Early last week I had chicken soup, and thought I had finished it up, but I accidentally left some chicken in the bottom of the pot. And since I was incredibly busy last week, I did not get around to washing the pot. The cover was on, so it was not so detectable.
After a week, it was awful. A rotting carcass. And I began to understand noten taam lifgam, and how of course this is not food.
Yet a thought occurred to me. But don't spread it lest people start taking it seriously and imposing a new chumra.
Had I placed the pot in the refrigerator, the food inside would not have spoiled so quickly. I could have even consumed the chicken days later. As such, the be'en, actual substance in the pot, would not have been lifgam. Presumably, the same would have been true for any substance absorbed into the body of the pot.
If so, refrigeration should be able to delay conversion to lifgam, even after ben yomo. Let us say that after cleaning a pot of chicken in the fridge, I had accidentally cooked dairy food in it. Would I say that bedieved, since it was not ben yomo, it would be fine? Or would it pose a Biblical problem since, though not ben yomo, it was also not lifgam?
Chazal did not have such refrigeration, and so did not frame it in these terms, but rather made the equation. Do we now say that that is set in stone (even lekullah), or is this just a good way of making an assessment, which we should reassess nowadays?
Of course, not halacha lemaaseh.