I once went a whole year without ever touching a doorknob. Like many Americans, I was paranoid about the fine patina of pathogenic mutants (e.g. bacteria) that encrusts most surfaces. I even used antibacterial hand gels, figuring that if I killed off the little bastards in biblical numbers, my own odds might improve. Come cold season, though, I was still wiping sniffles away (albeit with chapped, medicinal-smelling hands.) A recent report from Columbia University reaches the same conclusion I came to that miserable winter— using products with antibacterial properties can't keep you from ever getting sick. In fact, they may actually do more harm than good. The year-long study found that households that use antibacterial cleaning products are just as prone to sickness as those who don't. Why? Viruses, not bacteria, are responsible for most common infections and antibacterial agents don't kill viruses. Plus, when you scrub down your kitchen with sanitizing products, you're really just wiping out the weakest 99 percent of bacteria. This eliminates competition among the strongest strains and pushes them into a dominant position, where they're free to have wild microscopic orgies long into the night. Before long you've got a few trillion "superbacteria" that are harder to kill than a crypt full of zombies. So play it safe and only bring out the big guns when you have to— or else Bruce Campbell will kick your ass.
Chewing the Fat
Aimee Tang of Fremont's Fine Foods
A specialty food store four-generations old
Last month we ran a story about local specialty shops but several readers e-mailed to let us know we had omitted Fremont's Fine Foods (7901 Fourth, NW), a North Valley shop that is probably the Duke City's oldest specialty foods store. I spoke with Aimee Tang, great-granddaughter of Fremont's founder, about the shop and its long history of providing Albuquerque with gourmet imported foods.
Valuable Kitchen Lessons
Formula 409—You're Eighty-Sixed
Making your own cleaning products is cheaper and safer
It seems that cleaning sprays, foams, powders and gels get more high-tech every year. "New, no-scrub formula!" they scream from their labels. "Triple cleaning power!" Triple the cleaning power of what? Doing nothing? Nothing has been my method for a while now and—shockingly—my house is filthy. Finally humilated into the act, I recently geared up with rubber gloves and an arsenal of toxic chemicals, forcing my bathroom to submit to an all-out, day-long grime attack. Filth may yet win the war for control of my house but I won the bathroom battle.
National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show
Let’s make it very clear that the 32nd Annual National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show is not for the faint of palate. This is a serious food show for heat-seekers, not meek-eaters. Again, this year Sandia Resort and Casino is the place to find the finest in hot stuff from around the country. The festival runs all weekend starting Friday, Feb. 28 at 4pm. Tickets are $16 for adults, $5 for those 11 through 18, and free for those under 10 and under. Be sure to get a picture of your youngster with Chile the Kid instead of letting them burn their face off with some crazy hot salsa. For more information on this all-ages event and advance tickets, see fieryfoodsshow.com.
Get Out There
It’s summer in Burque and myriad patios await your presence. Snap the kids out of their bought air-and-video game trance for an outing that culminates in the joyful consumption of healthful and delicious paletas—no, really!—or invite some colleagues and comrades out to smash the swanky local rooftop bar scene with you. If you’re looking for a more pastoral vibe, get your farm-to-table on in Albuquerque’s resplendent North Valley. Here are a handful of our favorite patios in The Duke City. Don’t neglect to slather on some sunscreen and install a rideshare app (such as Uber, Lyft or zTrip) on your smartphone ... in case you over-hydrate.