New tablecloth burns my hands


New table linens require decontamination before use

With the holidays coming, I found myself in need of a new tablecloth. So I went shopping, something I dread this time of year. At the first two stores, I found picked over linens sections. At the third store, my head ached and I was overwhelmed with aromas. But I finally found what I needed: a plain white rectangular table cloth and six napkins. I paid for them and brought them home.

I unwrapped the linens from their cardboard packages while standing in my garage. My hands had been feeling flushed since the first store, and I noticed  that handling the linens at home intensified the feeling to burning. I also noticed a filmy residue on my hands. This called for investigation, and I took a whiff of the cloth.

The top note was the artificial air in the store, which dissipated quickly. I couldn’t help but notice the aroma of the oily layer on my hands; it smelled like a new turkey baster right out of the package. Back to the cloth, I breathed in deeper, trying not to get the oil film on my face, and discovered the unmistakable aroma of burnt hair. Yuck. I tossed all of it into the washing machine with baking soda and vinegar.

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  1. Might I ask if you have noticed or would care to explore a reek (fishy/marine) associated with canola oil, most notably when it is heated? Canola, a contrived name for GMO rape seed oil, is widely described as having a neutral taste and while that might be so at room temperature, the reek produced by heating to saute or fry temperatures is so overpowering to me and seems to carry into the finished product to some slight degree although not nearly as much as might be expected from the aroma during the initial heating. The noted food science writer Harold McGee recently commented in the NYT about the neutral flavor of canola oil with no mention of this off aroma which I know has been commented on by others. I wonder if this reek is more of a (in)sensitivity of some individuals rather than a general feature of the oil?


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