With the recent appearance of this question, it makes me wonder whether we should have a canonical question/answer somewhere on this type of question, i.e,. "I want to partially/fully cook my food in advance, then finish later to serve." There are pretty general food safety guidelines that apply to almost all such questions (which obviously tend to be more hazardous, due to at least three trips through the "danger zone").

And I feel like these pop up on a regular basis -- either as primary questions or as parts of other questions. They're certainly not the most common question we get here, but I feel like I've seen a number of them over the years.

I feel like Stephie and I both took a stab at trying to address some of this in this question, which dealt with commercial service, but nevertheless was a similar question of this type.

Anyhow, if there is already a standard canonical question/answer for this somewhere, can somebody point it out? Otherwise, if we should have one, how do we go about making one? Do I just write one?

And while I'm on the topic, do we have a canonical question/answer on general food safety reheating guidelines (which also tends to come up with some regularity)? The closest I know is this question, whose title obviously isn't as broad as one might like (though Aaronut's answer is pretty broad).

  • I tried here cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/74482/… and it was closed and down voted
    – paparazzo
    Dec 9, 2016 at 12:40
  • @Paparazzi That's not what Athanasius is talking about. You tried writing an answer to an existing, specific question. We're talking about writing a new, more general question that would be used when closing other questions as duplicates. The question you answered was closed as a duplicate, yes, of a general question like the one that Athanasius is talking about creating. That doesn't say anything about whether it's a good idea to create a canonical question for this specific thing.
    – Cascabel Mod
    Dec 9, 2016 at 23:28
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Cascabel Mod
    Dec 10, 2016 at 1:47

1 Answer 1


I'm all for this. Both sound good - partial cooking first, or general reheating of presumed safe food. I'm not aware of one existing for either, though I'm sure people have written the answer plenty of times by now on the more specific instances. The general "left at room temperature" one does obliquely address this, but I think it's sometimes tough for people who don't already know the answer to apply to their situations, so these slightly more specific ones would be helpful.

And yes, if you want to do this, you can pretty much just do it. It's only really necessary to ask about things on meta if you're unsure of details.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the question is clear and focused, but still general. The idea is to make it obvious to close voters what it covers, and hopefully obvious to new askers that it applies to their situation. A brief example or two is okay, but don't get too carried away; quick to read is good, and there's also no need to accidentally start discussions of details of hypotheticals.

  • Make sure the answer, as much as possible, starts with a quick, simple answer. Again, this is about making it friendly for people who get forwarded there. People aren't always too happy about getting redirected, so if on top of that they have to read a lot to get an answer, it's really not ideal.

  • Finish writing the answer before you post anything. (You can even post both at the same time.) That way you'll discover if you've picked too broad a scope for the question and would be better off pruning/splitting, and you won't frustrate anyone who starts writing an answer in the meantime.

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