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?

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

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?

Can I eat this? April 2011

[update: there's a second April 2011 installment of Can I eat this? questions here, and don't forget the archives!]

It’s been a loooooong time since my last round-up of Can I eat this? questions from Ask Metafilter. Let’s dive in:

nuts and grains

- Is a green foam on steel cut oats normal?

- “Should I eat this?”-filter. Left a jar of peanut butter open on my counter and went out of town for 5 days. The house usually stays pretty cool. Safe to eat?

- Should my freshly opened bag of Hammons Black Walnuts taste like bleu cheese? I ate several, am I going to to suffer or die?

produce

- There’s a live moth living in a package of unopened, spinach. Should I cause a stink with the packing company?

- I bought a pumpkin a couple weeks before Halloween, and never did anything with it. Is it too late?

- Is my basil okay even if it’s now a different color?

- What kind of fruit or vegetable is this? And more important, can I eat it? [...] They’re growing on the fence itself. They’re orange with red fleshy seeds like pomegranates or something. So are these things edible? Is that what the skunks are eating? And, on a related note, can I eat them as well?

- SO what’s this OTHER thing growing on my backyard tree. And more important, will I soon be able to eat it?

- Will it be safe to eat vegetables that have been grown in soil containing decorative plant fertilizer capsule / pellets?

- I use a lot of Iceberg lettuce. And I usually don’t wash it if I’m making a sandwich. [...] Am I doing a stupid thing by eating it without washing it first?

- Is my cauliflower still edible? It spent 2 nights in the trunk of the car, and probably froze and thawed twice. The cauliflower is now a rubber, water-saturated mass that stinks to high heaven. But it stills like cauliflower, just stronger – so it doesn’t exactly smell nasty.

- I roasted some butternut squash about a week ago, but haven’t yet used it. It’s been in the refrigerator the whole time. Think it’s safe to eat? How long might it last before it goes bad?

- A friend gave me some freshly picked porcini (boletus) mushrooms. Some of the bigger ones which looked fine on the outside, were almost hollow and full of bugs inside.

- I tried to microwave some asparagus and it started sparking. What is going on?

- Can I eat the grapes (?) that are growing on my building?

cheese

- When putting away our Christmas Groceries my husband overlooked putting the cheese in the fridge. A container of Parmesan shavings and two hunks of soft goat cheese were left out all night. Should we toss or keep?

- Should raw milk raclette smell like this? I bought a wedge of raw milk raclette tonight at Whole Foods. I have never tried a cheese I haven’t liked, but the internet suggests raclette has a pleasant smell, and it’s sweet/nutty/etc, whereas mine definitely has a strong sweaty sock smell.

- Someone ordered me a nice selection of Spanish cheeses for my birthday. It was shipped on Monday, according to the packing slip. It reached my office during business hours on Tuesday, but I was out that day and yesterday. The box sat there until today, when I brought it home. I opened it just now, and found 4 vacuum-packed cheeses in a little styrofoam cooler with a cold-pak — but everything was at room temperature. The box was labeled PERISHABLE. The cheeses themselves are labeled KEEP REFRIGERATED.

eggs

- Duck(?) laid an egg on my balcony. What do I do now? [...] I don’t want to leave the egg out there without it being taken care of. I don’t know enough to tell if it’s fertilized, either – if it is, can I expect that the parent duck will come back to incubate it? Will the fact that I picked it up affect anything? Can I eat it?

- Can-I-Eat-This-Filter, Thanksgiving edition. Assembled an apple pie tonight, planned to bake it tomorrow morning, but accidentally put the egg white wash on the top crust tonight. If I keep it in the fridge all night and bake it tomorrow morning, it won’t kill anyone, right?

- Raw egg white shakes from my own chickens? Would I be safe or would I be playing Russion Roulette?

- What’s the 411 on home grown eggs? A guy at work has some chickens and is sharing the bounty. Don’t laugh, I was raised entirely on hamburger helper, microwaved chicken and green beans from a can. I am just venturing out into this strange world of ‘fresh’ food.

poultry

- Why shouldn’t I eat a goose from Central Park?

- I accidentally switched the oven off part way through roasting my chicken and left it off for 30-45 minutes. Can I put the oven back on again and end up with a safe-to-eat chicken?

- Food safety-filter. Was this cooked, frozen chicken breast mishandled, or am I giving in to my own hypersensitive food safety guidelines? [...] My family thinks that because the chicken was precooked, it didn’t matter that it was left out for several hours in the heat, then placed back in the fridge, then to be cooked again tomorrow. I say that bacteria doesn’t care if chicken is raw or cooked.

meat

- We have some raw bratwursts from a local co-op. They look good but the casing looks kind of papery; the best I can describe is like thin reddish-colored newspaper; it tears like paper, but it’s on the sausages tight. Do any bratwurst experts know what this might be? Does this have to be removed, and if so, at what stage?

- Food Safety Filter (sorry): Is this stew meat safe to eat? We just bought it today. Sell by date is October 6. Meat is deeply brown-red, with areas that are brown enough to look cooked already.

- Should I eat it? Seared beef cubes, put in crock pot, forgot to plug it in … Timeline: Yesterday afternoon: seared all sides of about 20 stew beef cuts and put in small crockpot with our usual flavorings (salt, pepper, oregano, cumin). Poured boiling hot water from frying pan into crockpot to cover. Forgot to plug in crockpot. This morning: 18 hours later (probably one or two hours less), remembered. Out of curiosity I plugged it in and went to work. This evening: It smells delicious.

- Newly pregnant, ate a small bite of prosciutto. I would like to finish it. Can I?

- Is it safe to eat meat that has thawed and been in room temperature for about 6 hours, and then refrigerated again?

- Being a former vegetarian, I’m unfamiliar with cooking beef. I wanted it thawed fast and don’t have a microwave, so I put it in a sink of HOT water. THen I started reading up online, and apparently hot water is a big no-no, can cause bacterial growth…

- [This one's not a can-I-eat-it but a can-you-name-it.] Mystery Meat. My aunt gave me this meat a month ago. I can’t remember what she said it was. I vaguely remember the word “breakfast.” What kind of meat is it and how should I prepare it?

SEAFOOD!

- Can I eat it, oyster edition: I left a jar of fresh yearling oysters at room temperature while I went snowboarding. I was gone for approximately 10 hours, and when I came home the temperature in the apartment was 66°F, but it was around 70°F when I left. The jar is labeled “Perishable” and “Refrigerate”, but the sell-by date is April 17th. I plan to season and cook them in some way tomorrow and use them as the filling for a French omelette. Will I die?

- [sushi at home] can i do it without poisoning myself?

- I defrosted farmer’s market catfish in the refrigerator 48 hours ago. It’s still sitting in the fridge now. You know what’s coming, don’t you? Is it safe to eat?

- Is it safe to [eat] my ceviche yet?

canned goods, condiments, seasonings

- Will I paralyze myself and everyone I know with these pickled beans?

- Should I add more liquid to my refrigerator pickles?

- Opening a can of tomato paste, the contents spewed out. Can I eat this? I actually tossed the first little can that did this, but the second did it, too. There was no bulging of the can ends. I can’t find a decipherable expiration date anywhere. I bought them recently.

- Paranoid filter: I ate one bite of a pumpkin butter that was given to me as a Christmas gift last December. Should I fear botulism?

- Is it OK to store my spices in a shipping container for 2 weeks?

spirits and wine

- Why is my homemade walnut vodka infusion FIZZING after its first night? Am I going to die?

- Wine Question: I’ve got a bottle of 2003 Radford Dale Gravity, Stellenbosch, South Africa. Is it still “good”?

- How long does champagne last? I received a corked/boxed/sealed bottle of 1996 Dom last January, and I’ve been saving it… I just don’t know how long it’s safe to keep.

- Is our bottle of Kahlua still good? We opened it four years ago (on St. Patrick’s Day, actually) and promptly forgot about it. It’s sat on a high shelf at a fairly constant temperature. It’s about 80 percent full. It still smells OK. Wasn’t going to taste it without input from the hive.

- There are some floating solids in my small bottle of Rhum. Is it still drinkable ? I received the complimentary bottle of Rhum in early 2010 from an Air France flight.

- I bought this bottle of rum at a flea market. It says Geseco bay rum on it. and at the bottom says the Goodman Chemical Co., Bush Terminal, Brooklyn NY. Is it worth anything? Is it safe to drink? Whats the history behind it?

- I have both unopened and opened bottles of liquor. Can you tell me if these are okay to serve or does this sort of thing expire? Should I toss them out?
- unopened bottle of vodka, several years old
- unopened bottle of red wine, a couple of years old
- opened bottles of whiskey and rum and gin and others. They were opened several years ago.

sweets

- [Can-I-eat-this-filter] I left a piece of chocolate in a plastic wrapping on a place where it got too hot. The chocolate in it melted completely, the plastic did not. However, another piece of plastic, lying beneath it, started to melt. The chocolate reached maybe 60-70 degrees celsius. Are there any harmful toxins which may have migrated into the chocolate at this temperature?

- Why did all my jam “fall” to the TOP of the jar? I got some store-bought jam, used it once, then put it in the fridge. The next time I went to use it (about 2 weeks later), all the jam was moved to the top of the jar, up against the lid, as though it had been stored upside down. At the bottom of the jar was an empty gap. What caused this?

- Three christmasses gone, my wife and I bought some fudge. I’ve just found it in the back of the cupboard — can I eat it? It’s basically just sugar, that never goes off, right?

- Wedding filter: An acquaintance and her husband recently sampled their anniversary cake (the one that spends the year after the wedding in the freezer). The groom got violently ill from the cake. Is there any mythology surrounding this tradition that will allow this possible omen to be interpreted correctly?

equipment

- Marital Discord filter: After a 30+ hour power outage I open the freezer and touch the ice cubes and discover the ice cubes are still completely frozen on top with no moisture. I declare all the items in the freezer safe to eat. Is this correct?

- Does broiling empty nonstick pans kill them?

- Are unglazed quarry tiles safe for use in an oven?

- Glass bottles that were in hot water with some dilute generic store brand WD-40, so they got some residue on them. I need to make them safe and clean for flavored vodkas for human consumption. Please help!

- A mouse may probably took a shit in my well-seasoned wok. How thoroughly must I clean it?

a new pet!

- There’s a fuzzy blob in my fridge! We named her Squishy Honey. What is she?

meta

- I would like to know if other people commonly feel that food they have bought needs to be thrown out because it is somehow contaminated, or whether I’m actually too hyper about this. Often — more than once a week — I throw out food because something seems to be wrong with it.

- Several of my housemates will throw things out the moment they reach the ‘sell by’ date and it’s sort of been a running joke that I’m the one who’ll drink juice a month past it’s expiration date if it doesn’t taste bad or scrape mold off the top of jelly and eat the rest (I only did it because it was really really delicious homemade jelly). Recently, my bio-chem studying housemate took it up a notch by telling me that I’d only do something like that because I don’t understand the molecular-whatever-whatever of mold on food/ all the sightless, odorless bacteria lurking in my expired food.

is it stll?

Every day, a few visitors end up at macbebekin by asking some form of the question Can I eat this? Here are those questions, reproduced with original spelling and wording. Our referral logs cut off the longer search strings mid-phrase, giving an appropriately hectic, hurried air to the questions.

In almost every case, the answer is a resounding no: NO NO NO, you cannot eat that.

left my fish out overnight. is it stll
is it safe to keepcooked chicken in the
chinese chow mein left out unrefrigerate
safe to eat expired dough
“re-cook it” “left out overnight”
how quickly do eggs go bad sitting in a
i left my ham sandwiches in my bag for 3
whats wrong with my blue cheese dressing
can you get sick if iced tea is left out
is overripe brie dangerous to eat?
raw chicken smells a bit eggy
if cheese melts in car is bit still safe
how long can cooked black beans be unref
pork smells like rotten eggs
will pesto be ok if left out overnight?
blue cheese left out overnite, can i sti
pork roast smells like sulfer
left turkey in truck of hot car for 6 ho
is it safe to eat the bugs in pistachios
how long can stuffed shells be unrefrige
fried clams left out 24 hours are they o
how long does a ham sandwich last unrefr
open pickle jar left in hot car safe
unrefrigerated egg beaters
is it safe to eat hard boiled eggs left
i left out cooked artichokes overnight c
do black beans rot if left outside refri
emergency room food poisoning expired ch
can i eat 7 day old chicken
will it make me sick to eat shrimp sitti
bug that eats bread and leaves behind sl
medjool dates with white spots

a single search

It’s about time for another round-up of our most revolting (and overwhelmingly most common) category of search engine terms that lead people here… and I promise that long, stomach-turning list is coming. But for today, I’ll just share with you my favorite of this week’s Can I eat this? searches:

how sick “ham sandwich” “day-old”

It think it’s the resignation that gets to me. The searcher assumes s/he’ll get sick. The question is: how sick?

search strings, March 2010

A surprising number of our visitors arrive here by searching for food safety guidelines. Our search log cuts off longer search strings in midword, leading to some mysterious truncations that give the selected list an eerie, poetic air.

The searchers are misled to Macbebekin by the varied and revolting Can I eat this? archives, but many of them do click through to the related Ask Metafilter questions, so perhaps they’re getting answers to their questions after all. And their questions usually boil down to the same thing: can I eat this?

is it ok to reheat shellfish
are moldy dried beans safe to eat?
‘botulism semi dried tomatoes olive oil’
pork smells like rotten eggs
fizzy tomato sauce botulism?
i left sweet tea out overnight then dran
is it safe to eat ham if it’s been unref
my stuffed shells were left out overnigh
salmon left out overnight safe eat
how long can beef stay in a 60 degree ho
can you get sick from eating shrimp that
sick from eating fermented applesauce
unrefrigerated curry paste go bad
pork smell overnight in fridge
what is black residue bottom of expired
can i use a can of coconut milk that exp
i bouhgt a frozen dinner but only had a
can you eat boiled shrimp six days old
will i get sick if i eat 5 day old scall
i left a duck on the counter all night c
how long is spaghetti sauce safe to eat
can i eat pancetta raw
does chicken broth smell like eggs
is my cheese and ham sandwich still ok t
tuna can little bulge on top of can is i
how long can you eat a sandwich that had
if i left my raw shrimp out all night wi
how long do condiment packets last
how long before unrefrigerated pork must
medjool dates powdery white spoiled
fizzy tomato sauce botulism?
is it ever safe to eat unrefrigerated le
how long before unrefrigerated turkey sa
how long ccan egg beaters be left out of
is crabmeat and cream cheese left at roo
left giblet bag in chicken 2
my stuffed shells were left out overnigh
can i safely cook and eat smelly pork?
if you put frozen shrimp cocktail in the
clams left out on counter. still safe to

And the volta:

is it okay to eat a sandwich that has be
safe to eat pasta dough that turned gree

Can I eat this? February 2010

Again, it’s time for a round-up of my favorite informal category of questions from the archives of Ask Metafilter. In this collection of Can I eat it? questions, the subsets are a little fuzzy. Fuzzy with mold? Well, that too.

asking for trouble?
- “I’ve got a stew that might be just a little bit too old, maybe four or five days old. It doesn’t smell funny or anything.”

- “ShouldIEatIt Filter: We both ate the same thing. He threw up, I’m fine. Is it OK to eat the leftovers?”

the outdoors is not a refrigerator
- “I have some delicious leftover Vietnamese food that has a lot of seafood in it, but no room for me to put it in my minibar. Can I keep this on my window ledge outside overnight and eat it in the morning without having to worry about spoilage?”

- “beef rib roast left out overnight at 50-60 degrees farenheit — any chance it’s still edible?”

- “I just received some delicious-looking raw-milk cheese in the mail. It was room temperature. It does not appear molded. It is shrink-wrapped.”

nor is the kitchen counter
- “Should I Eat This? Filter: cooked black beans left in a pot overnight.

- “sometimes I make about 1.5 gallons of soup in a big pot [...] I leave it in the pot on the stove to cool. In the morning I pour it into tupperware and put it into the fridge.”

and sometimes, the refrigerator is not a refrigerator
- “I took the chicken (4 boneless, skinless breasts) from the freezer, put it into the fridge to thaw on Monday. It was still frozen by Monday’s dinner, so I figured I would cook it Tuesday. Tuesday the power went out at the house for 2 hours.” [Ed.: note that the question was posted on Thursday.]

scary dairy
- “my mother used to put a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in milk to keep it fresh past the ‘use by’ date. it appears to work. very well. what’s the chemistry behind this? and should i drink it?”

- “What sort of dairy product did I inadvertently create?”

poolish!
- “Can I keep a batch of poolish in the fridge for a few days, or do I start over?”

animal crackers
- “The good news: My beloved grandma sent me a package of the special cookies she only makes at Christmastime once every couple of years. I love these cookies. The bad news: While the package was sitting on my stoop, the squirrels ripped into the package and chewed open the plastic bag the cookies were in.”

- “Can I still eat this steak even though ants have already partaken?

won’t somebody think of the children?
- “If I eat mussels steamed in beer am I putting my unborn baby at risk of birth defects or fetal alcohol syndrome?”

the ever-popular category of unexpectedly green foodstuffs
- “If your potatoes turn green, can you safely turn them back to brown?”

- “I adapted a peanut butter cookie recipe: included the sunflower seed butter (which has a few seeds in it), margarine, flour, baking soda, sugar, salt and one egg. When they first came out, they looked normal inside, though they were more cakey than crispy. By two hours later, any part of the cookie not exposed to air turned a deep shade of green.

not-food is not food
- “[...] My question is, If this stuff is 100% cocoa butter, why can’t I eat it? What will happen if I do?”

- “Has anyone ever eaten those marshmallow baits that you see in bait shops? If so, how were they?”

OH HELL YES, EAT IT
- “Should I eat it? Duck fat from one week ago. [...] There is now a brick of cooked duck fat with a small layer of the meaty dripping trapped underneath.”

search strings, Thanksgiving 2009

edited to add a bit of blog business: I hope anyone reading this won’t find their appetite diminished. Don’t forget that the fourth Sandwich Party starts this weekend. Jagosaurus and I will be rounding up the entries all weekend long, so get your sandwiches ready and leave us a comment, here or there. Happy sandwiching!

Happy Thanksgiving! Please enjoy this selection of search phrases leading readers to Macbebekin this week. They’re drawn here by the varied and revolting Can I eat this? archives, and many of them click through to the linked Ask Metafilter questions to find answers, more or less, to their food safety questions.

Our search logs cut off longer search strings mid-word, which lends a poignant mystery to them; we’ll never know, for example, whether the chicken broth smells like rotted or smells like rotting, or what the noun might be.

left giblet bag in safeway turkey
why does my chicken broth smell like rot
is it dangerous to eat olives from fizzi
if you brine the turkey and forgot to pu
blue tint to brined turkey
is canned ham safe if left unrefrigerate
i life my turkey out overnight-can i sti
brined turkey smell rotten eggs
2 year expired turkey ok to eat
i left my turkey on the counter for 3hou
i left my turkey in the car for 5 hours
chicken broth smells like rotten eggs

and the fiercely determined

to hell with vegetarians on thanksgiving