Life Gives You Lemons

Nasty rotting food week
July 17, 2007, 1:42 am
Filed under: news of the weird, odd random thoughts, recipes

Time to play “What’s the NASTIEST rotted food?”

My job once involved cooking for 40 with not so much of food storage. The game was: use everything *just* before it crossed from fresh to foul.

Don’t hurl, now. Understand, cooking anything before “its time” meant running into nasty canned food faster and enduring longer.

I had a relatively small, unreliable chest refrigerator. High priority items — fresh milk, romaine lettuce (that’s the heartiest, wrap it in paper to make it last longer), butter, maybe yogurt, leftovers, fragile fruits & veggies and whatever was thawing from the freezer went in here. The freezer was a cube in the wall just big enough to crawl into. (Barely. And I crawled in every turnaround to defrost and scrub.) I filled that to within millimeters of capacity – the only way to wrest weeks of good meals from such a modest cache.

Most of the fruit, vegetables and eggs sat out. Yeah, eggs. They do fine. (Flip them once a week so the yolk never sinks to the bottom. If it lays against the porous shell, oxygen goes to work. This is bad.) For whatever reason (less fat?) the albumin doesn’t have such a big issue with air.

Huge crates of produce were packed densely on a large, high platform and tarped, lashed down tightly, and left open to the salt air.

Riding herd on this much food stored in this way? Amusing.

Dealing with the cache when something crossed its line early? <<Shivers of horror>> I’ll assure you, I KNOW food rot.

So of carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, thawed ground turkey and eggs, which one’s the nastiest?

I’ll give you a new one each day. By Friday we’ll know. I’ll also read/post YOUR food rot war stories.

Today, eggs.

It’s not that rotten egg smell doesn’t suck. Nasty stuff. But not the nastiest.

They really *don’t* rot easily. Flip them weekly. After a few weeks, crack one at a time into a bowl first, but otherwise you’re good. Those that go round the bend are clear about it. Cracking the shell makes a sound that’s just wrong. The contents are watery, rank and the whole runny mess is yellowgrey. Throw that one away, scrub the testing bowl and move on with your life.

I swear it was more than 4 weeks before I’d start to see occasional bad eggs, and by week 6 there were still good ones to be had. Plus, the off ones were contained in tidy shells until opened.

I’d give rotten eggs maybe a 4 or 5 on the barf scale. Left in hot air they could get awful, but your ordinary egg decay is liveable. You can contain them, avoid them, and no foodmush on your hands.

*(Oh and if you can get eggs right from a chicken owner, DON’T wash or refrigerate them. Store them dirty, flip them until use, and scrub them right before use. If you wash off the poop right away tiny bits of that crud are pushed down into its pores to hang out with your beloved pre-omlette. Do Not Want.)

So go ahead, hit me with your nasty rotting food stories. And, bon appetit!

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