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This chicken safe to use?

To joonjoon:

joonjoon, the reason I cannot disregard expiration dates is because I am--just ;-)--old enough to remember when this and other consumer safety, ingredient and nutritional information was *not* provided to shoppers. I can remember when these practices were legislated and enacted, and I understand the reasons and incidents that brought them about. I truly believe this labeling is justified, in some cases for safety and in others so that consumers get maximum value for their grocery dollars through optimal freshness. I'm not a person who believes in big government or too much government intervention in our personal lives, but consumer safety is one area in which I think, having remembered times when *everything* was "caveat emptor", our protection agencies get a lot of things right.

Also, like some others here, I have been taught that smell, taste and sight aren't always reliable signs of safety.

Dec 31, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

This chicken safe to use?

It seems to me that you've brought up two very important points that too often are overlooked (from what I--admittedly not an expert myself--have read on many occasions from many sources).

The first is your use of the phrase "four hours total". I'm not sure the point always gets across that the rule is four hours *total*, cumulatively, and that any time poultry and other vulnerable foods spend outside of proper refrigeration during transportation, unloading, the ride home, during the time we consumers may spend repackaging it, defrosting it, prep or just when we inadvertently raise the temp in the fridge above 40 by holding the door open too long or putting hot or warm foods in there--every minute counts toward that 4-hour limit.

The other thing is that we talk about the "germs" or bacteria often enough, but you're right to bring up the toxins that they produce after feeding.

Dec 31, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

This chicken safe to use?

You've had food poisoning three times? That's scary, Shane...but I *know* our food supply is NOT as clean as it could be/should be.

Dec 31, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

This chicken safe to use?

I think you're absolutely right re Howard Hughes. My problem is when people automatically assume I'm neurotic about these things. It's pretty presumptuous to assume you can know what a person whom you've never met is like simply because they ask a food safety question or would like to know whether a storage limit we've been taught our whole lives is still recommended, or, if it is, how far we can push it, etc.

You haven't treated me that way at all and I appreciate it. Very interesting to read your experiences and practices overseas. My own guidelines while traveling have been much like yours. Whether I was traveling for business, which I did frequently for many years, or for pleasure, in neither situation did I care to risk becoming ill, so I was careful about uncooked produce in certain countries, water sources or just certain preparations that might be richer than I was generally used to eating. Just common sense rules that yet didn't stop me from trying new foods or experiencing new cuisines. I'm of the philosophy that you have adventures *and* take reasonable care of yourself simultaneously.

We expose ourselves to germs in my household that I *know* other people choose not and find distasteful. For example, we live very closely with our pets who sleep on our beds with us and are allowed on the sofas, etc. That risk is worth it to us, just as the risk with my chicken would be worth it to other people. Everybody's got to find his/her own comfort level with risks and the best way to do that is to get information, as I said in another post, from the most credible sources you can find after utilizing sensible critical thinking.

I couldn't agree with you more regarding the changes that have come about in purchasing produce in supermarkets. I think the excessive packaging has caused me more problems than it solves, in terms of opening a package to find fruits or tomatoes that I would not have chosen had I been able to inspect all the way around the items, feel them for firmness, etc., as you mentioned, smell them in certain cases where that is helpful. On the pieces of fruit that are still sold loose, I can't tell you how many I turn all the way around only to find puncture marks. Those I obviously reject, but if they were packaged I wouldn't have that opportunity. I can properly wash a skin-intact plum that other people may have handled, but I can't do much about a fruit whose interior may be contaminated

Dec 31, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

This chicken safe to use?

rw, is your husband doing it in the French way--in this soup pot always on? I guess not, huh... Well, I doubt that I'd "freak out"...but I'd probably come up with a polite way to say, "Oh, thank you; it looks delicious, but I've already eaten." ;-D

I don't think I want to learn to relax about food safety. I figure I've already dodged enough bullets in my life. Some things I can't control, and I'm cool with that reality, but some things I can.

:-D re the toxic waste. Believe it or not, I didn't even know until about two or three years ago that we're supposed to wash the chicken itself before cooking it, though I knew to clean thoroughly all the surfaces with which it came in contact. Now of course I do also wash the chicken.

Dec 29, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

This chicken safe to use?

It's always been my understanding from whatever I read that it's fine to use the microwave to defrost proteins as long as they're going to be cooked immediately. If you think about it, it doesn't really seem different from the initial minutes of conventional cooking, when the food's temperature will be raised, but obviously not to the safe zone until cooking is finished. To me, shaogo, what made all the difference was the combination of the microwave and then the delay in cooking the chicken. Does that make sense?

On another question, re your last paragraph, what bugs me is that I've "caught" a couple of different, reputable supermarket chains putting a second sell-by date on meats and poultry when it doesn't sell by the first date. By "caught", I mean that I've peeled back the label with the sell-by date to find another label with an earlier sell-by date covered up (in one case) and then (in another case) the remnants of a sell-by date that the store obviously tried to tear off. I also can't think of a store (supermarket or independent) that I've shopped in where I haven't found dairy and dry goods on the shelves past their expiration dates. With a lot of dry goods, that doesn't render them unsafe so much as it does just not the freshest. With dairy, obviously, it's a different story. Then we have a different situation here in parts of Connecticut and New York. New York City is more stringent about sell-by dates (at least on dairy) than the surrounding jurisdictions. So when I buy milk, it usually has two different dates on it: the sell-by date and then the New York City sell-by date, which is significantly earlier.

My point is that I don't have the utmost faith that stores are scrupulous about food's freshness, to begin with. To some degree consumers can get around this by educating themselves on the signs of freshness or age in foods or for those of us on the coast, for example, buying fish from fishmongers who get stuff in daily, etc. But for those of us especially who live in areas of small towns, we often don't have many alternative sources. So these are additional reasons that I don't feel comfortable about pushing food too far.

Dec 29, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

why have stand mixers replaced hand mixers?

Some of the KA colors are so pretty and cheerful. I got the Pistachio, but since then KA came out with a beautiful mid-tone blue (cornflower, maybe?), I wish I could trade it in. :-) Mine is in an easily accessible cabinet right below one of my work spaces, very convenient for me. If I used it even a little bit more, I might leave it out, too, but so far the only time of the year I do that is in December, when it's working overtime. ;-)

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Cookware

Help me find a cookbook for an unadventurous cooking novice...

I have my mother's copy, Sal. It's a 1950 edition and it's funny how accurate the information remains, even though so much about cooking and food has changed since then. As I said, though, I haven't looked at a newer edition, so I don't know how more recent issues compare.

When when I want a recipe, something basic or one of the mid-Century classics, I can *always* count on the BC Cookbook. Never fails and the recipes are broken down into easy steps, easy to follow.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

This chicken safe to use?

Yep. A good reminder, beggsy, not to buy fish or poultry if the fish/meat departments have that smell. When the store is properly cleaned, you shouldn't smell the cleaning agents. When you do, it represents an effort to mask the smell of old fish or poultry. Sure tip-off not to buy if he store smells of bleach.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

This chicken safe to use?

Yes, mcf, I have one thermometer in the fridge and a second one in the freezer compartment. This refrigerator maintains temps very well and recovers quickly after the door has been opened too often or for too long, as sometimes happens in families. ;-) I know the fridge is doing its part, at the proper temps. But it is possible that the chicken had been out of the fridge near or slightly over the cumulative four-hour rule, between shopping, repackaging for freezing and the prep on Christmas Day, before I determined I had pulled out too much chicken for the recipe. So concerned me, too, in addition to the other factors. Thanks for the affirmation. You know, sometimes it's difficult to know what to do until you actually make the decision, but once you do, you realize you did the right thing, not to take a chance.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

This chicken safe to use?

Yes, I agree, Shane. I notice that when posters ask a question like this one there do always seem to be a few responses that seem to patronize the OP for being overly cautious, phobic, the stooge of governmental agencies' too-careful guidelines, what have you. I knew if I put up this question I would meet with some of those sentiments, because it generally happens, but I also knew that plenty of CHers on both sides of the issue would do their best to try to help me, sincerely, with the best experience they had. So I asked the question, because I needed help. I've been cooking--safely, I might add--for decades now, and I know the rule for raw poultry--one or two days, max, in the fridge, otherwise freeze. I wasn't sure in this instance, because of two factors--one, I had previously frozen the chicken and, two, the chicken had already been in the fridge for more than 24 hours to defrost *and* then I used the microwave to defrost it *and* then it would have sat in the fridge for yet another 72 hours, had I cooked it today.

I really appreciate the responses from all the people who would have used the chicken anyway, but treated my question with respect and not as an invitation to assess either my psychological profile or gullibility factor. I think the thing we all should keep in mind is that there are plenty of young or inexperienced cooks who visit here to seek information and some of them may not yet be aware of even those most basic food safety rules that most of us would agree need to be followed. I would really hate to see those visitors discouraged from asking any question for fear of being laughed at or put down. So far as I'm concerned, when it comes to things we put in our mouths or feed our children, there's no such thing as a dumb question. Just my opinion.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

This chicken safe to use?

I'm so sorry to hear about your husband, eliz. My best friend acquired E Coli from improperly cleaned berries at a restaurant. She spent six weeks in the hospital, a good portion of that in intensive care, and now has lifelong health repercussions. I really, truly hope your hubby has no residual effects. Very scary business.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

This chicken safe to use?

Thanks for the moral support, j. I care about not wasting things and fel guilty tossing it. It was my own error. But my responsibility to my family is more important, and I feel now that it was the right choice, not to risk their health, even if the risk was nanno-tiny. Re the roulette, I've been taught my whole life that raw poultry and raw seafood are no places for bravado or saving a couple of bucks, and I guess that won out.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

This chicken safe to use?

I don't think you were disrespectful at all, SIMI, and so far as cooking goes, I don't there's any better education than hands-on homecooking for all those years. You know, it's sometimes just a judgment call, I think. I tend to be very conservative about these things, which is why I worried enough about it in the first place to come ask the board. So far as I know I've never caused a foodborne illness to myself, my family or guests, but who's to say for sure which approach is right--a very stringent one or a more relaxed one? It just could be that I'm lucky, too, because as we know germs and things exist and no matter what we do, we'll never get rid of all of them (nor would we want to).

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

This chicken safe to use?

I don't think being judicious about food is paranoia, especially in this day and age when some of the sources we get our food from aren't as clean as they could be, to begin with.

But if being as careful as I can not to serve my family tainted food means I'm paranoid, I'll wear that label happily.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

This chicken safe to use?

The reason I gave credence to the information I read on the topic is because it came from a couple of sources that are credible to me, rw. One was foodreference.com, whose information on other matters has generally seemed to align with what I know to be true and one was a university extension service.

While I agree with you that we have to be careful not to acceot too easily questionable information and rumor from unreliable or amateur sites, I believe that we also have to be careful not to automatically reject info just because it came off the Internet. It's like any other source in the world, whether book, television, magazine, discussions...we have to use our critical thinking skills to evaluate what we hear.

Btw, I'm not a person who is too easily influenced by scary stuff I read (if anything, I've got the type personality that sometimes might push the envelope a little too far for the sake of adventure and life experience), but some things are just common sense. I did not feel good about throwing out that protein that I know so many people in the world really need, but you were right, in your last paragraph. I would have been so nagged by the worry that I might make my family sick, and in the end, my first commitment is to look after their well being.

Thanks for helping me think it through, rw. I appreciate it, even though it appears our decisions would have been different in this case.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

why have stand mixers replaced hand mixers?

I bake very few sweets, Mike. Generally, only at Christmas and birthday cakes.

Most of the baking I do comprises savory yeast breads, savory quick breads (those I hand mix) and things like pizza dough or doughs for appetizers. Then of course you can get a number of attachments for the KA (and I presume a Hobart, too?) that allow for tasks that have nothing to do with baking (e.g., the pasta attachment, sausage attachment....others here would have to tell you more about them).

You know what you need and want, of course. Not trying to be pushy; just wanted to note it's been very useful to me, even though I don't make many desserts or treats, at all.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Cookware

why have stand mixers replaced hand mixers?

Honestly, Jerry...as I noted above, I never wanted one, never thought I needed one...but once I got it and had the chance to try it out on a few different recipes, I got rid of a few *other* things to make room for it in one of my cabinets. I can't even remember what they were, so I can't miss them very much, but I know I'd miss the KA. So it probably just depends on what you like to cook/bake and what your own priorities are.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Cookware

In search of a decent toaster that doesn't cost an arm & leg, b/c I'm ready to blow mine up...

Let us know what you decide upon, once you get one. I don't even know what's on the market these days, or what new features there are.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Cookware

Christmas cookbooks--what'd Santa get you? what [if anything] will you buy yourself tomorrow?

greedygirl, beetlebug and Joan--Thank you all for your replies. I'm truly glad to know about this book. It's been a frustrating search (over years). I will definitely look into this, and, beetlebug, thank you for the link. Very helpful.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

Please, please comment on Christmas Lunch/Dinner Menu that has to be sans meat, seafood, and mushrooms

LOL, yes, that would be harsh--not to mention hypocritical of me, considering my own (serious) food allergies, which my friends accommodate. :-D

No problem, danna. Glad we got it straightened out, and I appreciate your considerate post.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

Christmas Dinner on the International Space Station

That was a quick, fun read, J. Interesting to see some of the issues NASA et. al. have to think about it, in coming up with viable foods for the astronauts. For example, the matter of "crumbing", with the cookies. I can imagine that in addition to the normal nuisance crumbs can create here on earth, you wouldn't want them floating around into all that sensitive equipment up there. Or how it would cost $2K to create a viable can of soda.

I never knew that Tang came in flavors besides the original.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Food Media & News

Please, please comment on Christmas Lunch/Dinner Menu that has to be sans meat, seafood, and mushrooms

I'm not sure where you got the idea that I think it's a waste of time to cook for people with mild eccentricities. I think you misinterpreted my post. I can and do (happily) accommodate any of my guests preferences, aversions, allergies and health concerns, as long as I'm able to know about them ahead of time. That was my point. Much better to prepare things guests do like and can eat, then the opposite, and it's really not difficult with a little thought to find things most people can enjoy.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

Please, please comment on Christmas Lunch/Dinner Menu that has to be sans meat, seafood, and mushrooms

Glad to hear it went well, rara. Couldn't agree with you more re doing as much as possible the day ahead. I don't always do as well as I should in that regard, but I'm trying to become more disciplined about selecting my menus with that in mind, and it does make a big difference.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

Help - tired of holiday cooking but still have one dinner to make!

Jenny, if I were going to do a tenderloin in these circumstances, I might go with something basic. My reasoning is that, as sick as some of us are of cooking right now, I think our diners may equally need a break from exotic, rich foods. So I think I think I might go for something fundamental and proven with the tenderloin, such as throwing some onions in the pan, along with a nice bay leaf or two and some Cab or Pinot Noir.

Or, not seafood exactly, but it's easy enough to broil a salmon filet and that would also be something less heavy and generally seems special. Find some nice fresh dill, some new potatoes, maybe some red jackets for color, and an easy veggie such as sauteed fennel or wilted spinach.

I really would go for perhaps-not-so-imaginative, but high quality, simply and well prepared food in the middle of this heavy-food week.

Not something you can really make ahead, but...quick and can still feel special enough...I've had good luck with Ina Garten's recipe for Scampi, to which someone here introduced me. Yes, it does have to be made a la minute, but OTOH, it doesn't take a lot of prep, especially if your market or fishmonger sells cleaned shrimp. A nice salad and a good crusty artisanal loaf of bread picked up at the bakery to soak up the sauce, and there you go.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

This chicken safe to use?

Yes, j, after a bout with indecision, I've come to the same conclusion. It's terrible, to waste food, but next time I'll know better and throw the extra chicken in the stockpot or in the oven *immediately*.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

This chicken safe to use?

Hi. Thank you all for trying to help me.

I did a little more research after I posted last night and read that one should be extra conservative (in terms of keeping times) if a microwave was used as part of the defrosting process. I'm not sure I've got this explanation straight (it was late), but I think the sources said that because while even on reduced power there can be some minimal cooking of the meat, it can create warm areas that are hospitable to bacteria. I really hate to waste the food, but...I've decided not to chance it. I should have thrown it in the stockpot right away on Christmas Day, but I was honestly exhausted (slept the whole next day).

For those of you who recommend the sniff test, for chicken is it essentially like the fish sniff test? In other words, should I not smell a thing?

Thanks again for trying to help me.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

While serving your holiday meals, what did you discover was missing?

Hi, fauchon. Yes, they do exist, though some of them aren't very attractive. But there are various to choose from, so you might find something that suits your table setting. Just google, "thermal gravy boat", but here's one example for you:

http://www.kitchenemporium.com/cgi-bi...

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Cookware

Christmas cookbooks--what'd Santa get you? what [if anything] will you buy yourself tomorrow?

Could you talk about it a little bit, bizkat?

I'm looking for a good, general, information *non-shellfish* fish cookbook. I'm allergic to all shellfish except shrimp. A lot of "fish" cookbooks therefore have a lot of material that's useless, to me. We love the standard cold waters ocean fish, however--flounder, cod, halibut, haddock, salmon, etc., and I would love to find some new ways to fix them. Would this book fit the bill?

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Home Cooking

why have stand mixers replaced hand mixers?

I am head-over-heels crazy about my hand mixer (Braun Multimix) and my stand mixer (KA Artisan), both. Both have lots of useful, fun attachments, are easy to use and clean, and have been completely reliable for about seven years now.

However, each has its place. I couldn't do without the KA. Hand mixers, including my beauty, just do not have the power to properly handle some of the more heavy or dry doughs I make. Hand mixers will overheat on the most substantial tasks. The KA cuts down the mixing time on most jobs, *considerably*, and as others have pointed out, it's a blessing not to have stand there and hold an appliance for ten minutes while it does its work.

Admittedly, there are a couple of items that I feel the Braun is more suited to. I think it's better for whipped potatoes, for example. The KA seems too powerful for that job and if I don't watch the time very carefully, it will turn them to glue. Also, I'm not going to bring out the KA to whip cream.

If I could only have one of them, though, I'd say that the KA is indispensible, but the hand mixer is not (much as I think the Braun is a great product). Because the truth is, with most jobs that don't need a heavy-duty stand mixer, I just mix or whisk by hand. (Not meringue or whipped cream though; I don't have that much patience. But I mean simple cake or quick bread batters.)

I resisted paying the money for one for many years, but now that I've used the KA for seven years, I can understand fully why bakers, especially, can't do without their stand mixers.

Dec 28, 2009
Normandie in Cookware