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


up the academy

Heads up, movie buffs: Mr. Videoport Jones (a.k.a., The Fella) and intrepid reporter Justin Ellis will be live-blogging the Oscars for the Portland Press Herald. The NXT Gal and I will be with them in the isolation booth, mixing cocktails and cracking wise. You can count yourself in on the Facebook event page, and tune in to the NXT Generation on Sunday night!

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


I recently spent an hour trying to overcome some NoScript issues so The Fella could set up a Facebook account. To check things out, I signed into my own long dormant account

And I decided, despite my previous kvetching, to give it a try.

(I’m currently reserving Facebook, logically enough, for people I know face-to-face. It’s mostly to preserve the illusion of distance between the Elsa known to the professors and administrators and the Elsa who swears fluently and tells goofy stories in the hazy world inside the tubes.)

If nothing else, Facebook allowed me to message a friend who’s been otherwise unreachable, and to see the comment stream of a loved one who’s been too overwhelmed to use email or phone. I’ll cheerfully admit that’s handy.

Otherwise… well…

In a week or so, I’ve had exactly one flashing moment of illumination: I saw how this network could hook you but good, like buying scratch tickets or playing craps. I was idly looking up a grade school friend — a girl I hadn’t seen in 25 years and several thousand miles. To confirm that the profile was indeed my old friend and not someone else with her name, I check to see if her sister (also a one-time friend of mine) was among her contacts. She was

… and the sister lives here, in my small hometown, a town neither of them had ever heard of when we met in Texas.

It flushed me like a win at roulette, this odd little nothing of happenstance. I shook my head and thought “What are the odds?

And then I closed both profiles without contacting either, because, y’know, what’s the point? If we’d wanted to be in touch in the past 25 years, I guess I would’ve made an effort earlier, or they would’ve. But I didn’t, and they didn’t, and so we didn’t.

This pretty well sums up my response to Facebook in general: cool! But what’s the point?


Good advice from the internet!

– Not Martha’s Megan points out that “if you place a quarter over the cap of a bottle of beer before you open it, the top of the cap won’t bend and you can put it back on the bottle so the beer will keep overnight.” This is going to come in handy for the big bottles of scrumpy I buy, as well as the clamp-top Sparkling shiraz.

– Several of Evany’s rules to live by are my rules, too, and especially #2: “A lapel pin will make you feel better about almost anything.” It’s true. Try it on the jacket you just pulled out of storage, and see if you don’t feel better about April showers (whichever your hemisphere).

– Maggie stocks her pantry with a hands-off cheese plate kit: “We used to eat all the yummy snacks ourselves, and then have sliced fudgesicles and dry pasta curls when people came over. Now, once something goes in the jar, it’s for guests only.” Though I usually keep a decent assortment of dry goods on the shelf, designating it as entertainment rations makes a lot of sense… especially since you’d need to replace it periodically with fresh supplies, at which time you can give yourself permission to snarfle up the guest-only goodies.

– That’s my advice, by the way: “treat yourself like an honored guest.” You should afford yourself and your family the same small graces you would offer a guest. Use the pretty soap, the luxury sheets, and the nice wine glasses.

– Steve offers his traditional Valentine’s Day tip for a happy home: “The person who is home first must make a small fuss when the other person gets there.
Does it sound silly? Yes. Do I promise that it will set the tone for a nicer evening just about every time you do it? Yes.”

Joolie knows that, even when the meteor shower is a bust, “it’s never a waste to spend two hours on a blanket looking at the sky and drinking beer with a cute guy.”

For the ages

The Grim Reaper age estimator consistently assesses me as ten years younger. I could pretend that student life keeps me fresh and hip, but we all know it’s the hopping, the hopping, the incessant hopping that makes me look like a goofy kid.

Can you guess a stranger’s age? I’m woefully inaccurate, unless I perceive the stranger to be objectionably dressed or groomed, in which case my ability spikes eerily. Odd.

Are you a sweet widdle baby on Jupiter?

The graphic representing the sudden and astonishing popularity of my first name (which, N.B., is not Elsa) will crush you all!* See how popular your name has been over the decades, at The Baby Name Wizard.

*When I was 17 and working in retail, I was routinely assaulted by chastizing maternal voices scolding me. “[Elsa], put that down!” Each time, I would spin around, startled by the vehemence of her order, only to find it was yet another mother speaking (of course) to her five-year-old daughter.

A couple of years ago in a college classroom, I was musing over the popularity of the same name for the 18-year-olds sitting around me; it was not uncommon to have three or four of us in a 50-person class. Then I was truck by a jolting realization: these 18-year-olds were the same generation as the five-year-olds. I’m the one who’s fifteen years late.