Saturday, February 25, 2017

Saturday Snippets, best ever French fries, cleaner laundry, and is the internet making us stupid...

because it's the weekend and who needs to be mentally hassled?

Let's start with a subject of deep importance and dear to just about everyone's heart - French fries.

If you've been around here for awhile you know I'm completely sold on the need for everyone to have and use an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker - which, incidentally is on sale right now for $99.99 at Amazon.

It would be faster for me to tell you what I don't make in my Instant Pot - which is almost nothing.  Roasts, turkey breasts, stews, soup, chili, beans, lasagna, rice, hard cooked eggs, steamed veggies, cheese cake, are all done in my Instant Pot in a fraction of the time as the old way and ten times better.   

Yesterday a lady posted a picture of her Instant Pot French fries and a link to how to make them on the Instant Pot community page on Facecrap.  I was intrigued and since I have some potatoes I decided to try it.

The concept seemed pretty simple.  Pre-steam the potatoes in the Instant Pot with Kosher salt and baking soda in the water, and then fry them (either deep or shallow) and enjoy crispy fries.

Allow me to inform you that I've never, ever had a French fry that was so delicious.  Never!  They were fluffy and hot on the inside and a wonderful crispy golden brown on the outside.  They were so good that we're having them again tonight.

She has all the instructions with tons of pics at her site, but trust me, the entire project is quick and easy.

It took about 10 minutes to make them not counting the time to slice up a potato.  If you have an Instant Pot, read and follow her instructions exactly.  She also has all the chemical info on why this works.

How clean is your laundry?

Probably not very.

We purchased a new washer and dryer a few years ago and from the get go I noticed that the rinse water always looked dirty.  This is just a bottom of the line ordinary top load washing machine, so I figured you get what you pay for.

I think we all know why our dishes are not getting clean in the dishwasher - no phosphates.  I solved that problem by buying original Cascade that still had phosphates from Restockit .  Be aware that hospitals, restaurants, and other commercial concerns still use dish washing soap with phosphates so that the dishes are actually clean.  What does that tell you?

 While wandering around the intertubes (a bad habit of mine), I stumbled onto a discussion of TSP (trisodium phosphate) and laundry.  It never occurred to me that laundry soap of long ago had phosphates as part of the ingredients.

Most of the older readers here will  remember their childhood home being stocked with TSP for all the really hard cleaning jobs.  Many people still use it for cleaning and dulling painted surfaces before repainting.

After the government got involved and banned most phosphates, based on some really faulty reasoning and bad science, our dishes are no longer clean and our clothes are not clean, either.

After doing my due diligence on the subject, I popped over to Lowe's and bought a small box of TSP to add to my laundry along with my detergent.

The purpose of adding it to your dishwasher or laundry is to chelate calcium, magnesium, and other 'hardness' metal ions in the water which would otherwise form insoluble salts with the detergents.  It helps your detergent work better, keeping everything in solution so it can be removed with the water. Those insoluble detergent salts (soap scum) are far more effective at gunking things up than the relatively unsticky phosphate-metal salts.

NB: It is not a replacement for laundry soap, but only used as a booster.

I am happy to report my rinse water now looks clean and my clothes are much cleaner and smell much better than they have in years.  I have noticed no negative effects to either white or colored clothes.  I even finally tried it on my precious (and expensive) bamboo sheets.  They look and smell great!

I use 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) in a large load, and about one TB is a small load.  After using it for several weeks I will probably cut back on the amount as it appears all the old soap scum has been adequately removed from my laundry.

The TSP pictured is available at Ace, Lowe's, Home Depot, and probably independent hardware stores also.  Beware of packages marked TSP with a flag that says "phosphate free."  WTHell?  How can you call it TSP if it has no phosphate?

Is the Internet Turning Our Brains to Mush?


I finally acquired a copy of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, by Nicholas Carr, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2011 for general non-fiction.

Much as I'm looking forward to reading this, it will, no doubt, confirm what I already know to be true.  In 1990 Jane Healy, Ph.D explored this idea of neural reprogramming of children's brains being done by excessive TV watching in her classic book  Endangered Minds: Why Children Don't Think And What We Can Do About It. 

In 1999 she published FAILURE TO CONNECT: How Computers Affect Our Children's Minds -- and What We Can Do About It

Anyone who thinks that overuse of computer technology by children, or even adults, is not a problem has not been paying attention - or maybe they can't pay attention due to over use of their technology.  Witness people walking around clutching their smart phones likes it's a pacifier, and you'll know there's a problem.  

I spend an inordinate amount of time online and have noticed an inability to concentrate as well as I used to be able to do.  Lately, I have also started to "flit" from one thing to another while online like a drunken squirrel has been turned loose in my head. This cannot be healthy.  

No - I'm not advocating throwing your computer out.  I am suggesting that most of us need to keep this wonderful tool in its proper place and perhaps limit our exposure.  I mean, really - do we need to look up the best way to make the perfect soft boiled egg again? 


Misis Institute:  Why Everything is Dirtier

Some great Amazon OUTLET deals


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