My work brings unusual perks. I may not get medical or dental benefits, but I did receive a large canister of pharmaceutical grade corn starch from the clinic pharmacist a few months ago.

"We were using it in a study," she explained. "Since it's a white, tasteless powder it makes a great placebo."


The other day as I measured out a few more teaspoons of the chalky granules for a batch of cabbage rolls, I had an unsettling thought.

How stupid was I to accept a discarded tub of white powder from a research centre?