Come and play with us…

You are the cocktailer. You have always been the cocktailer.

You are the cocktailer. You have always been the cocktailer.

“It’s February. The winter holidays are long over, the lights are coming down, and the dark is creeping in. It’s time to invite some friends over for a night of bright, lighthearted fun – quick, before the metaphorical winter closes in around you and snows you into the labyrinthian hotel of your heart.” – All Play and No Work

Today on The Toast, my menu – complete with recipes! – for a terrifyingly easy The Shining viewing party.

Come and play with us forever… and ever… and ever…

that’s just my face

We join this conversation in progress:

The Fella: Is there anything I can do to help?
Elsa: Naw, I’m fine, just trying to write [thing], get it sorted out in my head. There’s no way to help.
The Fella: Would some chocolate help?
Elsa: … yeeeeeeEEEEEESSSSS. [as he walks to the kitchen] Was I making an “I wish I had chocolate” face? Do I have an “I wish I had chocolate” face? … is that just my face?
The Fella: Your face has elements of that in it, yes.

cookie cutters

Let me tell you about my cookie cutters.

Memory is a tricky thing, so bear with me. I was small when these memories formed, and at the distance of decades, it’s hard to tell the difference between true memory, corroborated reconstructions, and childhood imagination.

But I remember the cookies. I’m certain the cookies were exactly as I describe.

My Uncle B and Aunt M (really my father’s much older uncle and aunt, and rather terrifying in demeanor and voice) gave the same gift each year: a homemade cookie cutter shaped out of an old tin can and a tin or box of cookies made from their own collection of cutters. Uncle B made the cutters and Aunt M made the cookies, every year until I turned seven and we moved away.

Their cookies are among my earliest memories, and certainly my very first memories of Christmas. They were rolled vellum-thin, baked ’til they were just tinged with brown at the edges, and decorated with sparse perfection, a dragée here and a sprinkle of colored sugar there, just enough to lend some details to their shapes. The first one I remember is a whole train of sugar cookies – a locomotive, a string of different cars, and a caboose. I think (but I can’t rely on such an early memory) that there might have been a puff of smoke riding jauntily atop the train.

My family accumulated quite a collection of perfectly turned, finely detailed cookie cutters from this unlikely and intimidating source. My mother passed some of them on to me over the years – when I moved into my first apartment, when she moved to a new home, when I baked Christmas cookies in her new kitchen.

One Christmas over a decade ago, I pulled out my cookie cutters and baked and shaped and frosted cookies. And then, overcome with memory, I washed my hands and sat down at the kitchen table, adrift in the faintly sweet scent of sugar and butter, and I wrote a letter to my Uncle B. It was my first letter to him since Aunt M had died a few years ago, and the second letter I’d ever sent him, excepting my childish scrawl on the thank-you letters we’d send for those cookie gifts.

I wrote about using his cookie cutters that day, how these cutters had always symbolized Christmas to me, and of my fond and formative memories of their cookies. I thanked him both for the long-ago cookies and for the cutters, and I let him know they had been long and well loved.

He didn’t write back, not surprisingly. My family isn’t close-knit, and I was one of a swarm of great-nieces and great-nephews. He probably had little idea who I was, probably couldn’t pick me out of a group as a child or an adult.

In fact, I found out this was more-or-less true a few years later; he could only identify me by my remarkable resemblance to my mother. At the reception after a family funeral, Uncle B walked up to me and my sister, looked at my face, and announced imperiously “You must be one of [_____]‘s daughters!” I told him he was right, and I told him my name and my sister’s.

His stern craggy face washed over with softness. “You’re the one who bakes cookies,” he said with wonder, and this man – who’d rarely smiled at me and never hugged me or even shaken my hand – pulled up a chair and sat down knee-to-knee with me, his hand reaching out gently over and over but never quite touching me, and talked. And talked. And talked. All his hardness smoothed away; he was full of memories himself, and he found me to share them with. When it was time to leave, he hugged me. And then he did it again.

I’m grateful whenever I have a chance to revisit that story. It’s a potent reminder that those small thanks are always worth sending, because you never know how meaningful they may be to the person you’re thanking. It’s a reminder to be grateful, to be mindful, to be kinder than necessary. It’s a reminder to keep trying – and failing, but trying! – to be my best self.

[This story is cross-posted to Metafilter.]

Can I eat this?

It’s that time again, everyone! Time for another round-up of “Can I eat this?” questions from Ask Metafilter. As always, excerpts retain original spelling and punctuation; any editing is noted in brackets.

[See more questions under the "Can I eat this?" tag.]

soups, stews, and savory simmers

I have four packets of Tasty Bites with an expiration date of July 30 (or in the case of the Trader Joe’s version, the even-more-vaguely-worded “End of July”)

I opened a store bought can of tomatoes and poured it into a pot of chili. Now that the chili’s simmering, the empty can smells like fish and I noticed a dent at the bottom near the seam.

I ran out of tomato paste and used an old can of tomato sauce. Just added a tablespoon or so and poured the rest out in the sink. It’s then that I noticed that the expiration on the tomato sauce was two years ago.

I made a pilaf with young hen-of-the-woods/maitake mushrooms on Monday night. It was delicious. This morning I nuked some leftovers for breakfast (it’s been refrigerated for the past 36 hrs), and the mushroom pieces are now shockingly bitter. What happened?

meat

Asking for my sister: “Accidentally left the fridge door a crack open last night. Inside was a pound of ground lamb. When discovered this morning, a thermometer registered the meat at 50 degrees. Is the meat ruined, or still within temperature limits?”

Dish of fully cooked kosher chicken parts in barbecue sauce left on kitchen counter uncovered overnight (approx 12-14 hours). The apartment isn’t air conditioned, but it stays reasonably cool, so I don’t think internal apartment temp got up to the 80-some degrees the outside sdid last night.

The belly’s been sitting in the fridge for the past week. It smells fine. It feels firm. I am prepared to hot smoke it tomorrow, and now I’m panicking because of a bunch of smoker/BBQ posts I’ve read that say I’m dooming myself and my family to botulism. Am I?

Is it ok to mail a jar of “bacon jam? that I made? [...] the recipe says to refrigerate, but is it ok to spend a few days in transit to Hawaii? It’s cooked bacon with a healthy dose of vinegar in the recipe – would it go bad before it got there?

Have I ruined my 7 lb turkey by leaving it uncovered at room temperature for 12 hours?

Organic ground beef, purchased at Trader Joe’s on Friday and opened Friday evening. [...] It’s turned brown in the meantime, not surprisingly. More concerning, the meat has an odd smell to it. Not a routine bad-meat smell, but smells sort of like vinegar.

Help needed on my first tenderloin. My apples touched my pork! Now what?

eggs

Can I Eat This Filter – Christmas Breakfast Emergency Edition: Last night I made a breakfast casserole that was supposed to cook overnight in the crock pot. I set it on low but forgot to plug it in. There’s a dozen eggs in it. If I cook it this morning, will it poison us all?

preserved seafood!

I have been soaking cod outside the fridge (my first mistake?) for a little over 4 days now. Are we going to get sick if I cook it?

The jar was opened 7 days ago and has been in the fridge since. The ingredients are octopus, canola oil, vinegar, spices and salt. It says “No preservatives. Keep refridgerated” and the expiry date is in July 2013. Does the vinegar mean it’s pickled and good for an extended period? Would I just know by tasting one?

The brined, rinsed smelts sat out for about ninety minutes – maybe as long as two hours – in a room that was about seventy degrees. I finished step two, but now I am afraid to eat them. I thought due to the brining it might be OK. Can I eat it?

I’m trying to find technical information on why refreezing seafood is bad. [...] Bonus points if anyone can also point me to something that explains the problem with long term freezer storage of shellfish, again, specifically what nutrients break down and how.

My husband ate a small jar of opened caviar that has been in the fridge an undetermined amount of time (longer than several months).

unpreserved seafood!

Do I have to throw out fish stew left overnight by mistake?

produce

I bought some fresh yellow sweet corn about a week ago, shucked it and stored it in a plastic bag in my fridge. Tonight I boiled it for supper and when it came out of the pot, several kernels on each ear had turned brown. Some are light brown, some are a bit darker and some are nearly black. The corn looked and smelled fine when I put in the pot. Why did this happen? Is it safe to eat?

A friend of mine recently brought back a bag of crushed red pepper from her home city in China. I had the idea of trying to plant some of the seeds in my plot at a local community garden and seeing if they’d grow. My concern is whether this would be safe and legal to do.

Last night, around 9:00 pm, I sliced up some yellow and red onions, threw them in a crockpot with a stick of butter, set them on low (timer set to 8 hours) and went to bed. (this a faux-carmelizing technique I’ve done before). Bad dreams about the onions and leaving a crockpot going overnight. [...] They were not refrigerated overnight. They sat in a warm crockpot with butter all night. They smell delicious. Is it safe to serve them to guests tonight?

The contender: a pouch Farmhouse Culture Smoked Jalepeno Sauerkraut, left out overnight on its side. Package says “keep bag upright” and “perishable, please keep refrigerated,” but it’s still cool to the touch.

Do I have to wash the inside of my romaine lettuce?

tofu

A naive shopper sent to the Chinese market to buy dried tofu ended up with something labeled as dried tofu but it is not really dry and it is long and skinny. It smells a bit funny even in the packaging.

grains, pasta, legumes

I found a few boxes of steel cut oats in the pantry that I’d completely forgotten about. They expired in February 2013. Are they safe to eat or should I toss them?

How would you handle finding a worm in your pasta, especially given that I can’t be sure if it came from the sauce or noodles? Also, any idea on what type of worm this might be so I can research it more and figure out if it’s invasive or not? I threw the worm, the jar of sauce, and box of noodles away so far.

I have a bag of “black rice” and after six weeks or so the black color has flaked off the outside of the rice grains.

I have a recipe for cold beans soaked in oil and vinegar that I make all the time. Could I can these beans, so that I don’t have to prepare them every day?

I use this product in my smoothies that I eat quite often. How concerned should I be about aflatoxin?

Is eating peanut shells on a regular basis a bad idea?

Does old peanut butter make these delicious cookies … OF DOOM?

cheese and dairy

I bought some goat, gruyere, fontina, blue, and fancy cheddar cheeses from a gourmet cheese shop last night and left it in my car overnight (it only gets down to about 70 degrees — if that — at night where I live). Can I still eat it?

My SO and I were having some italian-themed chicken wings, and had some fresh-grated parmesan cheese on the side in a copper bowl. After our meal, we were cleaning up and transferring the leftovers to the fridge for storage, and the cheese on the bottom of the bowl had turned a light blue.

wine

We’re hitting -25C here for the next few days, so I thought I’d indulge in an experiment — putting 2.5L of cheap kit Shiraz into a food-safe container with a loose-fitting lid outside and fishing the ice out at the end of every day. What should I expect? When should I stop?

I bought three bottles of Veuve Clicquot. They are thank you gifts after a big project. One bottle went into the fridge to be shared out in person. The other two I left in a room to be sent home with two different individuals. The room was then sealed off for 8 off the hottest days of the year with no open windows or a/c. Oops. Have I ruined them?

water

Is this green film at the bottom of my Keurig water tank going to kill me?

wild yeast

I would like to serve my guests bread prepared with fermented wild yeast (wild wheat yeast+spring water, fermented). Are there any safety concerns I should be aware of? My guests include older people, people taking medicines, children and nursing mothers.
bathroom produce

I have a large bathroom/shower room. It is a Japanese bathroom where the whole room gets wet and has a drain in the middle. I am looking for edible plants that like that type of wet/humid/warm environment. The room has a large northerly facing window but does not get any direct light. Maybe some kind of tropical fruit?

aaaaand everything

Another one of metafilter’s favorite topics. Fridge left open since 7am (CDT) this morning. Just discovered 20 minutes ago, so approximately 5 hours ago. It was only left open a crack because one of the drawers was part way open. Is everything a totally loss? Some things are still cool to the touch.

Unfortunately, we just took a trip to the grocery store last night, so our frig is full. Most with yogurt, fruits, veggies, milk, and condiments. My partner and I accidentally left our compact frig open an inch or so, and I’m wondering about whether the food within is still okay to eat?

My power has been out for almost 48 hours. I’m assuming all processed foods in the fridge have to be thrown out, but I hesitate with a couple items because they feel somewhat cold through the plastic, look fine, and haven’t been opened.

Either my fridge is dying or I’ve forgotten how to shut the door properly. Twice in the last two or three days I’ve opened the fridge to a whiffy smell and a noticeable lack of cold.

can I juice this?

Is anyone here in the hive aware of there being an affordable home testing kit for pesticides/toxicity? Something that will allow me to see what I may be consuming. My other question is if I am juicing this quantity am I putting my self at greater risk of poisoning?

can I spit this?

I accidentally left an unopened plastic bottle of mouthwash in my car for 3 weeks in high temperatures. Is it still safe to use?

can I spoon this?

Can I use found wood to make spoons for cooking? How can I know whether it is food safe or not?

can I stone this?

Did I just ruin my pizza stone? I washed it in water and was then told that was a big no-no…so how bad is it and is there a way to recover from it?

can I sink this?

Is bathroom sink water any different than kitchen sink water? I have a sink in my room now, so I’ve been drinking out of that faucet.. but before, I’ve always felt a little skittish (maybe based on cultural norms).

can I can opener this

The can of soup hissed at me so I tossed it. Can the can opener be saved?

and finally, can I brew this spew?

My dog ate nearly a pound of coffee beans. The vet gave him some drugs to get him to vomit them up. (He’ll be fine.) The beans came up largely whole/intact, and they… bagged them up for us. If we were to rinse the beans, grind, and brew them, what’s the worst that happens?

established

Establishing my food-critic cred: my slapped-together ten-minute lunch includes a tuna melt (tuna mixed with labneh and scallions, grilled between local-ish American cheese on English muffin bread), red potato salad (also in a dressing of labneh, olive oil, lemon, and scallion), green beans with butter-toasted almonds, and a dish of fresh pineapple spears. These are the joys of preparedness, chickadees.

Establishing my blogger cred: I changed back into pajamas to eat it.

Establishing my willingness to experiment within highly gendered expectations: am wearing new shoes with said pajamas and watching the “Sex and the City” pilot for the first time. For the latter, I credit Emily Nussbaum. For the former, I have no excuse.

splat

Places I managed to drop bits of avocado from this sandwich:

- onto the countertop
– onto the cutting board
– onto the other-than-intended sandwich half
– onto the the plate
– onto the napkin
– onto the floor
– onto the MacBook trackpad
– into my cleavage
– down the front of my hoodie
– onto my chin
– I don’t know; I never found that bit. Uh-oh.

updated to add: I stopped typing, hit post, and went back to the second half of my sandwich, only to find a bit of avocado on the sofa next to the plate. And no, that was not the missing piece from the list.

Can I eat this?

We’re overdue for a round-up of Can I Eat This? questions from Ask Metafilter. (As always, there are more questions linked under the “Can I eat this?” tag.)

Brace yourselves, folks.

the chicken or the egg

- I thawed a chicken in the refrigerator and it leaked uncooked chicken juice all over the shelf. The cardboard egg carton full of eggs that was also on the shelf is now fully saturated with raw chicken juice.

- Unintentionally left a pot of hardboiled eggs in ice water for six hours. Toss out, or save?

- I already am halfway on a double batch of chocolate chip cookies (in other words, there’s a whole bunch of butter and sugar already at stake). I added in an egg without looking at it and the egg white is universally pinkish reddish, still transparent, but definitely strange looking.

- We bought a rotisserie chicken from a grocery story this afternoon, and upon returning home, stuck it directly in the fridge [...] It dawned on me that it may have been a bad idea when I pulled it out to start cutting it up and realized that it most certainly wasn’t cold.

- I bought a hot rotisserie chicken from the deli section at the local health food store today. I took it apart and packed the light and dark meat and some of the skin into glass mason jars. I am storing these jars in my fridge. How long can I expect them to last?

- Shooting for the weirdest food question of the year — how do I get the smell of varsol out of a chicken?

- I moved a frozen whole chicken from the freezer to the fridge on Saturday morning. It’s Tuesday — can I cook it for dinner, or do I need to chuck it?

- Should I eat this? #1,298: boneless/skinless chicken thighs, marinating 24 hours in the fridge. By the time I’m able to cook the thighs I put in the fridge last night, 24 hours will have passed. (I had planned to cook them later last night but I forgot!) Besides being very salty, would they be safe to eat?

- I purchased a two-pack of turkey soup. The soup is vacuum sealed in an airless plastic pouch. I accidentally left one unopened pouch out of the refrigerator for 12 hours in 70+ degree house. Still good?

pork pork pork

- Can I eat this bacon? I’m concerned about the black specks in the fat. Safe or not, what is it?

- Pre-cooked smoked sausages, sold vacuum-sealed in plastic. The sell-by date is not until November. The catch is, I opened the sealed package maybe two weeks ago, and put the rest of the sausages back in the fridge unsealed. Food or poison?

- I have been given a whole ham with no label, description, or instructions. [...] Is it fair to assume that if I wash/scrub it well then heat it to an internal temp of 165 degrees that it’ll be reasonably safe to eat? Or should I just not risk it and just toss it out?

- I took ribs that were in the freezer out last Sunday and moved them to the fridge. They are vacuum packed and haven’t been opened. I’d like to rub them today and bake them tomorrow.

- I smoked a 13 lb pork shoulder all day Thursday. It turned out beautifully. We had substantial leftovers, which were refrigerated. Last night, the remaining meat, still on the bone, was left overnight in the (turned-off) oven, where we often store meat to keep our two large dogs from it.

- People who often eat meat filter: Did I just eat a raw sausage?

- Will I regret having eaten expired canadian bacon? What’s the worst thing that could happen? I think I’m experiencing phantom food poisoning symptoms, help!

- I meant to make MaPo tofu but didn’t, and now have 1/2 pound of ground pork in the fridge. It looks and smells fine, but given that I had previously frozen it before its 3 day stay in the fridge, I’m not going to eat it. Is it safe to cook it up, refrigerate it, and give to my dog a little at a time?

- I bought some serrano ham last night for a party and of course it was so good that I ate a few slices …just to try it out. Then I was super tired and forgot that I left it out.

chorizo, soyrizo

- I have some chorizo (the mexican variety, olé brand, if it matters), that I opened maybe two, three months ago. The chorizo is stored in individually wrapped sausage shaped holders. The sell by date on the package is June 16, as in next month. When I broke open one of the wrappers, the chorizo still smells divine inside.

- About 5 days ago, I left accidentally left packaged soyrizo from Trader Joe’s out overnight. It’s been in the fridge since, and I thought I’d poll the hivemind to see if my instinct that it’s totally fine to eat sounds correct.

meats, various

- I just discovered a bag on the counter. 2 packages of boneless beef short ribs, 1 package of thigh-leg chicken parts, 1 envelope of bacon. It’s been 2 hours.

- Tonight I took a pound of ground beef out of the freezer and put it straight into a bowl of slightly colder than room temperature water on the counter to defrost for an hour. It defrosted on the counter for an hour. Then I decided I wasn’t hungry and put it into the fridge in the still sealed package. Will it be safe to cook tomorrow night?

- I bought 2 tubs of salt beef (aka navel beef, beef in brine, etc.) to make Jigg’s dinner after a recent trip to Newfoundland (b’y!). I opened the tub and the blood is all brown and so is the meat. I recall seeing the meat and blood coming out really pink before. Did it go off? I threw it out anyways, but if the second one looks the same, maybe it’s supposed to be that way?

- My local supermarket’s best steaks are hung for 21 days apparently, and are red and fresh. However, when I used some the other day, and put some uncooked leftover back in the fridge, it went brown and started rotting within a couple of days.

- Week old beef broth, kept in the refrigerator. Safe to use? I’m making a slow cooker recipe with it.

SEAFOOD!

- The fish I bought at the grocery store yesterday came out of the fridge with inflated plastic wrap. I don’t think the air pressure dropped considerably since yesterday. Is it safe to eat?

- Can I eat this? Pre-cooked frozen jumbo shrimp left in my bag at room temperature for 3-4 hours, then thrown back in the freezer last night. When I put them back in the freezer, they were still very cold to the touch.

- She made pasta with scallops and broccoli soup with (week-old) sour cream. [...] She got extremely ill in the middle of the night – I was completely fine. We’re going to throw out the sour cream, but would you eat the pasta with scallops? It’s SO good and we have several servings left.

- My roommate made fishcakes last night (around 7 pm, 23 hours ago), and a tray of them was left in the over overnight.

- Central Texas heat: Canned sardines — okay in the glove box of my pickup or will they go south or explode or ???

dairy

- I often eat mini Babybel cheese – the kind that come in a little wax package. Today I opened one, and didn’t realize until after a bite and a half (most was spit out) that there was something brown on the bottom that I hadn’t seen.

- I forgot to put some mozzarella in the fridge after I got home from the grocery store. [...] It stayed out on the counter for about 18 hours, then went into the fridge, where it’s been for the past couple of days.

- Sour Milk, Soured Milk, and Spoiled Milk. Is there an effective chemical difference?

pasta, pizza, grains

- I made baked orzo with veggies and cheese yesterday morning, thinking I had lunches covered for the next couple of days. [...] The power was out for about 10-11 hours, and no one was home to open the fridge for most of that time. Please tell me it’s okay to eat?

- We left a frozen pizza in the trunk of the car (Amy’s pesto pizza, no meat) for about 2 hours (with an outside temperature of 85 or so degrees) and in the backseat of the car for maybe 30 minutes (never directly in the sun). The pizza is now back in the freezer (we didn’t open it up to check how much it had thawed).

- I have a package of quinoa from Trader Joe’s with an expiration date of 3/2011. I’ve decided I’m going to try cooking with it as long as it’s not rancid. I’ve never cooked or eaten quinoa before though so how do I know if it has gone rancid?

lettuce

- While washing lettuce (from an organic CSA), I found a fluffy feather. I am 100% fine with finding bugs in my lettuce — it happens most of the time — but the feather has me a little unsettled, as it seems a more likely vector for nasties. Is it safe to eat?

- Farmer’s market lettuce left in a hot car for (up to) a few hours – is it safe to eat?

beans

- I noticed tiny white sprouts coming out of some of the lentils after I cooked them fully (they’re clearly sprouts, not anything else), but the lentils looked normal before I cooked them. I didn’t soak at all. I was hungry, so I ate half a bowl (making this perhaps a redundant ShoudlIEatThis post), but are we cool?

- So I made split pea and pesto with pork soup two nights ago and I made too much. It also sat on low for a bit too long and is now a thick green paste. What do I do with it? Is it still safe to eat? Can i do anything to it besides adding water and making more soup? How best can I use these leftovers?

- Yes, I’m a little ashamed. Yes, it’s a can-we-eat-this question. This time: vegetarian chili left in a slow cooker. New-ish slow cooker, so we thought it would stay on “warm” indefinitely. Instead, it turned off at noon and I didn’t notice until I got home at 6:00.

- I shouldn’t have eaten it filter: I ate a couple of handfuls of raw soybeans. Afterwards, I googled for things to do with raw soybeans. That’s when I learned that you really should not eat raw soybeans. Am I in any danger?

jalepeños

- I typically only use a few of these at a time. Unfortunately I can only find 26oz cans locally, so the unused jalapenos and their pickling juice go into a covered glass jar in the fridge. How long should these last?

- Can I eat peppers that have been gnawed by squirrels, or will I die of rabies?

- I am planning on making jars of pickled jalapenos to give as gifts to people for xmas. But I realize my method may not be safe.

roots

- Are second year parsnips good/safe to eat? [...] Are they okay to eat after they’ve flowered? Are they better now that they are a year old?

- Should-I-Eat-ThisFilter, gardening edition: while cleaning my garden after months of neglect, I found a ton of gorgeous fingerling potatoes. The bad part: they’ve been in hot soil all summer. I didn’t even know they were there.

- I baked a potato (skin rubbed with olive oil and kosher salt before cooking), and stupidly left it in a cold oven for a few days. Looks ok (kind of shriveled, but not bad). Is it safe to reheat and eat?

- I cooked some near-rotten potatoes and they offered a flavour far surpassing other potatoes. I long to taste it again.

- (Can I eat this? Filter) I had a bag of frozen potato pieces which was moved from the freezer to the fridge 3 days ago. It hasn’t been opened yet. Are the (now thawed) pieces safe to bake and eat? Actually, I have ALREADY EATEN THEM.

fungus

- Today I bought a tray of shiitake mushrooms from a Korean market. They look nice, but when I got them home I realized they smelled strong, very pungent. Not quite unpleasant – somewhere between funky cheese, stale beer, and old onions.

- I have a dessicated black truffle from last October or November stored in arborio rice in the fridge (sealed glass jar.) I forgot it was in there! Risotto with the perfumed rice is obvious. What can I do with dessicated black truffle?

backyard fruit

- What is this fruit-bearing bush in the yard of my new house, and can I eat the fruit on it (when it ripens)?

- This apple tree (or what we think is an apple tree) is growing in my girlfriend’s yard. [...] Can anyone identify this kind of apple tree? It doesn’t look like crabapples to my inexperienced eyes. More importantly, can we eat it? Will it kill us, or make us ill?

- Can I eat peaches from a tree that has some sort of leaf curl blight?

- Can I eat these nectarine-plum cross fruits from my back yard? [...] But to someone used to commercial produce, they’re weird.

- ParanoidFilter: I chewed up a small orange berry in Ontario, Canada. It was very bitter and I still taste it about an hour later. Is there any chance it was dangerously poisonous?

- Container garden: Plastic storage bins… is the plastic safe for food?

macerated fruit

- The pan of delicious smelling mincemeat is currently cooling in a large pot on top of my stove. I just noticed that the recipe says “remove from the heat, leave to cool, pack in sterile jars. Will store one month in the fridge and 6 months in the freezer.” Well, I don’t own any glass jars, just tupperware.

- A bag of sultanas at room temperature: fine. A bottle of rum at room temperature: fine. The mixture, marinating with pthalates and plasticides and whatever?

- So I have some bags of cranberries in the freezer… that have been there since last year. Can I use them in making cranberry sauce without courting death or intestinal discomfort?

- I’ve made some delicious red currant syrup (currants+sugar), but I left it too long in the fridge and it fermented. What can I do with it? Vinegar? Wine?

- I was going through my liquor cabinet, and came upon an old bottle of cherries in bourbon. I know they’re at least two years old [...] I wouldn’t normally hesitate with alcohol soaked items, but the cherries are a unpleasant brown-gray color. Additionally, when I was researching making brandied peaches, all the recipes stated that they should be kept in the fridge unless canned.

drinks

- Silly question but, is it ok to drink green tea I brewed yesterday and left in the fridge overnight? It’s kinda weird – dark and bitter.

- I drank some coconut water that has been left out for a long time. Probably weeks. Should I be worried?

- Homemade fruit rum safe to drink after 1.5 years? [...] Obviously we would toss the berries (which are looking pretty gross), but I’d love to taste it and see if it’s any good.

- What is going to happen to this fermenting apple cider while I’m out of town?

- Chum-Churum (19.5% alcohol made from sweet potato with added sugar and hfcs). Open, unrefrigerated bottle for 24 hours at room temperature, then refrigerated. Safe to drink? I’m saying it’s totally fine. My friend has grave doubts.

- So I’ve had some vodka and sprite this evening and I’d like to drink more, but all I have left is a can of Pina Colada “Joose” (12% alcohol) and a can of Jeremiah Weed “Lightning Lemonade” (5.8% alcohol) that I probably bought around June, and three cans of Bud Light Clamato Chelada, which I probably bought around May.

- Just opened a new bottle of Godiva white chocolate liquer and it came out of the bottle in lumps. Anyone know if it can curdle?

desserts

- My buddy at work Jake is visiting his family in Portland, OR, and has promised to mail me couple of bacon maple bars from Voodoo Donuts. Pips says that after going through the US Mail they won’t be safe to eat. I say they’ll be fine.

- I made white chocolate chip cookies with almonds. These are the first cookies I’ve made in years and they taste really good, apart from this side effect. After the first cookie, the inside of my mouth and teeth felt kind of rough, as if it were very dry (it wasn’t, and the cookies were nice and soft, too).

- Mr. Blues (!) and I got married on Sunday. After all the festivities were concluded, the caterer presented us with the top layer of the cake in a standard cardboard pastry box. We were kind of exhausted and didn’t think to ask the hotel to refrigerate it. The next day we spent the day hiking and sightseeing, and then drove home, arriving around 2 am- a total of roughly 36 hours unrefrigerated.

miscellaneous

- Can Apple Cider Vinegar or any vinegar, go bad with time so you can’t use it as food?

- Should I Eat It: Battle Lime Juice! I left the lime juice out overnight and just noticed it. It’s pretty hot today, around 85ºF inside. The bottle says “refrigerate after opening”. Verdict?

- My boyfriend and I broke up about two weeks ago. [...] Anyway, I kept a bottle of Log Cabin pancake syrup for when we’d make pancakes for breakfast during his weekend visits (this is not a euphemism). [...] Part of me is saying. “But what if someday we get back together and he wants pancakes and I’ve thrown away perfectly good Log Cabin syrup???” The other part of me says, “omg, throw it away, psycho.”

- Is coconut oil safe to cook with? Literally. [..] I’m talking about literally cooking with coconut oil. Is it safe, or am I just not properly cooking with it? Whenever I lightly fry meat (salmon, or bison usually) in coconut oil, there are is a large quantity of oil droplet shrapnel discharging from the pan.

equipment

- Are there unpleasant compounds in plastic (specifically Britta filters) that are soluble in pure ethanol that I don’t want to drink?

- The Mister cleaned an aluminum Bialetti Mukka Express espresso maker with bleach and the inside of the bottom section turned black. Is it still safe to use?

- Rookie Mistakes with New Cookware Filter: I was so excited to use my shiny new enamel Le Creuset oven pan that I forgot to wash it before using it to roast some vegetables. Aside from probably getting some warehouse dust in my food, is this in any way dangerous / unsafe?

- My pressure cooker used to gradually build up to high hiss. Now it’s silent for a long time and then pops to high hiss. Do I need a new pressure cooker?

- Stupidly used a huge and expensive stainless steel stockpot to do some home fabric dyeing with a cheap powder dye [...] After finishing I saw both that the pot was stained and that the dye packet said “DO NOT USE POT FOR FOOD.”

No!

Every so often, I post a round up of Can I eat this? questions from Ask Metafilter, or of “Can I eat this?” search strings that lead readers to macbebekin.

Usually, I just report the AskMe questions and allow people to find their own answers. But a lot of people — and I mean a lot of people; most of the following search strings have occurred multiple times — end up here by searching variations on the same question: “I left my seafood out overnight. Is it still safe to eat?”

NO! No, it is NOT safe to eat. Do NOT eat it. Sheesh.

fried fish left out 24 hours unrefrigderated
should you eat salmon patties if they were left out of the refrigerator overnight?
i left a jar of herring out over night, at least 10 hours. is it safe to eat?
left raw shrimp out overnight
clams left out overnight
if i left my raw shrimp out all night will it still be ok to eat?
salmon left out overnight
how long can clams be left out
i left my fish out overnight. is it stll ok eat?
shrimp raw unrefrigerated
is shrimp safe to eat after sitting out all night
can i eat shellfish left out if i cook it again
how long can shrimp set out unrefridgerated
fried clams left out 24 hours are they ok to eat
shrimp out for 24 hours….can i still eat them???
i left cooked fish out overnight
salmon left out overnight safe eat
can you leave shrimp and crabmeat recipe on counter over night and still eat it
raw frozen shrimp left on counter overnight
is it safe to eat unrefrigerated fish sandwich
unrefigerated fish eating re fridgerate
is it safe to eat lump crab soup left out overnight
left raw shrimp out all day

doctor’s orders

Dear Dr. Pepper,

Thanks for your recent advertising campaign letting the world know that Dr. Pepper 10 is “not for women.” Without that warning, I might have spent money on your product. Phew, that was a close call!

But now I know that Dr. Pepper doesn’t want my money, for this product or for any other.

That’s obvious, right? If you discourage women from trying your (putatively) more robust, flavorful product, then you must think that women only want insipid, flavorless drinks. Therefore, I assume that any product you market toward women is inferior; I’ll make sure to actively avoid all of your drinks! Thanks for the warning!

Seriously, y’all: I understand the marketing trend to avoid associating low-calorie drinks with “diets.” I understand that, in a sexist society that demands eternal body consciousness from women, the label “diet” feminizes a product (and puts you at risk of missing out on the vast male market). But this attempt to attract men by subtly denigrating women is both silly and not-so-subtly misogynistic.

I hope your future marketing doesn’t rely upon gendered insults. Until then, my household (which until today went through several bottles of Dr. Pepper weekly, between me and my husband) will switch to some other, less gender-labeled brand of soda. Thanks for the heads-up!

sincerely,

Elsa