Can I eat this? April 2011, 2nd edition

Here’s the second April installment of backlogged Can I eat this? questions, and don’t forget the Can I eat this? archives!

grains and beans

- Can I Eat It: Part 7,934 in an ongoing series. In a fit of industriousness, I made Cannellini Minestrone this morning! I put part of it in a container for my lunch, and part of it in a container to store in the fridge. I realized once I got to work, however, that the container to store never made it to the fridge, and is still sitting on the counter in my apartment. The soup was made at 8am, and I won’t be getting home until 8pm. Can anything be done to salvage the soup into something edible, or at least usable?

- Should I eat this? Pumpkin seeds were soaking in salt water for several days. Still okay to roast and eat?

blender blunders

- How sick am I going to be if I accidentally drank part of a smoothie that included wood?

- My blender has a bit of black dust at the bottom after I use it, presumably from the black rubber connectors under the container and on top of the motor. It still works, but is this normal? Will the black stuff get sucked up into the food stuff I’m blending?

meat and poultry

- I got all fired out from watching “Food Inc” and bought a chicken from one of the local farms instead of the supermarket. I’m roasting it right now, and I’m notice blood is coming out the cavity. I believe I pulled all the giblets out (no plastic bag – that was a fun discovery), and I washed it, but I’ve never had a chicken produce so much blood before.

- Should I be concerned about frozen prepared foods that don’t seem all that frozen in the grocery store? I’m thinking specifically of frozen, already-cooked chicken nuggets, for example. Grocery stores often have them out in those open freezer tubs. Upon squeezing the package, the pieces are soft. When I find them in a closed freezer, the pieces are hard. Are the soft ones a real risk? Is it a bigger risk if they are raw?

- So normally I’m pretty brave about these things, and I understand that nothing goes bad at the stroke of midnight…. but I noticed today that my family-pack of ground beef which I bought on Monday has a ‘best-before of yesterday. It has browned a little from its original bright red dye colour, and that’s what squicks me out.

- Another “can I eat this” question. This time: pork sausage. I put it in the fridge to thaw either last night or the night before, I don’t remember. It had been frozen for about three months. If I use it tomorrow night for a stew (cooking it before putting it in the stew pot), should it be okay or do I need to cook it tonight?

- Should I eat this 10 day (approx) old cooked sausage, lentils, and kale dish? I made a delicious recipe about 10 days ago, consisting of pork sausage, red lentils, and kale (as well as chicken stock, garlic, onion, etc.). I had a bowl, put another bowl in the freezer, and subsequently forgot about the rest in the back of the fridge. I don’t want it to go to waste. Is the stuff in the fridge still safe to eat?

- I cooked up some yummy Pastitsio on Friday (ground beef, noodles, onions, spinach, eggs, evaporated milk and feta cheese). If it is sealed tight in the refrigerator, can it be served on Monday? Will it still be good? In the past I have found this dish doesn’t freeze all that well…………

CLAMS!

- [Should I eat this filter] I hate myself for even asking this question. I made a quick delicious pasta with vodka sauce and clams for dinner late last week… and then we left the leftovers on the stove overnight.

cheese

- So I’m making a lasagna (ideally for dinner tonight), and I just opened a brand new container of fat-free ricotta. The sell by date is March 27. There are some pink spots on the top of the cheese, and a drop of pink liquid on the inside of the plastic film on top.

street booze

- Someone recently moved, and tossed out some used bottles of alcohol (half-empty) among other non-garbage items they had put on the curb for trash pickup. My wife wants to use the left-overs for cooking. Is there anything to be concerned about?

water

- Drank a liter of unfiltered, chemically treated puddle water. What’s the best course of action to avoid gastrointestinal Armageddon?

- 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).

- This morning while cleaning the crock pot, I noticed that the baking soda I was using was foaming up, as if i had added an acid like vinegar. So, I poured some baking soda in a clean bowl, to see if it was the water. It foamed! Is there a reason my tap water would be so acid? The only thing I found on the internet was a vague suggestion the chlorine can cause acidity in the water.

unidentified plants

- Are these Amanita muscaria mushrooms?

- Is all sage edible?

zzzzzzzzzap

- This is a should I eat it?* question of sorts. Exactly how is my Chinese take-out place attempting to kill me? Every time I order dumplings from the Chinese place up the street, I like to warm up the little plastic cup of sauce that comes with the order. I take the lid off, and stick the cup in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Invariably, about 10 seconds into it, there’s a zzzzzzzzap noise and occasionally a flash. I usually (stupidly?) let the microwave keep cooking until I hear a second zap, and then I take out the warmed sauce.

Can I sweet this?

- Can I Eat It Halloween Edition: We bought two giant bags of Willy Wonka assorted candy for Halloween (mostly so I could steal all the BottleCaps). We only went through one, the other is unopened. Can I save it until next year?

- Is it safe to eat this unrefrigerated strawberry jelly? Whole Foods 365 Strawberry Fruit Spread, left out for ~24 hours. The jar says refrigerate after opening. I refrigerated it at the 24-hour point. It’s been a week. Is it safe to eat it? Would you eat it?

- Honey: how can you maintain its fluidity? Has it gone bad when it becomes semi-solid or can it be used?

- Why do these supermarket berries feel like they’re fizzing? I just bought a small package of mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) from a small supermarket/convenience store (Rabba in Toronto). Some of the berries are cut and others are whole. All of them taste fine but they also give you a fizzing sensation on the tongue, as though they’d been put in soda water..

Can I breathe this?

- Can I get carbon monoxide poisoning from burned food? Today, I made oatmeal on an electric stove … only, I totally forgot about it. When I finally realized, the whole room (very small one-bedroom flat) was filled with smoke, and the oatmeal was thoroughly burned. Everything else is fine, but right now, I’m just worried that I might get carbon monoxide poisoning. Should I rush over to the emergency room right now, or can I wait till Monday to see a doctor?

Can I Greek this?

- Is this a food allergy? What might be causing it? And “can I eat this”? Years ago, my new-ish boyfriend’s parents took us out to dinner at a Greek seafood restaurant. When my food arrived, it wasn’t quite as described on the menu, but I ate it anyway because I didn’t want to make a fuss in front of boyfriend’s parents. I became nauseated, developed a massive headache, and had stomach cramps, all night. (The boyfriend sat with me, eventually falling asleep on the floor holding my hand. Awww.) [...] So, that boyfriend and I have now been married more than 10 years, so it’s been a long while. We went back to that restaurant for the first time.

Can I sleep this

- What does this “sleepy level” sticker on my candy mean?

Can I squeak this?

- So I think I ate part of a mouse. What should I do?

some sandwich thoughts

A reminder: the next Sandwich Party is on the horizon! If you haven’t marked your calendars and consulted your local breadmaker, pencil it in now — Sandwich Party III lifts off Friday, April 3rd, and keeps going through the weekend!

Bert Vaux’s Dialect Survey asks “What do you call the long sandwich that contains cold cuts, lettuce, and so on?” [Note the polling error: it’s “an Italian,” not “an Italian sandwich.”]

Take a look at Scanwiches, where you can see sandwiches scanned in cross-section. Mmmm, mustard smears. I first saw scanwiches on Metafilter, but it didn’t tickle my blog-bone until Simon emailed the link to Jagosaurus and me, nudging us toward another Sandwich Party.

The hive mind at Ask Metafilter tackles some sandwich questions:

- How To Stuff a Wild Panini!
- What cheese combination makes for the best grilled cheese?

- The challenge: 125 sandwiches suitable for quartering, most of which can be made the day before.
- Ideas for delicious vegetarian sandwiches? I’m going on a picnic with a vegetarian friend, and I want to make some sandwiches that are more exciting than just cheese or PB&J.

- Is Pizza a Sandwich? [NO! Pizza is a bread. If you put some foodstuff between two pieces of pizza, that would be a sandwich. Also: that would be awesome.]