March 7th, 2008

ozarque figure

Bugs in the snow...

Thanks to Cindy Brown, I now know about a study published last week in Science claiming that today's snow "contains large amounts of bacteria." Pediatricians are saying that it might be better for children not to eat very much of the stuff, even though the study didn't investigate the effects snow-eating has on human beings, and even though experts are saying that the bacteria in question is a "ubiquitous" one that's all over the place.

The "do it/don't do it" article about the study is at , if you'd like to read it. I didn't find it very illuminating, but it got my attention because it brought to my mind the snow ice cream we used to eat -- in large amounts -- when I was a small child. You took a bowlful of fresh snow and stirred in some cocoa powder and sugar till it tasted exactly right, and then you ate it; it was wonderful. Because it was free and you didn't need a grownup to help you make it, there was a kind of wild celebratory exuberance that went with eating it. We kids always felt like we were getting away with something for once, and that -- in my childhood -- was so rare an experience that it was treasured.

I don't know whether children get to eat snow ice cream any more; the entire time my own kids were little, except for a few dreadful months in Denver, we lived in places where it didn't snow. I never had a chance to introduce them to it. If I had had that chance, I would have grabbed it.