Last Call: What dubious foods have you consumed?

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Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

We shared with you this morning the cautionary tale of a woman who ate five-day-old gas station sushi and immediately after began experiencing extreme gastric distress and hallucinations—all caused by what turned out to be a tapeworm that had been quietly incubating in the sushi.


We also shared with you a video from our Burning Questions series about whether it is safe to leave butter out on the counter. While it may seem like a dubious practice, it turns out that it’s not so bad, especially if you’ll have an easier time spreading butter. The only trouble comes when time on the countertop actually begins to degrade the quality of the butter, but it won’t cause you to hallucinate.

So there you have two accounts of eating food in suboptimal conditions that go in entirely different conditions. The moral of the story: sometimes it’s okay to eat older food that hasn’t been stored in ideal conditions!

I have no inspiring tales of my own, though I know I have eaten food past the expiration date. I may also have scraped mold off cheese and eaten it. (The aftermath was completely unmemorable, which is a good thing!) But please share your stories, horrible and otherwise, about eating food of suspect quality.

Associate editor of The Takeout. Chicagoan. Owned by dog.


Lars Vargas is still suspicious of 2021's motives

Quite a few things come to mind:

  • I’ve been known to slice the mold off of cheese and eat what’s left. The recommendation is 1". I go maybe 1/4".
  • I cook on Sundays and we eat that food during the week. We usually keep leftovers in the fridge for 2 weeks before we even start to worry about them spoiling. I’ve eaten things 3 weeks out. I know this is well past the “safe” time.
  • We get those “Cutie” tangerines and I’ve eaten some that clearly had started to ferment. It’s my way of sticking it to “the man” by not paying alcohol taxes.
  • Condiments that were years past their “use by” date, at least the non-mayo ones. Mustard seems to last forever, even if it gets a little “off” flavor
  • I’ve eaten at Burger King (but I have to say in the past year they’ve gotten somewhat better).
  • Several restaurants I frequent (pre covid days) have had health code violations, but I still eat there. None of the violations where anything worse than I allow in my own kitchen. Well, except some of the rat turn and cleanliness stuff. My house is rat free and quite clean.
  • My wife recently found a “nutrition” bar from 2018 and gave it to me. It was still delicious.
  • Deli meat that has only a slight “off whiff” gets gulped down before it completely spoils.
  • Onions that have a layer or two that go bad (soft and brown) get those layers removed (and discarded). What’s left gets cooked.

For the most part, unless it’s obviously and very spoiled, I’ll eat it. I figure any microbes or other microcritters coming along for the ride only add to the United Nations of Biome in my gut.