Last night, a friend made sushi dinner for us. It was an amazing spread: chips, wine, homemade tuna pate, homemade hummus, bread with vegetable spread, and various types of sushi. I was hesitant to eat the salmon pieces, as the sushi had been made an hour or more before we started eating. So it was warm. However, I couldn't resist trying some, and no one died after the party.
A month ago I made yogurt at home. I'd always wanted to, but because the recipe involves letting warm milk sit in an oven overnight, I'd always been afraid I'd kill myself. Not only did I not, but I produced a delicious, healthy snack.
I've become less germophobic since moving to Spain. This country has interesting contradictions in terms of hygiene. For example, when you shop for produce, you either have to use plastic gloves before touching fruits and vegetables, or wait until a clerk is free, who will handle the food for you. Allowing customers to serve themselves is a no-no. (That being said, one of the fruterias I go to lets me grab what I need)
On the other hand, go to a bar or club and you can bet that there won't be any toilet paper. Although it's a great way to make friends with the other ladies by asking for some kleenex, it's almost an adventure deciding whether to do your business at the club, or wait 'til you get home. And forget about washing your hands. There's almost never soap or anything to dry your hands with. Another reason to love the “two kisses” custom, as opposed to the handshake.
What do these examples show? That perhaps we need to worry less about germs, and trust that our bodies will take care of us. That being said, I could never let go of my practice of washing my hands. I can hear my friends now breathing a sigh of relief.