Sometimes when we arrive home, we are so tired and hungry and I am at a loss in terms of what to make. Often, I just want to mix all the things in the refrigerator and boil them or fry them and mix with spice and lemon. Without concerning answers too much with the taste or anything, I'm most interested in MacGuyvering dinner without also ending up with food poinsoning.

What are the major, bold-faced beginner guidelines I should follow to ensure the safety of doing this?

  • 3
    How much do you know about basic food safety to begin with?
    – daniel
    Apr 15, 2011 at 20:58
  • only i am sure every thing is clean ... my main question is mix to good thing create bad things :D Apr 15, 2011 at 21:11
  • 3
    There isn't much you need to do to protect your physical wellbeing. But to protect your sanity 1. Think twice of how the combination will taste. You will feel compelled to finish it off, especially if there is nothing else for dinner. 2. If you are feeding other people, make sure you know about their dietary restrictions, or they'll hate you or go anaphylactic on you 3. Actually, it is best to not test new recipes on guests, especially if they don't come from a trusted book. As for family members, sort it out with them - preferably before you surprise them with mussels in cherry sauce.
    – rumtscho
    Apr 15, 2011 at 22:15
  • Don't swallow mentos whole while drinking diet coke? :-)
    – talon8
    Apr 18, 2011 at 17:42

4 Answers 4


I've never heard of any two things which are safe to eat separately, but poisonous when combined. When you consider everything gets mixed in the stomach anyway, I find it unlikely to ever find things like that.

Daniel's question about your food safety knowledge is an important one. Make sure to use separate tools for raw meats, clean your tools, cook to appropriate temperatures, and not leave food out either thawing or cooling. I wouldn't feel bad if -everyone- took a food safety class at least once in their life. I mean, it's typically a few hour workshop.

In the long run, I would encourage you to aim for a diverse diet. Make sure to include starches, green and root vegetables, and other oddities. The underlying attitude of "I'll eat whatever is quickest to throw in a pot" can lead to frequently finding the same thing "quick to throw in a pot" and a less healthy diet.

  • Technically, there are foodstuffs that are safe to eat alone, but unsafe to mix. They're just pretty rare. One notable example is the common ink cap (Coprinopsis atramentaria), an edible mushroom that contains a substance called coprine, which interferes with alcohol metabolism and triggers a disulfiram-like reaction (kind of like a particularly nasty instant hangover) if consumed together with (or up to several days prior to) anything that contains alcohol. Dec 22, 2018 at 18:43

As long as you are following food safety rules, any standard grocery store ingredients should be fine. I can't speak for exotic foods.

Possible problems:

  1. You may have digestive problems if you have too much/little fiber or if you overload it with chile. Nothing dangerous though, assuming you are in good health.

  2. You may have long term troubles if you aren't getting proper nutrition.

  3. I am assuming you aren't going mad scientist and mixing things like vinegar and baking soda and drinking it before it can fizz fully. Don't do that.

  • laugh So while I'm posting saying "I've never heard of 2 things..." you post a counter example (vinegar & baking soda). Then again, I'm not sure I'd consider either to be "foods" on their own, so I stick with my assessment. ^_^
    – Scivitri
    Apr 15, 2011 at 21:25
  • They go into foods, but I agree that they aren't really foods. It was just the first thought I had when I read the question. Plus after the reaction occurs, it is "safe".
    – Wulfhart
    Apr 15, 2011 at 21:32
  • What does the "standard grocery store" in Iran stock? :-)
    – TFD
    Apr 15, 2011 at 23:25
  • On point 3, other things to avoid on that safety line are eating food that expands unexpanded, rice and such like. That can lead to serious malfunctions.
    – Orbling
    Apr 16, 2011 at 0:22
  • @TFD Food, just like every other grocery store. ;-)
    – Wulfhart
    Apr 18, 2011 at 17:14

Make sure raw meat is cooked, vegetables washed... other than that... go nuts?

  • I'm not sure nuts would benefit from being boiled. ;-)
    – Martha F.
    Apr 15, 2011 at 23:03
  • Meat is perfectly fine raw as long as you food procurement and handling is safe. In fact you have to wonder if you are not happy with the safety of eating it raw, should you be eating it at all? Cooking meat only solves some safety problems
    – TFD
    Apr 15, 2011 at 23:24

Ingredient combinations are rarely a problem. Mishandling ingredients could in some cases cause trouble:

-Putting anything that isn't supposed to be consumed raw, due to being unsanitary when raw (mostly animal derived ingredients - eg non-sushi grade fish, pork, chicken), on the plate raw.

-Putting anything that is toxic when raw or incorrectly prepared on the plate raw (mostly applies to plant matter - eg some mushrooms, cassava, taro, kidney beans, candlenuts, or unusually huge amounts of vegetables containing solanine, phasin or oxalic acid)

-Using parts of a plant or animal, bought un-pared, that aren't supposed to be eaten (eg the wrong parts of rhubarb).

-Using unfit amounts of (25%) distilled vinegar, pearl ash, lye or other ingredients with extreme pH values (it is likely that a dangerous dish would also be unpalatable).

-Using far too high amounts of certain spices - half a can of ground nutmeg or ghost pepper would probably not do you much good (but would make the dish obviously unpalatable).

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