Eating in a car, unless you're into scrubbing all interior surfaces with antibacterial cleansers, can literally make you sick. London's Daily Mail reports that numerous germs associated with food poisoning, skin infection and even vomiting were found in a study by Halfords, a British car accessories retailer. Bacillus cereus, staphylococcus and other harmful bacteria and lead to such unpleasant maladies.
Source for this article: Eating in a car is a certain ticket to food poisoning
Staph infection - Why eating in a car isn't a good idea
Staphylococcal infections are transmitted easily between individuals and can lead to the skin infection known as impetigo and intestinal food poisoning, writes the Mail. Bacillus cereus can sit in a vehicle's heating ducts until the system is turned on and also the warmth causes the spores to grow. Vehicle infestation can occur in no time at all. And such bacteria tend to thrive on food particles left behind after drivers are eating in a car.
Clean what individuals touch or get sick
If surfaces that drivers and passengers touch are not cleaned, food poisoning that causes severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can result. Staph is typically found in areas where hands might go (wheel, knobs, shift, handles), when bacillus gets down in the dirt on the mats, carpet, seats and vents. Seventy percent of infected cars in the Halfords study had owners who admitted to eating in a car. Fifty percent of the Halfords study subjects only cleaned less than once per month on average, reports the Daily Mail. Halfords recommends car owners clear out their cars at least once per week.
Eating in a car is risky, but cooking is handy
If you would like to cook something like a hot dog on your engine block, you are able to make it happen, says How to Do Things. Simply use a tight double- or triple-wrap of aluminum foil to protect both food and engine. Open the hood and discover the hot spot that's away from wires and lines. This location will vary by engine and make of car, so a hand test following the engine's warm helps. Be careful not to touch the engine directly, or you'll get a nice burn.
Find the spot, then secure the food using something like the foil that won't melt away. It should be snug, but not to the extent the engine overheats. Lower the car hood and hit the road. Times will vary depending upon what you are cooking, the specifics of your engine and the type of driving you are doing. A book like "Manifold Destiny" should give you a lot more info on times for cooking hot dogs or many other foods on your engine block.
More data on this topic
http://books.google.com/books?id=tZIFAAAACAAJ&dq=cooking on your car engine&ei=CwYMR7nrDI--ogLO_oTdDg