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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It's A Wrap!




There are some things in life that you prefer to be clingy, and some you don’t. Plastic wrap = yes; children and romantic partners = no.

You might think that a word like “clingy” is modern, and that clinginess is a contemporary trait born of a kind of socio-pathology we associate with the overly coddled. But it’s not quite — the word clingy dates back to 1710, where it meant to grip on to things (from the Old English clingan, to hold fast, or adhere), though the use of it to describe people is pretty new — from 1969. Apparently people could let go more easily before the hippies came along.

Cling film, known by various trade names involving the word “wrap,” has been adopted by the food service industry because of four essential qualities: it can stick to itself and smooth surfaces (the “cling”); is impermeable (won’t leak); is lightweight, and transparent.

Do not wrap your babies in plastic

 Sadly though, the PVC most good-quality wraps are made from is pretty toxic, and leaches plasticizers into your food, especially fatty food it touches, such as meat and cheese. The lower-quality, less clingy wraps you find today compromise by transferring less chemicals into your food but are less clingy, and therefore prone to leaks.

Sometimes plastic wrap isn’t used to preserve food at all, but as a binder, where great gobs of it are wrapped around things in lieu of rope. Whole sets of luggage, for example, originating from tropical places wherein scary insects might be hiding, used to be routinely cocooned in plastic wrap. (I once saw a very large and foul-smelling puddle of aged blood collecting underneath a set of such baggage that had either been abandoned or was waiting for its owner to claim at Heathrow airport. Clearly the suitcases held a carcass of some kind.)

As the delightful ad above also hints, plastic wrap can be used to envelop a living person for kinky pursuits, as this gentleman obviously knows. 

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