Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hold the sauce, and, um, the weevils

I was gabbing away on the phone the other day while making a homemade pizza. Lanie doesn't like sauce on her pizza, but since I was chatting, I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing and spread sauce on both crusts. I realized my mistake too late. I wondered how I could remove the sauce ... tried spreading it to the other end of the pizza and wiped one half with a paper towel several times to sop up the rest that didn't relocate. I covered it with cheese, hoping my keen taster wouldn't notice.

But the reason I was on the phone was to call a girlfriend to thank her for the jinx.* One day she was talking about bugs in her flour and how it infested her cabinets and grossed her out. She said it wasn't the first time she had gotten flour bugs, or weevils, in her flour before. But it was the first time I'd ever heard of it. And it gave me the willies. Now, though, I'm glad we had this conversation, because it wasn't even a week later that I went to open a brand new package of whole wheat flour when I noticed a little brown bug on my counter. "This is weird," I thought, and brushed the little guy on the floor. Then I noticed that five of his best friends were on the counter next to my bag of flour that I was just beginning to open. And I looked closer to see the remaining party crashers hanging out in the fold of the flour bag.

"Oh gross," I said. Fortunately, I knew what they were. I trashed the bag. I called my friend and continued making pizza with the unbleached all-purpose flour I had stored in a sealed plastic container.

"You need to clean out that cupboard in case they spread. Get rid of all your flour products that aren't in plastic containers, and check your unopened packages for holes," my friend explained, while I mistakenly spread sauce on Lanie's half of the pizza.

"What should I do to prevent this from happening again?" I asked. After all, I had never even heard of this. In my lifetime, I have never seen bugs in flour.

"When you buy your flour, freeze it for like two or three days," she said. "And then store it in an air-tight container."

I looked this up online. Some people freeze their flour after discovering the bugs in it, and then eat the bugs anyway. Call me wasteful, but I can't bring myself to do that. I tossed it all. But I will replenish my whole wheat flour, freeze it, and put it in a container, instead of leaving it in the original paper packaging.**

The pizza was good. Lanie's tasters were working overtime. Perhaps because of the difference in the crust (being all unbleached instead of half that and half whole wheat). Or perhaps because she tasted the faint flavor of wiped off sauce. I cast a sideways glance her way as she held the pizza up vertically and eyed it closely, suspiciously, all the while tasting madly. She continued on with her lunch, and I put mine on hold while I emptied out the cabinet, purged opened packages and bleached the surfaces down.

*I am not superstitious.
**Do not be afraid of any food I might prepare for you in the future. Remember, I'm married to someone who is a perfectionist and extremely neat and tidy. Hence, I must practice the same--this flour bug issue was a one-time occurrence. I share this story today just so that you will be informed that it could happen to you too.


5intow said...

This reminds me of when we lived in the Bahamas. The pasta there always had bugs in it. I froze the boxes when we purchased them so they wouldn't spread or grow further. Whenever I opened a package I would pound them out (dead or alive) before cooking it. I still sometimes missed some and would have to skim them off the surface while it boiled. Ah, the good ol' days! :-)

Never had them here, but have heard of it happening.

Courtney said...

Bahamas. Sounds warm. =)

Anonymous said...

NOW I know what a flour sifter is for! I always thought it just spread the flour around... But there IS a screen at the bottom there there... hmmm.

I think I'll just stick w/ Pizza Hut.