Inside the Pregnant Mind: Can I Eat That?


Let me take you on a journey into the mind of a pregnant woman. It begins one night, not long ago, when I was making dinner. It was preparing to cook a quick and easy version of mutter paneer, an Indian dish that I love. The sauce is from a jar because I’m not that gifted a cook and the paneer, a kind of cheese, comes from Whole Foods for sums of money that are a bit ridiculous, actually.

As I was prepping the cheese, I noticed that the package labeled it a “soft cheese.”. The words “soft cheese” triggered something in my pregnant brain, some hearkening back to the rules of pregnancy, rules that I don’t really remember because I suck at being pregnant the second time around. My mind began to whirl.

“Soft cheese. What are the rules on soft cheese now? Am I allowed to eat it? I think it has to be pasteurized. Isn’t most cheese in the US pasteurized? I think it must be because otherwise why would all those raw milk activists be so upset about the scarcity of non-pasteurized milk products? Where is this paneer even from? England. No wonder it costs so much. Do they pasteurize routinely in England? I have no idea. You’d think they would for products for export. How can I be sure, though? Dammit. I’m going to have to go Google this cheese and figure out if I can eat it.”

I heaved a deep sigh and glanced over at the oil heating in my skillet to determine if I had enough time to Google my cheese before hot oil would begin splattering my kitchen.

Hot oil. In which I was going to fry the cheese. Before adding sauce and simmering it at a low boil for 20 minutes.

If 30 seconds in the microwave is enough to render bologna bacteria-free, surely the cooking process I had planned for this cheese would do the same.

OK, then.

For the record, the paneer was delicious.