The “Five Second Rule” is well known– drop a food item on the ground and if you pick it up within 5 seconds, it’s still “good”, not hopelessly contaminated. If you have a dog, you have maybe half a second to move fast.
But what about if you drop something into, or notice something in, the stewpot you’re working with? Do you have to fish it out immediately, or can you just…stir it into oblivion, melting or diffusing it away, in a period of time or…?
Or sometimes you just pretend you saw nothing, let the boiling cleanse away the impurities, and hope for the best.