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Did You Just Eat That?

Two Scientists Explore Double-Dipping, the Five-Second Rule, and other Food Myths in the Lab

Paul Dawson, Brian Sheldon


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Other Editions of This Title:
Compact Disc (1/30/2019)


Is the five-second rule legitimate?

Are electric hand dryers really bacteria blowers?

Am I spraying germs everywhere when I blow on my birthday cake?

How gross is backwash?

When it comes to food safety and germs, there are as many common questions as there are misconceptions. And yet there has never been a book that clearly examines the science behind these important issues—until now. In Did You Just Eat That? food scientists Paul Dawson and Brian Sheldon take readers into the lab to show, for example, how they determine the amount of bacteria that gets transferred by sharing utensils or how many microbes live on restaurant menus. The authors list their materials and methods (in case you want to replicate the experiments), guide us through their results, and offer in-depth explanations of good hygiene and microbiology. Written with candid humor and richly illustrated, this fascinating book will reveal surprising answers to the most frequently debated—and also the weirdest—questions about food and germs, sure to satisfy anyone who has ever wondered: should I really eat that?

Praise For Did You Just Eat That?: Two Scientists Explore Double-Dipping, the Five-Second Rule, and other Food Myths in the Lab

Myth busters move over and squeamish eaters beware. Here is a fun, entertaining, fact-filled, and scientific dive into the potentially daily disgusting and dangerous encounters we can have with food—but also with easy-to-follow advice to save you!
— Rachel Herz, author of Why You Eat What You Eat

If, like me, you’ve always been suspicious of hand driers in toilets, or worried about the transfer of germs when you pick up a menu in a restaurant, then this book is for you. Entertaining and enlightening in equal measure.
— Mark Miodownik, author of Stuff Matters

While fascinating and often hilarious, the experiments in Did You Just Eat That? could make you live in fear of double-dippers, hand blowers, passed popcorn, and the things you put in your Bloody Mary. Here’s to more good microbes than bad, and to Paul Dawson and Brian Sheldon’s wanting you to meet their little friends!

— Michael Feldman, host of Whad'Ya Know?

Entertaining… Clean, quirky graphics and a casual tone help make this text fun and engaging for anyone with a strong stomach.

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393609752, 224pp.

Publication Date: November 6, 2018

About the Author

Paul Dawson is a professor at Clemson University whose work has been featured on NPR, CNN, and MSNBC, among other media outlets. He lives in Clemson, South Carolina.

Brian Sheldon is a professor emeritus in food microbiology at North Carolina State University. He lives in West Jefferson, North Carolina.