The Great Chicken Explosion of 2013

When I was provisioning I bought some hamburger, pork chops and a big ole pack of chicken tenderloins - (nevermind that I'm mostly vegetarian and Mark will eat whatever I plop down in front of him).
I broke everything up into double portion sized ziploc bags and froze them in the condo freezer.  I took them in a cooler bag to Luna Sea and tossed them in the freezer.  I turned the boat freezer down some and everything was fine and dandy.

A day or two into the trip I got paranoid that the fridge was cycling on too much and turned the fridge temp up a bit so it would run less.  I didn't want to run the batteries down.  Nevermind that the engine was running non-stop, thus keeping all the batteries nice and full :/

I keep a thermostat in the galley that has an outside temp reader - that I keep in the fridge.  So the display shows both the cabin temp and the temp in the fridge.  I am kind of a stickler for keeping food at the proper temp.  I was getting nauseous enough on the boat without needing to throw in some mild food poisoning.  I monitored the fridge temps and they were safe, but not cold enough to keep the meat frozen.  But that was ok, because we were well into the trip and I was cooking the meat.

Then came Christmas Eve.  I was trying to figure out what to cook, and pulled out something that had slime dripping off of it.  It was nasty.  And then I noticed a slight odor coming from the fridge...  Turns out that at some point the ziploc bags of at least 2 of the bags of chicken had been pushed over and they froze to the cooling plate.  Then apparently in a shuffle, got pulled off of the cooling plate - ripping a few tiny holes in the bags.  Then the meat thawed out.  And the juices ran.  It. Was. Nasty.  And a food germaphobe's nightmare.  I'm pretty sure I shrieked a little and then started pulling everything out of the entire fridge/freezer.  It's one big vat and the bottom of the freezer is connected to the bottom of the fridge, so the nasty germ juice was flowing freely between the two.  EVERYTHING in the refrigerator got washed.  Everything.  Every bottle of condiment, every plastic tote, every single thing.  Then Mark toted in a couple of buckets of water and flushed it out.  Fortunately not only are there a couple of shelves in the back that remained uncontaminated, but there's also a shower pump hooked up that sucks all the water out of the bottom.  I followed up with some Pinesol and another fresh water rinse before putting the salvageable food back in.  And then I boiled all of the remaining chicken to be sure there couldn't be another salmonella situation.  Boiled chicken is not my favorite, but it worked well in several recipes that followed so I guess it all worked out.  Lesson learned: do not let ziploc bags touch the metal cooling plate!  And leave the dang thermostat where it goes - between the motor running and the solar panels, we had more than enough energy for everything we could imagine doing on the boat!

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