Can I eat this? (Power outage edition)
September 12, 2012 4:14 AM   Subscribe

I made baked orzo with veggies and cheese yesterday morning, thinking I had lunches covered for the next couple of days. I covered it in foil, and put it in the fridge, once the glass casserole dish had cooled a bit. It had been in there for about 2-3 hours when the power went out. 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?
posted by peppermind to Food & Drink (16 answers total)
I'd eat it. Our power was out for nearly eight hours last week and nothing in the fridge or even freezer suffered any ill effects.
posted by something something at 4:17 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Cheese, veggies and orzo keep pretty well. If there were meat or eggs involved then I'd be nervous, but from what you've described, I'd eat it. If anything, I might accelerate the pace of consumption so that any small colonies of nasties have less time to develop.
posted by jon1270 at 4:23 AM on September 12, 2012

I'm sure it's fine. On a recent road trip, our food stayed chilled in a cooler for 24 hours, and the ice packs stayed chilled long after they had officially melted.
posted by DoubleLune at 4:24 AM on September 12, 2012

Eat up! It sounds like the power is back on now, right? I'd say all of your lunches are fine to eat. Good on you for eating your veggies! I'd be nervous if it was meat, but it sounds like you are good to go.
posted by shortyJBot at 4:24 AM on September 12, 2012

[By which I meant, food in a cooler was still fridge-temp after 24 hours. Your fridge most likely did not warm perceptibly during the time it was out.]
posted by DoubleLune at 4:25 AM on September 12, 2012

I was mostly concerned because I wasn't sure that the food had cooled enough before the power went out, but there wasn't much of anything to spoil in there to begin with. Thanks!
posted by peppermind at 4:55 AM on September 12, 2012

What type of cheese? Did you also add cream or anything? Like you, I'd be nervous because it sounds like it was not starting from a place of being cold.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:35 AM on September 12, 2012

I'd eat it if I'd left it on the counter overnight, honestly.
posted by mskyle at 5:57 AM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]

You know I have eaten cheese that hasn't been refrigerated for days, multiple times with no ill effects, some veggies and pasta? Yeah I'd eat it with no worries.
posted by edgeways at 6:10 AM on September 12, 2012

Yeah. It probably wasn't fully chilled by the time the power went down, but I doubt this had a major impact on anything. If it was cooked through then it was pretty sterile to begin with, and if you covered it then it's unlikely that it would've been significantly colonized in the intervening time. I'm sure it's fine.
posted by Scientist at 6:16 AM on September 12, 2012

I used this recipe, and the cheese was mozzarella and Parmesan. No cream, just tomato paste and soup stock. It sounds absurdly healthy when I describe it like that, but the bit I had fresh out of the oven was delicious. If it wasn't so good, I would be looking for excuses to ditch it.
posted by peppermind at 6:38 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

You can eat it. At the absolutely worst, those foods might get mouldy, but certainly after only a couple of hours, and certainly not in a cool fridge. And if they had gotten mouldy, you'd be able to see it or smell it, and it wouldn't be a mystery.

Out of genuine curiosity, what makes you think you shouldn't eat it? Like, exactly what do you think might have happened? (This is a real question, i'm always really surprised at the volume of 'should i eat it' questions, and i'm wondering at the thinking behind them.)
posted by Kololo at 6:46 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Can you reheat any portions that you do eat in an oven or a microwave? I'd probably have no problem eating it cold from the fridge after something like this, but I am notoriously carefree about bacteria -- heating it up again seems like it would CYA in the unlikely event that something nasty is in there.
posted by catch as catch can at 7:01 AM on September 12, 2012

I have eaten similar pasta dishes that were left out on the counter overnight with no ill effects. I think it's fine.
posted by crackingdes at 7:47 AM on September 12, 2012

Out of genuine curiosity, what makes you think you shouldn't eat it? Like, exactly what do you think might have happened?

If you intend to keep leftovers, you generally chill them fairly soon after cooking to deter bacteria or whatever. I wasn't really afraid of anything spoiling, just a little concerned that the food didn't cool down as quickly as I'd like, allowing for more bacterial growth.
posted by peppermind at 7:50 AM on September 12, 2012

hmm. so, i guess the real issue is that most people don't know what's likely to have bad bacteria on it then. Or how fast bacteria grows. Or what kinds of bacteria make you sick. Interesting! Thanks!
posted by Kololo at 2:51 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

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