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Recreational thermodynamics and disease control

Published Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 10:13 AM EDT
Aug 25 2010

I had a small get-together last weekend, and decided to buy one of those pre-cooked shrimp rings at Giant Eagle. You know, one of those tasteful arrangements of deceased shellfish that resembles a SpongeBob Christmas wreath.

The shrimp were frozen solid and I only had a couple hours to thaw them out. I looked at the package label for direction, and it read:

"Do not thaw at room temperature. Do not thaw in microwave".

Wouldn't it be a bit more helpful to tell me how to thaw it, rather than how not to do it?

If they're going to take that bass-ackwards approach, they should at least try to be a bit more comprehensive. For example:

  • Do not thaw at room temperature.
  • Do not thaw in microwave.
  • Do not thaw in washing machine, clothes dryer, or on top of your television.
  • Do not thaw with flaming petroleum products.
  • Do not thaw under armpits.
  • Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you. (Oops. Wrong list.)
  • Do not thaw in cat litter box.
  • Do not thaw in toilet bowl.
  • Do not thaw with windshield wiper fluid.
  • Do not thaw with propane torch.
  • Do not thaw with sunlight.
  • Do not thaw with moonlight.
  • Do not thaw with starlight.
  • Do not thaw with Lite Brite.
  • Do not thaw in Easy Bake Oven.
  • Do not thaw with tiki torch.
  • Do not thaw in geyser.
  • Do not thaw in toe socks.
  • Do not thaw with pyrokinesis.
  • Do not thaw with fissionable nuclear material.

A quick internet search revealed the recommended method of defrosting frozen shrimp is to place it in the refrigerator or run it under cold water. The danger of thawing at room temperature is that as the surface temperature of the shrimp increases, nasty bacteria can multiply. Nuking in the microwave would probably kill all the bacteria, but mess up the shrimp's texture.

As a friend noted, the store's primary concern is not enhancing my shrimp comsumption experience, but rather to prevent the filing of food poisoning and rubbery shrimp-induced lawsuits.

And what is this "run under cold water" business? One assumes they're talking about the cold water tap of the kitchen sink, but it's August here in the northern temperate zone, and while the water temperature is lower than the kitchen's air temperature, it is the same as the temperature in my cellar which is, technically, a room. Which means the cold water is actually room temperature. As the great philosopher Steven Wright noted, "The temperature in any room is room temperature."

Whatever. I thawed them using the not-connected-to-the-water-heater tap of the kitchen sink and placed them on the table, where they were slowly consumed over the course of three hours.

We all survived, an indication of the efficiency and effectiveness of the human digestive and immune systems. Not to mention the secondary antiseptic qualities of vodka-enhanced cocktail sauce.

Tangentially related useless trivia:
For future reference, the eleven official shrimp sizes are:

  • Extra Colossal
  • Super Colossal
  • Colossal
  • Extra Jumbo
  • Jumbo
  • Extra Large
  • Large
  • Medium Large
  • Medium
  • Small
  • Extra Small

At times like this, I really miss George Carlin.

Categories: KGB Family, WTF?


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