Max is “helping” get dinner ready or if he wants to “help” unpack our groceries after a grocery trip. Not touching anything until I can get everything sterilized would be the greatest help of all, but a six year old hellbent on helping is difficult to deter.
Each time I order takeout or ask someone to risk their health by bringing us food, I feel guilt. I loathe myself for contributing to a system that forces people to work and risk their health at a time like this. To all the workers in the food industry, rather it be the grocers, cooks, or delivery people: I am eternally grateful. I make it a point to thank you as much as I can in our brief exchanges. I tip whenever I can.