Thursday, December 31, 2015

That Sinking Feeling...

Two nights ago, I made beef stew (click here for my recipe), and it turned out exceptionally well. Mr. Handsome and I each enjoyed two helpings, but when it came time to clean up, the leftovers (enough for 2-3 additional meals) were still piping hot, so I set them out to cool while we enjoyed a relaxing evening together.

I think you know where I'm headed with this...

When I walked into the kitchen the next morning, my heart sank. There was my delicious stew, still sitting on the counter. The thermostat in our home was set to 69 degrees, which, according to the USDA, is in the "danger zone" for food safety.

Extremely disappointed in myself, I did what any self-respecting homemaker would do. Loading the stew into the fridge temporarily, I scoured the World Wide Web to determine if my masterpiece was salvageable.

(The forum titled "Help! I left beef stew in the kitchen overnight!" provided some consolation, as I realized I'm not the only absentminded cook out there.)

Unfortunately, I didn't find a clear answer to my query.

I came across plenty of people trying to convince me that I would surely die if I even got within 10 feet of the "poisoned" stew (too late), as well as a bunch of ladies who confessed to having eaten meat that had been left out for days on end without experiencing so much as a hint of nausea.

My frugality canceled out my fear of food poisoning, so I brought the stew to a boil and served it for lunch.

And here we are today, with no sign of food-borne illness. I'd like to say that I'll never, ever make the same mistake again, but I can almost guarantee I will...


 Love,
      Ellie

32 comments:

  1. Anonymous12/31/2015

    There's never that much of a problem as long as you boil it first. I'm glad there's other people that do this, too! :)

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  2. Anonymous12/31/2015

    Good move Ellie, you kept a lot of poor souls from mourning over a wasted stew. However an accurate comprehension of food borne bacteria is not something to over step ones limitations in understanding. Many horror stories about ecoli, etc. for bugs, multiplying are true and available somewhere to review. I think your stew was sterile after it was cooked, so there may not have been that many bugs to multiply by doubling every twenty minutes in the danger temperature. Thank goodness for fridges but what happens when the electricity goes out? I am not prepared for that scenario! (According to some that classifies meas a foolish virgin! Maybe true. Time for me to repent!)

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  3. Anonymous12/31/2015

    Oh No!! Did it still taste good? Glad your okay :-)
    Happy New Year!!

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    Replies
    1. Thankfully it still tasted great. :)

      Happy New Year to you, as well!
      Ellie

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  4. Anonymous12/31/2015

    OH Ellie
    Thanks for always making us laugh

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  5. Anonymous12/31/2015

    Ha- cant even count how many times I have done that. Actually just Tuesday night left leftover Christmas dressing in the oven all night (after it was cooked - the oven was off)
    I gave it to the dog and he loved it. What's still irking me tho is that last Wednesday I stopped to pick up milk on my way home from church- and I never thought about it again till the next morning. It stayed in the car all night. We are fortunate to have temps in the 70s as a low overnight here in south alabama two days before Christmas ! No one was allowed to drink it( not even the dog!) a whole gallon down the drain

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  6. Kanadiangirl12/31/2015

    Jtlyk, i regularly leave leftovers out from supper and just use it the next day. Couldn't be bothered to put it away only to drag it out the next day....never had any problems with it.

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  7. Anonymous12/31/2015

    Glad it was still OK!

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  8. Anonymous12/31/2015

    Do u have any New Years Resolutions

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    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      I hope to read through the Bible this year. Check out my latest post: http://www.nashvillewife.com/2016/01/a-goal-for-2016.html

      Blessings,
      Ellie

      Delete
  9. Anonymous12/31/2015

    Your lucky you didn'the get sick. I had eggs in my refrigerator they say the date of December 24. I figured they were ok to eat. After I cooked them they smell funny so I ending up not eating them. My cat lick a little bit if one of them she was sick the next day. I'love never go past the date on anything.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous1/02/2016

      Eggs are something that should be eaten particularly fresh: even just a couple of days BEFORE their due date it's not a good idea to eat them, of course a few days after they were bad! ;)
      Be careful people, because the bacterial container in of eggs are particulary bad. For example, if you eat bad eggs you are in danger of getting salmonella: look it up https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmonella
      It's really bad.

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    2. Anonymous1/03/2016

      If you're ever worried about an egg, before using/cracking, pop it in a glass of cold water. Fresh eggs will sink and lie on their sides. Older eggs, but still totally fine to cook, will sink but stand on their ends. If the egg doesn't sink and floats on the surface, its dead.

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    3. Sarah L1/04/2016

      Yeah never leave eggs or meat out. Those two things get bad very quickly. Even just a few hours out will ruin them.

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  10. Shela G12/31/2015

    Been there done that!! Glad everything worked out and the stew was not wasted. Happy New year to you and Mr Handsome!! Praying God blesses you abundantly in 2016.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Shela! Happy New Year to you, as well.

      Blessings,
      Ellie

      Delete
  11. Anonymous12/31/2015

    LOL!! i probably would have done the same thing!!

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  12. Anonymous12/31/2015

    Are you sure you don't drink?

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  13. Anonymous12/31/2015



    Happy New Years Ellie and Lily

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. :) Happy New Year to you, too!

      Ellie

      Delete
  14. I did the same thing with chili last month. Our daughters and I were headed out of town for the weekend and I made a huge pot of chili for my husband to graze on while we were away. He ate it all weekend and never had any issues whatsoever. I guess you never know what will turn bad and what is okay to eat.

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  15. Anonymous1/01/2016

    Your husband is a dentist and he doesn't understand basic bacteriology? Or the effects of the toxins that bacteria can produce? Or about spore-forming bacteria? Do you know how long of a constant boil it takes to destroy something like Clostridium botulinum? If not, then don't try leaving stew out on the counter again. OK, you can still do that, but then toss it, don't eat it! No amount of lost food cost can even come close to what a trip to the hospital & follow-up health management would cost if you made yourself ill.

    Put that pot of stew in a big bowl of ice. Portion it out and put those on ice. Stir to cool. Blow a fan on it. Anything to cool it down quickly. And if you have to walk away for more than a moment, clip a note to your shirt to remind you.

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  16. Anonymous1/01/2016

    I understand being frugal, but I wouldn't have eaten something which sat out all night. Your health is more important than being cheap/frugal!!

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  17. Anonymous1/01/2016

    I googled botulism I stew and got an example story.

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  18. Anonymous1/02/2016

    Which Bates do u think is pregnant?

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  19. Anonymous1/03/2016

    I left a shrimp dish out overnight once. It was from a fancy food place so I wanted to eat the shrimp the next day anyway, but my mother made me toss it out. Better safe then sorry.

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  20. Anonymous1/03/2016

    I helped with a soup kitchen for the homeless once but I did not like their food storage practises or the length of time from stove to being served. I was worried about liability so I did not continue to help there. Everyone deserves to have their food handled properly, it is a basic trust thing.

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  21. Anonymous1/06/2016

    Ellie, take an empty water bottle and clean it well on the outside. Fill it with water, but leave room for expansion, and keep in the freezer. When you have leftovers, such as stew or soup, place the frozen water bottle in the food to bring down the temperature more quickly. Maybe a soda bottle would be better because plastic water bottles tend to be more flimsy.

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    Replies
    1. What an innovative idea! Thanks for sharing.

      Ellie

      Delete
    2. Anonymous1/07/2016

      That's actually probably not the safest thing to do... The plastics chemicals can leak into the food if its piping hot. If you have a glass water bottle that would probably be safer. Please don't do that with plastic!

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    3. Anonymous1/07/2016

      I really don't think that was worth it. I get it you're overly frugal but when you have kids that's a no no. Risk it for yourself fine, but not others.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous1/08/2016

      The idea is adapted from a commercial food service kitchen. I have worked in kitchen that used large, sturdy plastic bottle like containers called "paddles" that were filled with water, kept in the freezer. If there are large quantities of foods such as stews, soup, chili, you place the food in smaller steam table pans and stick the "paddle" in the middle of the food to quickly cool the food down out of the "danger zone" to be properly labeled and stored in either the freezer or the cooler. This commercial kitchen I worked in was very clean and we always received A's on our health inspections. We also cared about our customers. I enjoyed working there.

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