Taste of Chicago

I’m not a fan of the Taste. I’m a huge fan of food, mind you, but the thought of standing shoulder-to-tank-top-exposed-sweaty-shoulder with the unwashed masses as I angle for an overpriced kabob leaves me cold. While it was going on, I watched from the front door of my office building as thousands migrated east to Grant Park to devour obscene quantities of food. The list of what one could buy at the Taste was impressive. In particular, one place offered “pizza in a cone,” which was almost enough to make me to rethink my position. When the Taste wrapped up, I breathed a sigh of relief. No more Taste talk or crowds for another year, I thought.

And then the salmonella news came over. Pars Cove, the long-standing Middle Eastern haunt on Diversey, landed in the public health crosshairs. As of today, 126 people claim salmonella illness that can be traced back not only to Pars Cove, but specifically to their hummus. Some of the Tahini used in the hummus apparently went rogue, and subsequently turned on the diarrhea valve for over 100 unfortunate Taste enthusiasts.

When it comes to salmonella, I’d expect it to come from something meaty, not beany. As a vegetarian who would’ve likely zeroed in on food like hummus at the Taste, I remain confident in my decision to avoid the festival like the, um, plague.

Sucks to be the salmonella victims. According to about-salmonella.com, symptoms include “the sudden onset of nausea, abdominal cramping, and bloody diarrhea with mucous.” Hope they didn’t have to pay extra for pita bread; that would be adding insult to injury.

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