Scenes like this*... not okay:
KEEP YOUR TONGUE IN YOUR MOUTH!
Having taught more than 300 students in my cake decorating classes and workshops, I have seen it all when it comes to finger licking, spatula licking, icing tip licking... you name it. So... I just feel the need to say it. STOP LICKING THINGS, PEOPLE!
*This scene actually was okay because the pan licked there was done for the day... and this adorable guy was only 2-years-old.
But seriously, washing your hands while you're baking and decorating is so important. I can't tell you how many times I wash my hands while I'm working. I tell kids in my classes and parties, "When you lick your fingers, then decorate someone's cake, you are spitting in their cake. That's gross. I don't want spit in my cake."
Of course it's hard to resist tasting, because, let's face it, if you're doing it right, that stuff tastes good!! But, if I do give in to temptation and lick something, I immediately put it in the sink or wash my hands. You have to. Even if it's just for work, or just for your family. Eww! I don't want my co-workers spit, or even a family member's, thank you very much!
And I've taught my boys the same thing. I love to have them decorate with me (sometimes), but as soon as I catch them with a finger near their mouths, they head straight to the bathroom and re-wash. After a few years of this, they just know it now, and I hear, "I'm going to go wash my hands next, mom, because I want to lick this off." They're five, and they know this. Why can't adults figure this out?
I don't wear an apron. I should. It's the easiest way to squelch that finger-licking habit. You don't need to lick your fingers or anything else when you can just wipe them right there on your apron. Instead, I accumulate a few (dozen) kitchen towels while I work. I have one towel usually hanging over my shoulder, one on the counter top where I'm working, and one on the table behind me where I put everything as I'm done with it. (Drives my husband crazy.)
So, please, I beg of you, wash your hands! Don't lick your fingers! Don't lick your spatula! Don't lick your icing tips!
One day, I won't be able to stop myself, and I may actually follow through and trip that poor student on the way out the door, just so his/her coworkers don't unknowingly eat all of the spit packed so lovingly into that cake he/she decorated!