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The Lobel's Thoughts on Smelly Chickens

 I bought some boneless chicken thighs last night – their sell-by date. I brought them home and promptly put them in the refrigerator. I planned to cook or freeze them first thing this morning. Here's my dilemma: they smell strongly of chicken, stronger than I'm used to chicken smelling. Are they still safe to cook and freeze, or do you think they've spoiled?

 We recently had the pleasure of reviewing Lobel's Meat Bible, by like 93 members of 12 generations of the Lobel family, who have operated a butcher shop on Madison Avenue in New York since the original Dutch settlement or perhaps slightly later.

The point is, these Manhattan butchers have the chutzpah to suggest that you open the package of chicken you are considering buying at the store and give it a good sniff. If you don't have the fortitude to open it in the store, they say, check it the minute you get home. "If it smells off," these 136 butchers say, "take it right back" – even if it is within the sell-by date.

They say the expiration dates are not always reliable for poultry.

The 247 Lobels also say that if there is any sign of liquid puddling in the package, you should not buy it. It is a sign that the chicken has been flash frozen, thawed ("often unintentionally"), and refrozen, resulting in meat that turns out dry and tasteless.

Now really, are you going to argue with an army of 617 Lobels, all of whom wield a mean cleaver? We thought not….

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