I'm making chicken chili. Or trying to... This morning I turned on my crockpot to high for about 40 minutes. I then drove to work and replugged it, about an hour after unplugging it. After cooking it for 5 more hours, should it be safe?
It likely depends on if the food came up to 140°F (60°F) while you were still at home, and how much it cooled off during the trip.
Basically, your time in the 'danger zone' is cumulative, so it's the sum of:
- Time to heat up to above 140°F (60°C)
- Time from when it cooled down to below 140°F 'til it go back up to 140°F
So, if it never got up to 140°F, then it likely spent 2 hours in the 'danger zone'. (40min + 1 hour + time to get up to 140°F), which some people consider to be right at the edge of acceptable.
... but if it got up to 140°F in the first 20 minutes, and it was well-insulated so didn't drop below 140°F until 30 min into the trip, and it came back up to temp 10 min after plugging it back in, you'd have had (20min + (1hr - 30min) + (10min) = 1hr ... which is well within recommended times.
These also assume that you didn't take a long time to get the chicken home from the store and/or leave it on the counter for 30 min while you were putting away other groceries.