Two of my co-workers, Sharon and Shawna, think I am one card short of a full deck because I am very attentive to the rules of reheating food. I believe the word they use is “anal.” While Sharon was eating leftovers that had been re-heated twice, I told her she was going to die. So, after the pointing laughter and chiding subsided, I told them that I was going to write a blog about it and research the rules of reheating… Before they die of some bacterial poisoning that has many syllables in its name. I shall prove them wrong and remove my “anal” moniker.
When I make my spaghetti and meatballs, and heat, say, 3 of the meatballs the next day for leftovers, and then decide to only eat one of them, I can NOT re-heat those other two meatballs. That is it. They are finished. They have already been heated, cooled, then re-heated and then cooled again. If you re-heat again, you will die.
I’m also wondering why people would leave leftover pizza in the box out on the counter overnight. One person told me they put the box in the oven overnight. The oven isn’t on, mind you. I’m calling people out on this one. I say you are lazy. Yep, lazy. Get 2 pieces of foil and wrap up the damn pizza. Then you can just throw it in the oven the next day and not be found dead clinging on to the pizza because of food poisoning. The problem with pizza-leaver-outters is that they believe the box is too big too put in an already full refrigerator, so they leave it on the counter so they can die the next day.
My feeling is that bacteria that normally live on the pizza would feel all warm and cozy and start multiplying and possibly mutating. They would like that lukewarm environment. If one eats that pizza, then the bacteria travel to their stomach, where they will start a conga line through your intestines and you will then die.
I went to the Head Honcho of Food Preparation, the USDA, to find out the answers. This is the United States Department of Agriculture. They know everything. So, read on.
Q. USDA guy- Many people leave pizza out overnight on the counter. Is this smart?
A. “No. Perishable food should never be left out of refrigeration more than two hours. This is true even if there are no meat products on the pizza. Foodborne bacteria that may be present on these foods grow fastest at temperatures between 40 and 140 °F and can double in number every 20 minutes.
Other take-out or delivered foods such as chicken, hamburgers, cut fruit, salads, and party platters, must also be kept at a safe temperature. Discard all perishable food left at room temperature longer than 2 hours. Use safely refrigerated food in 3 to 4 days.”
Ok, one point for Vickie. Death to you lazy food counter sitter-outters.
Q: USDA Guy, I never re-heat leftovers more than once. I think it would cause bacteria to form on the food and people will die. What do you think?
A: (He’s thinking)….He’s going to let the FDA answer this one. “According to a guide from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA),passing food through the “temperature danger zone” of 41 degrees to 135 degrees Fahrenheit more than once carries greater “potential for the growth of spore-forming or toxigenic bacteria” as well as “the potential to be recontaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, which could grow during refrigerated storage.” (Meaning, you will surely die)
2 points for Vickie. Take that, future Listeria monocytogeners.
Ok, while I am sitting pretty, let’s find out about butter. There are some pathogenic spewing people out there that don’t have a problem with leaving butter out on the counter. Now, I realize that my mom did this, and I am still alive. But, I think I am barely alive because of her butter behavior. I posed this question on facebook and found that there are many butter-on-the-counter facebook friends. I shall miss all of you. I say that keeping butter on the counter is like eating rancid yellow crap, like pus, perhaps. Hope that grossed you out, because I find keeping butter on the counter just wrong. You’re all going to die.
Q: I leave my butter out on the counter. Cold butter is just so hard to spread. Is this a good practice?
A: The USDA guidelines state that butter should be stored in its original protective wrapping or a container until ready for use, and to remove from the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes before use. They also suggest freezing butter not intended for use within two or three days. So, my rancid friends, spread that warm butter on your bread and enjoy!
I think that I have made my point. I think you should admire my vast knowledge of food handling and re-heating requirements. I am a responsible re-heater. And I have the utmost butter behavior.
So, in the end,don’t re-heat more than once, don’t leave your pizza out overnight, and put the damn butter in the refrigerator.
Or you will die.
So, what do you do?