Don’t Tell the Family You Dropped Dinner on the Floor!


Music – “Don’t Eat Food That Has Fallen on the Floor” from Hey Kids, It’s Birthday Party Time! by The Family Party Song Singers. Released: 2010

Most of us, who have ever hung out in the kitchen for any length of time, or who have read cookbooks, knows how critical sanitation is in food preparation.  I looked through some of the cookbooks in my collection, to see how this issue has been addressed over the years.

Why can’t a slice of bread ever land on the floor clean side down? (Photo Credit:



In “Principles of Food Preparation” by Freeland-Graves, published in 1979 and written for culinary professionals, the author indicates that one should not put wet items such as peelings, leftovers or scrapings in the wastepaper basket.  It not only encourages rodent infestation, but also “irritable janitors“.


H.L. Nichols, Jr., in “Cooking with Understanding” (1971), after discussing the issues of food, which has been dropped on the floor, he suggests that if the floor was freshly washed and “spotlessly clean”, you can salvage the food for serving.  However, he also notes that “It is not necessary to tell your family that part of their dinner was processed on the floor.  If  you feel like chatting about it, it is tactful to wait until after eating”.  Nice touch.

“Just scrape it off the floor and serve it to Table Four. They’ll never know” (Photo Credit:





Then, there’s the infamous “five-second rule“, which suggests that if food dropped on the ground has been there five seconds or less, the food is still safe from nasty germs and other assorted disgusting things.  I wonder if the germs know they have to wait five seconds before launching an all-out attack?

“I’ve only got 5 seconds to pick up this food….which do I want the most?” (Photo Credit:


“Fido ate the stuff after five seconds. Why shouldn’t I?” (Photo Credit:

There are a lot of ideas about food safety, some right, some wrong and some ridiculous.  Some folks seem to think leftovers are safe to eat until they smell bad, according to  How offensive does the odor have to be before one might eschew the food?  I never throw good food away that can be re-purposed into another meal.  Take it from me:  the freezer is your friend.  Germ infested food is not.  Now, go out there and mop your floor!

I think this plate of spaghetti makes the five-second rule out of the question. (Photo Credit:


The cookies are probably safe within the five-second rule. It’s the glass shards you have to worry about! (Photo Credit:

Is she really going to scrape up all of this and serve it to her family? (Photo Credit:







My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 6,500. What next? More shelves?
This entry was posted in Collections, Cookbooks, Cooking, Cooking and Social History, Eating, Food Trends, Guinness World Records, New Mexico, Uncategorized, Vintage Cookbooks and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Don’t Tell the Family You Dropped Dinner on the Floor!

  1. Collect cookbooks! (and write about them) Thanks for your comments!

  2. Anne Fisher says:

    Wonderful collection of images and ideas! So many people i’ll be sharing this with. What do you do? 🙂

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