December 30, 2012

How I learned the words “COMMINUTED” and “ASSEVERATED” after the seduction of two grey-haired Vietnamese ladies who hardly speak English

It was getting late, around 9 pm, and I still had to drive back an hour north to my hotel in Santa Rosa.   None of the Italian restaurants in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood was appealing – most of them were packed or beyond my price range.  North Beach is no longer a beach but was one eons ago.  The shoreline was turned into a landfill around the late 19th century.  

After a full day of revisiting places in the Bay I used to stroll around when I was a resident, I was starving and in quest of a satisfactory affordable dinner.  Passing by Vietnam Cafe I glimpsed two grey-haired ladies inside in an open kitchen fringed by a dining counter.  In all my travels, 99% of the time, any joint run by women of considerable maturity usually mean years of perfecting their craft.  I was seduced and so I walked in.  

Comely in a grandmotherly way, the ladies were busy prepping the orders of two parties, a group of four men in their 20s, and a couple.   I sat at the counter and saw the cooking area cluttered.  Wanting to wash my hands, the restroom door was blocked by a big heavy duty 75 liter garbage bin.  I was getting apprehensive.  But if the other customers, who looked local, were not bothered, perhaps I was being overly hygienic.

After leafing through the plastic-encased menu, I saw a noodle dish being served to one of the men.  He said it was a favorite.   I promptly ordered the same thing.  It was a good pho, not outstanding, but satisfying.

Little did I know that five years earlier in 2008 the place was cited a number of  violations by the city including  Improper Hot/Cold holding temperatures.  The SF city regulations asseverated:

“003 Cooking - Comminuted meat, or any food containing comminuted meat, shall be heated to 157F or 155F for 15 seconds. Eggs, and foods containing raw eggs, shall be heated to 145F. Pork shall be heated to or 145F. Poultry, comminuted poultry, stuffed fish, and stuffed meat/poultry shall be heated to 165F (113996)”

Pray tell me what are “asseverated” and “comminuted”?
According to, asseverated means to affirm positively.  From  Latin assevērātus spoken in earnest.
The adjective “com·mi·nuted” means divided into small parts. From Latin  com- "together" + minuere "to make smaller," the root ofminus”

Other violations then:
  • 019 Shell Eggs - Maintain raw shall eggs at or below 45F (113995, 113997)
  • 049 Living/Sleeping Quarters - No sleeping accommodations shall be in any room where food is prepared, stored or sold. (114175)
  • 054 Wiping Rags - Not Clean/Inadequate Sanitizer/Turbid/Storage Wiping rags used to wipe service counters, scales or other surfaces that may come into contact with food shall be used only once unless kept in clean water with sanitizer (114160)
  • 056 Thermometer - Refrigeration/Probe An accurate easily readable metal probe thermometer suitable for measuring temperature of food shall be available to the food handler. A thermometer +/ 2F shall be provided for each refrigeration unit and shall be located in the warmest part of the unit. (113995)
  • 057 Deterioration/Unapproved Materials/Facility Not Fully Enclosed - The walls/ceilings shall have durable, smooth, nonabsorbent, light colored, and washable surfaces. All floor surfaces, other than the customer service areas, shall be approved, smooth, durable and made of nonabsorbent material that is easily cleaned. Approved base coving shall be provided in all areas, except customer service areas and where food is stored in original unopened containers Establishment shall be fully enclosed. All food facilities shall be kept clean and in good repair. (114050, 114145, 114150, 114155)
Rest assure the violation has since then been “abated” as the city would term or in my lingo “addressed”.   Fortunately I did not get sick from having the pho.

In online writing, like this blog, I can asseverate that comminuted essays are more reader friendly.  Would you agree?

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