A couple of people over on the thread about Top Chef Masters think they saw one of the chefs tasting food from a bowl with fingers that were returned to the bowl, and tasting a sauce with a spoon that afterward was shaken off, back into the bowl. Here's the thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/635093
Without putting a radar on that discussion, I'm interested in knowing how you handle this stuff in your own kicken. Do you taste with the spoon you are stirring the stew? Do you use fingers to test the consistency of the frosting? Does this freak you out?
Personally, I wash my hands a ton when I'm in the kitchen, especially after handing raw meat/poultry/produce, but I am really not fickle when it comes to tasting things off of the stirring spoon . . . it's going back into a boiling soup/sauce/stock, right? I just don't see where that poses a sanitary risk to the people around you. Maybe I'm wrong, and I should get a clean spoon every time I taste, but at least in the home environment, it seems unrealistic, not to mention unnecessary. YMMV, but I would love to hear from you on this issue.. .