Telling a host he’s about to poison you

We’re not sure that Ms. Manners ever dealt with the thorny etiquette question that Chow recently posed: Should You Tell Your Host That He’s About to Poison You? Chow frames the question as follows:

“Here’s the situation: A couple you don’t know very well invites you over for a Saturday afternoon get-together. One of your hosts is grilling his famous Yucatan chicken, and in the kitchen, you spot it, smeared with achiote paste, covered in plastic, but sitting out on the counter. It looks like it’s been marinating there for a while. It stays unrefrigerated for the couple of hours you drink margaritas and talk, and sits around a while longer after it comes off the grill. You wonder if you should say something to your hosts, but end up keeping quiet. Lecturing people you barely know about the dangers of salmonella poisoning? Nobody wants to be that guy.

Except that, next day, you feel a little achy, and the day after that, you feel full-blown awful. You can’t be positive, but it seems pretty clear that your hosts’ unrefrigerated Yucatan chicken has given you salmonella poisoning, with symptoms that feel like Montezuma’s revenge. You totally should have said something. You totally should have been that guy.”

Chow has a thoughtful answer to that question, noting that it’s both simpler and more complicated than would appear. It does take some knowledge of food safety and more than a little tact, but do you really want to be responsible for everyone getting sick? Here’s their detailed answer. And we’d love to hear your thoughts, as well.

Marinading chicken

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