Thursday, October 15, 2009

Room Temperature

I try to keep a balance of writing posts and Mexico posts, and I feel like lately I've been a bit heavy on the writing side. While wracking my brain for a Mexico topic -- considering I only leave the house once or twice a week -- my gaze fell upon a tray of eggs sitting on the dining table.

You see, they'd been there since the day before, and it didn't bother me that they weren't in the fridge. Sure, it crossed my mind a hundred different times that I should put them away, but that was more out of a need to be organized than wanting the eggs to be cold. We buy them at both the market and the grocery story and neither place refrigerates them, and since we haven't gotten sick yet, I don't worry about it.

Next up is milk. I think I've mentioned here before that the majority of the milk sold in Mexico is sold at room temperature, and if you've ever traveled to Mexico you've probably seen this for yourself. When we first moved here we bought the refrigerated milk that comes in plastic containers like in the US, but quickly discovered it went bad within a day or two. I forget how we switched, but now we buy the one liter cartons and generally have two or three in the fridge at one time.

Despite the fact that it's stored on a shelf, it doesn't taste any different. In fact, I think it lasts longer than "regular" milk back home. Perhaps the smaller size means you finish it faster & it doesn't have a chance to spoil.

The strangest experience I've had here is still my first week in Mexico, before I'd actually moved here. We were staying with Ibis' aunt in Morelia and even though she had a refrigerator, she stored all her leftovers on the dining room table, still in their pans. If you wanted to eat something, you just set it on the stove, warmed it up, then returned it to the table. I was a little concerned about getting sick, but again, I was fine, so maybe they're on to something here.

I will say I had a hard time drinking her milk. She kept it in a tall metal container ON THE TABLE and when you wanted some, say for cereal or coffee, you poured it through a strainer TO CATCH THE CHUNKY FILM that solidified over the top since the last person set it there.

I do draw the line there.

Do you have any strange refrigeration stories you'd like to share?

(fyi -- The power came back at 6pm Wednesday night, nearly TWO DAYS after it went out.)


WendyCinNYC said...

I'm not sure I could deal with that non-refrigeration thing. While I'm no germ freak, I also hate the idea of eating food that's the slightest bit off. (Although I'm sure your stomach just gets used to it.)

Is the shelf milk like Parmalat? Or is is non-homogenized? You have to shake that non-homogenized stuff up because the fat clots, and I've noticed that the sell by dates are way, waaay longer than regular milk. I do like the taste of it and would buy non-homogenized milk more often if it wasn't ten thousand dollars per gallon.*

*Might be a slight exaggeration.

Janna Qualman said...

I'm with Wendy; I'm a refrigerated gal.

But nothing to report. Other than the usual Tupperware or two with a little mold for taste.

Melanie Avila said...

Wendy, I'm a germ freak too, so for the most part I do put everything in the fridge. Even things that don't belong in there because it keeps the ants away. For example, we keep our cereal in the freezer.

I don't know about the homogenized. It IS pasteurized, but I don't know how it works differently than in the US.

Janna, dontcha hate that?

Adam said...

Brb, suddenly have an urge for milk...


Melanie Avila said...

Adam, would you give me a drink warning when you're gonna be all funny and stuff? I nearly sprayed V8 Splash (Berry Blend!) all over my desk.

Adam said...

Duly noted. :D


PS. "Nearly"? I'm losing mah skillz.

JLC said...

Wow! I am actually more surprised about the eggs. They tend to spoil rapidly. Perhaps yours are very fresh and doesn't go through the long journey by truck before reaching the store. My great grandfather was a farmer and my dad has told me memories of drinking raw milk and taking the curds(?) off the top. I have friends who only drink raw milk. They go to a local farm and get it straight from the cow.

As far as fridge stories go, I don't have too much to share. Hubby and I don't tend to keep leftovers for longer than three days, but every time my dad and his wife stay with us, our fridge fills up with little bites of food stored in containers. They store every scrap of food left over from their meals, so after they leave, I have to dump all these little leftovers. They know this, but they still save stuff. :eyeroll:

Melanie Avila said...

There may have been some sputtering involved.

Melanie Avila said...

JLC, we have the same problem with the little containers. I like eating leftovers but we tend to have sauces or weird odds & ends -- things that still require cooking.

And yes, the eggs are really fresh here. :)

Natasha Fondren said...

When I was in Germany, my host family had a few dairy cows, and they drank it in the morning, then boiled it in the afternoon, then left it out until it was drunk. I've never

I'm not surprised about the eggs, but I bet you get them fresher than we do, here. I've seen numerous "exposes" on how our eggs are like five months old or something, and then when they expire, they just repackage them, LOL.

Melanie Avila said...

Ew, they repackage them? Gross!

Yeah, I don't know if I could drink milk that's that fresh. I have had fresh cow's milk in a smoothie, but I didn't realize it until after the fact.

Wayne K said...

I only use milk in my coffee, but I've taken to using dry milk. It's 1/10the the price, and it's far better than cremora and it's generic counterparts.

Pam said...

I drink milk every day, and it has to be VERY cold.

I recently learned that you do not need to refrigerate pancake syrup. After years of pouring it into a mug and microwaving to bring to room temperature, one day I happened to notice the "No Refrigeration Needed" on the label. Now it goes straight from the bottle to the pancakes. :)

Melanie Avila said...

Wayne, we sometimes get non-dairy creamer, but I hate how it doesn't mix in right away. I also don't like my coffee super hot & the milk cools it a bit.

Pam, I've taught several people that truth about syrup. :)

JLC said...

Is that Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Buttersworth syrup? ;)

Pam said...


Right now it's Log Cabin. Aunt Jemima is my favorite, but this time the LC was on sale.

Jenna said...

A few years ago Heath's aunt offered one of the our little guys an Easter egg from a basket that was sitting out on the buffet. At first I thought it was a chocolate egg so I said, "No, not before dinner".

But she told me it would be fine it was hard-boiled. So I said, "Sure, what'cha boil them this morning?"

"No last Saturday."

Obviously this was Easter Sunday. So I said, "Yesterday?"

"No, silly, last week!"

"Eew. No way." I kindly said.

His aunt looked at me and smiled and said, "You're funny" and handed little guy the now peeled egg.

I sweetly snatched it from her, "I'm not staying up with a puking kid tonight."

Still thinking I was being funny she said fine and popped it in her mouth.

My eyeballs almost popped out of my head and she said, "What?"

Thus starting our semi-annual debate on whether eggs, boiled or not, can sit out of the refrigerator for weeks.

Bottom line for me: I won't take my chances, unless I pluck them from a chicken's underside myself.

Nadine said...

I'm used to the milk on the shelf because they've had that in England for years, but the leftovers on the table really got me. Eek!

Where I live, bread goes moldy by the second day if it's not in the fridge so I can't even imagine what would happen to leftovers still on the table.


Melanie Avila said...

JLC, isn't it weird how that KEEPS coming up? lol

Pam, our friend ShadowFerret is a BIG Log Cabin fan.

Jenna, we did put them in the fridge later that day, so they were out for maybe a day and a half. I don't think I wouldn't have eaten that hard-boiled egg either!

Nadine, to give them credit, it's a lot cooler where they live than it is here. Things go nasty really quickly here too!

Melanie's Mom said...

When I was a kid, we used to leave Easter eggs out on the kitchen table until they were all eaten, which could be a couple of weeks. No one thought anything about it! We also used to leave pies out (sometimes hidden in a cupboard) but definitely not in the refrigerator.

Melanie Avila said...

Mom, that's true. Gramma always leaves her pies out. They still taste good though!