Although some people criticize Nellie Semproch's death from mishandling raw chicken as a seemingly random event, it was extremely common during that time period in Real Life. Food poisoning, and poor food handling practices generally, contributed to a much shorter lifespan for most Americans. However, the Second Great War brought improvements in health and sanitation practices generally, just as World War II did in our timeline. By the end of the war, Cassius Madison is being admonished to clean his mess kit regularly and to wash after meals whenever possible to prevent food poisoning. So rather than writing random events, Turtledove is engaging in a seemingly minor (but actually very significant) act of world-building in the narrative.