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Thread: Really trivial stuff that bugs you

  1. #14731
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    We have a breadbox (actually a bread-bin the UK). If you want to stop your bread from drying out, but keep the crust crisp, you need a breadbox. A breadbox traps just a bit of humidity to keep the bread soft, but circulates air to prevent the crust going soggy.

    Honestly, stop messing around and get a breadbox.

    Grant Hutchison

  2. #14732
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    So ... how did "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" become a favorite early query in the "Twenty Questions" game?

    Someone influential must have determined that it would divide the multitude of typical items-to-be-guessed roughly in half more efficiently than something smaller or larger.

  3. #14733
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonM435 View Post
    So ... how did "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" become a favorite early query in the "Twenty Questions" game?

    Someone influential must have determined that it would divide the multitude of typical items-to-be-guessed roughly in half more efficiently than something smaller or larger.
    Wasn't it just an amusing phrase coined by Steve Allen on What's My Line??
    ("The size of a breadbox" was the original formulation, but "bigger than a breadbox" has the advantage of alliteration.)

    Grant Hutchison

  4. #14734
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    Quote Originally Posted by pzkpfw View Post
    I've owned a property where I fought large amounts of broom, blackberry, and gorse. I'm currently looking at a place that has a huge blackberry swarm (pod? forest? flock? murder?) in the corner. I vote: not trivial!

    (If I do buy that place, I'd been planing to ask Torsten for advice on trees to grow for firewood ... buy maybe now I'll also ask grant hutchison for advice on trees to suppress the nasty stuff.)
    When we were in NZ in 2014 we took the Taieri Gorge Railway trip out of Dunedin and at first we were impressed by the bright yellow colours of the vegetation on the hillsides before we were told that it was broom and how bad it was for the local environment.

  5. #14735
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozduck View Post
    When we were in NZ in 2014 we took the Taieri Gorge Railway trip out of Dunedin and at first we were impressed by the bright yellow colours of the vegetation on the hillsides before we were told that it was broom and how bad it was for the local environment.
    Yep. I think "yellow hills to remind one of 'home'" is one of the reasons people say broom was brought here. Gorse was (supposedly) for cheap/growable fencing. Gorse flowers yellow too, so maybe it's all mixed up.

    Also: I've been here around 50 years now - about time I visit Dunedin myself!
    Measure once, cut twice. Practice makes perfect.

  6. #14736
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    It annoys me that I laugh at the line: "alliteration always annoys".
    Solfe

  7. #14737
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    It annoys me that I laugh at the line: "alliteration always annoys".
    Absolutely. Ask anyone.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  8. #14738
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    Quote Originally Posted by pzkpfw View Post
    Yep. I think "yellow hills to remind one of 'home'" is one of the reasons people say broom was brought here. Gorse was (supposedly) for cheap/growable fencing. Gorse flowers yellow too, so maybe it's all mixed up.

    Also: I've been here around 50 years now - about time I visit Dunedin myself!
    Based on my expert opinion from a 3 night stay - rug up even more than normal in NZ. The wind seemed to come straight off the Antarctic and we were there in mid-November..

  9. #14739
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    We have a breadbox (actually a bread-bin the UK). If you want to stop your bread from drying out, but keep the crust crisp, you need a breadbox. A breadbox traps just a bit of humidity to keep the bread soft, but circulates air to prevent the crust going soggy.

    Honestly, stop messing around and get a breadbox.

    Grant Hutchison
    I don't know what the rest of the world has been up to, but belgium has had, since half a century or so, a special kind of paper bags that keep bread perfect for days. As soon as you cross the border to the Netherlands, that invention seems gone from history. No other country I've ever been to has ever featured that kind of bag. They fool around with perforated plastic bags, even worse non perforated plastic bags, paper-and-plastic bags...none as environmentally friendly and none as effective. Under those conditions, you really need a bread bin. With our bags, you don't. Just put the bread in its bag in your kitchen cupboard of choice and be done with it.

    It's one of those tiny cultural differences that really amaze me. How can you NOT have adapted something so handy?
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  10. #14740
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    I don't know what the rest of the world has been up to, but belgium has had, since half a century or so, a special kind of paper bags that keep bread perfect for days.
    Interesting. What's special about the paper bag? (A few seaches have turned up nothing for me--maybe I need to search in Flemish.)
    Bread is often provided in paper bags hereabouts, but they're essentially useless for keeping the bread fresh.

    Grant Hutchison

  11. #14741
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    It's all plastic here in the USofA. Unless you get "artisan" bread which comes in paper with one end of the loaf sticking out.

    Bugging me this morning that my daily weigh-in was a pound higher than yesterday. I KNOW fluctuations are normal, but it tends to get me down. And I had a bad moment in the supermarket a couple of days ago and bought a bunch of junk food. Haven't started most of it yet but as long as it's there, it will eventually get eaten.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  12. #14742
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    It's all plastic here in the USofA. Unless you get "artisan" bread which comes in paper with one end of the loaf sticking out.
    Plastic gives you a soft crust as the water vapour redistributes--not that it matters much with supermarket bread. Open paper bags are about the same as leaving the bread unwrapped--it dries out quickly. There's a conspiracy theory that bakers sell their uncut bread in those open (and uncloseable) paper bags deliberately, so that people come back and buy more bread after two days, when they find the cut end of their loaf has turned to drywall.

    Grant Hutchison

  13. #14743
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Plastic gives you a soft crust as the water vapour redistributes--not that it matters much with supermarket bread. Open paper bags are about the same as leaving the bread unwrapped--it dries out quickly. There's a conspiracy theory that bakers sell their uncut bread in those open (and uncloseable) paper bags deliberately, so that people come back and buy more bread after two days, when they find the cut end of their loaf has turned to drywall.

    Grant Hutchison
    That is the purpose of "Texas Toast". You grill the dried bread to make it editable again. Of course, there are hundreds of places where this is normal, not just Texas. I'm pretty sure adding Texas to the name is a branding choice. The slices are thicker than normal and everything in Texas is bigger. Maybe...
    Solfe

  14. #14744
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    That is the purpose of "Texas Toast". You grill the dried bread to make it editable again. Of course, there are hundreds of places where this is normal, not just Texas. I'm pretty sure adding Texas to the name is a branding choice. The slices are thicker than normal and everything in Texas is bigger. Maybe...
    I lean more in the other direction: Melba toast. (Which is indeed heavily edited toast.)

    Grant Hutchison

  15. #14745
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    Now that I have counter space, I should invest in a bread box for when I bake bread. Guess I'll add it to my housewarming list--we'll have been in the house at least a year and a half before I'll be able to have a housewarming party. We might have the house organized by then, too.
    _____________________________________________
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  16. #14746
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Now that I have counter space, I should invest in a bread box for when I bake bread.
    Yes, ideal for home-made bread.
    We have a linen "bread bag" we take away with us when we go on self-catering holidays, which works pretty well too. Takes up less space, but it's hard to keep clean.

    Grant Hutchison

  17. #14747
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Interesting. What's special about the paper bag? (A few seaches have turned up nothing for me--maybe I need to search in Flemish.)
    Bread is often provided in paper bags hereabouts, but they're essentially useless for keeping the bread fresh.

    Grant Hutchison
    For starters, the bag is big enough so that it can actually close. The paper is not the brown type that you sometimes find in supermarket bread products, but a white paper that is slightly greasy. We buy bread sliced. If you close the bag every time after taking a slice out and close it well after the meal (just roll the end or fold it) the bread will remain fine for up to 3 days, with only the first slice drying out. The crust remains perfect. the composition of the paper must be such that it does what you described regarding humidity and airflow.

    I've just looked it up: the paper of our bags has been treated with a thin layer of paraffin. This gives it the greasy feel and helps to maintain the right humidity inside the bag (pure paper is too dry, plastic too wet). The only downside is that this makes them strictly speaking not recyclable with other paper but should be thrown out with the unrecyclable waste. They are looking into fabricating them with a biodegradable grease for the future.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  18. #14748
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    Is that the USA meaning of paraffin (which is petroleum-based candle wax) or UK (which we'd call kerosene)?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  19. #14749
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    That's petroleum-based candle wax they use on the bread bags.

    Guess what we use to start a wood fire in Belgium.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  20. #14750
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Is that the USA meaning of paraffin (which is petroleum-based candle wax) or UK (which we'd call kerosene)?
    That reminds me of a trivial annoyance with writer Charles Stross: In more than one book he has major American characters that talk like Brits. For instance, at one point an American character talks about turning on the paraffin heater, and I looked it up because I was curious how a wax heater works. I found out then that it was what I would call a plain old kerosene heater. He also has Americans talking about going to hospital (not “a hospital” or “the hospital”). I counted perhaps a dozen British phrases used by more than one American (so not just somebody who lived overseas for a long time). Honestly, I think I could do better going the other way, and I would have someone do a proofread to catch what I messed up on. It was noticeable enough to disrupt my suspension of disbelief, especially since it got to the point I was wondering if he was doing it deliberately, which felt disrespectful (like either the American or British person that thinks theirs is the only proper version of the language and gets snooty about it).

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  21. #14751
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Is that the USA meaning of paraffin (which is petroleum-based candle wax) or UK (which we'd call kerosene)?
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    That's petroleum-based candle wax they use on the bread bags.
    We'd call it "paraffin wax" in the UK. Paraffin is the old name for hydrocarbons of the alkane family, so can be anything from a gas to a liquid to a waxy solid, the last being the stuff used to treat "wax paper" bags in the UK (which are a common enough food packaging).
    In the UK kerosene is specifically heating oil, which is a cocktail of alkanes and cycloalkanes and various additives.

    Grant Hutchison

  22. #14752
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    That reminds me of a trivial annoyance with writer Charles Stross: In more than one book he has major American characters that talk like Brits.
    I'm currently and intermittently working my way through a collection of short stories entitled Clockwork Cairo--steampunk with an Egyptian theme.
    Nineteenth-century English aristocrats seem to feature a lot, and unfortunately none of the American authors I've read so far can sustain the language--there's a lot of "what ho, old chap", but that just makes the frequent lapses into modern American usage all the more ludicrous.

    Grant Hutchison

  23. #14753
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I'm currently and intermittently working my way through a collection of short stories entitled Clockwork Cairo--steampunk with an Egyptian theme.
    Nineteenth-century English aristocrats seem to feature a lot, and unfortunately none of the American authors I've read so far can sustain the language--there's a lot of "what ho, old chap", but that just makes the frequent lapses into modern American usage all the more ludicrous.
    Yes, same problem. I suppose I feel a bit more sympathetic to someone writing a short story versus a major author doing the same thing in multiple novels (I’d think he would be getting feedback and could get a proofreader to look at it for later novels at least), but annoying nonetheless.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  24. #14754
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    the last being the stuff used to treat "wax paper" bags in the UK (which are a common enough food packaging).
    What foods are packaged in those bags in the UK? Because I can't think of anything besides bread and one kind of waffles (yes...) here.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  25. #14755
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    What foods are packaged in those bags in the UK? Because I can't think of anything besides bread and one kind of waffles (yes...) here.
    Takeaway sandwiches, fish and chips, cakes, cooked meats, cheese ... really anything moist or greasy.

    Grant Hutchison

  26. #14756
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    That's petroleum-based candle wax they use on the bread bags.

    Guess what we use to start a wood fire in Belgium.
    I use dairy cartons that are made of a heavy cardboard with a wax coating. When I was doing a lot of field work in the winter, I'd always take along a couple of 2 litre cartons. When the top is spread open and the upper edges of all four sides are lit on fire, it will slowly burn down and put out a lot of heat, like a giant candle. Some of my colleagues would make a proper wood fire from dry limbs at lunch time, but burning a carton or two was usually good enough to warm me after having a quick lunch.

  27. #14757
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    On the recycling front, there's a move afoot to replace the petroleum-based paraffin wax with a vegetable wax, which would make the treated paper compostable. (But maybe still usable as a firelighter.)
    Some bread-makers in the UK use waxed paper wrapping for their sliced loaves (it's how sliced bread was originally sold), and there was great fanfare (from, IIRC, Warburton's) a few years ago about their impending transition to compostable waxed wrapping--I presume that's happened by now, but I don't know.

    Grant Hutchison

  28. #14758
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    I use dairy cartons that are made of a heavy cardboard with a wax coating. When I was doing a lot of field work in the winter, I'd always take along a couple of 2 litre cartons. When the top is spread open and the upper edges of all four sides are lit on fire, it will slowly burn down and put out a lot of heat, like a giant candle. Some of my colleagues would make a proper wood fire from dry limbs at lunch time, but burning a carton or two was usually good enough to warm me after having a quick lunch.
    I suspect those cartons may have a plastic coating now!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  29. #14759
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I suspect those cartons may have a plastic coating now!
    Looks like you are spot on. This is from the "Dairy Australia" site but I am sure that it is the normal process these days. "Cartons are made from cardboard lined with a polyethylene plastic"

  30. #14760
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    I got a message from someone on Facebook. Last year, the school where I worked hired a new teacher. Invariably, since I was a sub, I would be training my replacement. That's not stressful or anything. For a couple of months she dodged my calls and refused to show up for work. Then she quit.

    It turns out that she was from Alaska, divorced and trying to honor the joint custody agreement with her ex, in the middle of pandemic. Since the job was in New York, it did not go well.

    Anyway, that same year, I also quit for very different reasons.

    Back to the message. She sent me a clear and simple message: "Hey! I might be coming back!"

    No. Just no.
    Solfe

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