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Good home blender?

I wish I could buy your old Oster off you. I'd pay the same as new price for it.

Dec 30, 2012
megkrichards in Cookware

Who has bought a new dishwasher lately?

Update 3 years after I got the Bosch: It works quite well still, except that the door latch had to be replaced, and also, the very quiet operation became, after many months, still reasonably quiet, but quite a bit less quiet than it originally was. Still, not loud like old dishwashers used to be.

I'm happy with it, overall, but disappointed that the door latch had to be replaced, and also that I now have to pry it open from sticking my fingers in the crack in the top, because the plastic part where there is a nook for your fingers, to open it, actually cracked from the strain of being repeatedly pulled in the manner that it was purportedly designed to withstand. After 3 years.

I think anyone looking for a good anything, ought to be cautious. Even appliances that people had great success with that they bought 10 years ago, aren't the same reliable appliance, today. 10 years ago, some of those companies were still American. Now, they are all bought and licensed brands owned by conglomerates with factories in China that crank out whatever brand names they are supposed to, and things that lasted 10 years, 10 years ago, are lasting 3 years or less, today.

I got in on an Oster Classic beehive blender for about $80 15 years ago. Blended ice with it for 10 years with no problems til it lost a winding or two from the motor, but still did the job. Finally the plastic cuff to the jar cracked when I dropped the whole glass jar on the kitchen floor...it bounced. The glass didn't break, but the cuff cracked. Went to replace the cuff, and all I could get anywhere, was a cheesy shiny thin flimsy plastic part that fit, but was made of a plastic that couldn't withstand the tensile strain of being twisted on, and cracked in 3 weeks. Bought another, screwed it on more gently, and weeks later, same cracking apart.

I now have a functional blender I can't use for lack of a replaceable part that I cannot get with even decent enough quality to last more than a few measly weeks. And I read about $200 blenders that might make the grade from Cook's Illustrated...if they stand the test of time. If. So I am intimidated from spending money on a blender even though I need one, because I fear there is no getting out of throwing money down rathole after greedy corporate wasteful rathole.

Nov 30, 2012
megkrichards in Cookware

Any Mainers know of someplace good to eat in Central Maine? (Kennebec)

Not headed anywhere, live here, but realized other hounds might be able to suggest good eats in this area instead of traveling an hour or more each way to access such. By "Kennebec Region" I mean Central Maine, and more specifically, towns located along the Kennebec River such as Gardiner, Augusta, and Waterville, disincluding Bangor to the North and Brunswick to the South.

I know there are local favorites, but the Freedom Cafe was the only one I was truly thoroughly impressed with of all I have tried, and it has closed, because the owners wanted to move on and do something somewhere else.

Certain other places really were great, but they seem to be the ones that open and either change ownership and subsequently bland down and serve more boring fare (which is I guess what people want) or they go out of business. I don't want to list anything specifically precisely because it's a small community and people take things pretty seriously when you criticize local standards.

I'm writing in hopes of hearing some really good news about restaurants in this area. To be fair, there are great sandwich shops and such, but as for restaurant dining, I haven't been lucky and hope for some direction from others who can recommend something without it being an hour away, because the gas and time are considerations.

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Kennebec Cafe
166 Main St, Fairfield, ME 04937

Apr 12, 2011
megkrichards in Northern New England

Any Mainers know of someplace good to eat in Central Maine? (Kennebec)

Or has anyone out there traveled to the Kennebec region and found anything to recommend?

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Kennebec Cafe
166 Main St, Fairfield, ME 04937

Apr 11, 2011
megkrichards in Northern New England

Can you make simple syrup with Splenda or Xylitol?

sucralose is not the same thing as aspartame, by the way. I actually succeeded in making a vegan sugarfree pecan pie that, while a bit runny, had the syrup texture and perfect taste of the real thing...the only catch, I didn't write down what I did, and more than a small slice gave terrible GI upset. I used isomalt for the syrup texture, and it works. It also works for jams, but mine did crystallize after several weeks in the refrigerator.

For those who want to make a food allergy/vegan and also sugarfree/low glycemic version of something like pecan pie, the trouble is worth it. Naturally, there's a catch. Isomalt can cause horrific GI upset if eaten in any quantity, so seconds on that pie were a bad idea.

Apr 11, 2011
megkrichards in Home Cooking

Nuts Are Not Shelf-Stable

Yes, sadly, your organic whole-grain flour, if bought from an unrefrigerated store shelf, was probably rancid the day you bought it, and possibly rancid the day it hit the store shelves due to the time that elapses (without refrigeration) between being ground in the first place, and getting packaged and shipped to stores. But as was stated earlier, people are so accustomed to eating rancid grains and nuts, that many cannot detect it until or unless the rancidity is quite advanced, and of course rancid fats (for it is the oxidation of the fat in the germ or nut that causes rancidity) are very harmful to health. So we have to ask ourselves, with current practices in unrefrigerated storage and transport, is whole-grain *really* healthy? It would be if it were fresh, but with current distribution methods, it cannot be obtained fresh.

Nov 06, 2009
megkrichards in Features

Nuts Are Not Shelf-Stable

Oh, and if we can raise awareness of this problem, there is a solution: the same technology that is already in use to keep certain comestibles fresher longer, the "pillow pack" of nitrogen gas used in many packaged meats such as ground turkey, prevents oxidation without harmful chemicals. Nitrogen is the most abundant element in the air we breathe, and it presence preserves by essentially displacing oxygen so that oxidation (also known as rancidity when a fat is what is oxidizing) cannot occur.

So I suggest that consumers who want nuts and whole-grain flours that are not rancid, contact your grocers and ask for nitrogen pillow-packed products. Some may already be doing it, as I suspect is the reason that one brand of sunflower seeds I buy seems to come with extra "air" in the package, and is always fresh.

Nov 06, 2009
megkrichards in Features

Nuts Are Not Shelf-Stable

Glad someone brought this up! I am extremely sensitive to rancidity, and can tell at a whiff, and know now where I cannot buy any bulk seed or nut items, and where I can buy a few. Places with high turnover seem to have the least problem, but again it depends on what you buy and how much of it gets sold. When nuts are really, really rancid, you can see it: a darker, semi-transparent "greasy" look starting at the skin and penetrating deeper into the nut meat as the process progresses. But long before that happens, they are off, and very unhealthy. Refrigerating or freezing once you get them home will not help if they are rancid the day you bought them, and most of them are.

By the way, this same problem is true of all that wonderful "whole grain" flour on unrefrigerated store shelves, and whole-grain cornmeal, and any whole grain: if it is more than a short time from being ground, and is stored out of refrigeration, you are buying "healthy" whole-grain flour that may be worse for you than the refined white stuff, which paradoxically contains nothing that can rancidify. This is why the refining process of making white flour was such a breakthrough, because prior to that, grain could only be stored in its whole form, and had to be ground at the local miller in the amount the individual wanted to use. Whole grain flour doesn't last. So white flour was a marvel, because it could be stored in an already-ground form. Then once the movement toward whole grain got started, people had forgotten the storage problem with whole grain flour, and just started treating it like white flour. So really, the only way to eat whole-grain anything that isn't rancid, is to own your own grain mill and grind the amount you intend to use that day, or week (if you refrigerate it after), because we no longer have a town miller to take our grain to for grinding, for use that day or week.

Uncle Dean's in Waterville takes care to refrigerate their local and specialty whole-grain flours. Nuts however, are not refrigerated, so about the only way you can guard against rancidity is to purchase them still in the shell, and crack them yourself, and they are only available in the shell in Fall.

Thanks for bringing up this important issue; I get weird looks whenever I try to tell anyone else about it.

Nov 06, 2009
megkrichards in Features

Who has bought a new dishwasher lately?

Report almost a year later: I still love that Bosch Evolution without any bells of whistles except an all-stainless interior. No beep, no lock, but a quiet dishwasher that has been getting my dishes clean sometimes twice a day for nearly a year.
And apparently using phosphate-and-chlorine-bleach-laden detergent really isn't necessary... it works just fine with a homemade eco-friendly mix that contains no synthetic detergents, no chlorine, and no phosphates.

We shall see whether this machine lives up to a current lukewarm standard of 5 expected years of life without maintenance, or possibly even an extraordinary (by current standards) 10 years. If it gives us trouble before 5 years, that will be a shame.

Oct 11, 2009
megkrichards in Cookware

Trader Joe's Truffle Oil

Given all the shady (and sometimes perfectly legal) sleight-of-hand we have been discussing in the comestibles market, I wouldn't bet on those little tiny bits of something you can see in the shaker being actual truffle. They could be anything.

Aug 02, 2009
megkrichards in Chains

best turkey sandwich (or panini or wrap or spring roll) for thanksgiving leftovers...?

Cold or hot turkey on a lowcarb wrap with Sriracha Mayo (equal parts mayo and the delicious chili garlic sauce with the rooster on the bottle) with cilantro and crunchy fresh red onion, and whatever else you have on hand. The Sriracha Mayo is the most important part.

Dec 02, 2008
megkrichards in General Topics

Who has bought a new dishwasher lately?

Have been reading all this, including the Samurai debate, and the Kenmore Sears debate, etc., the reason I bought a Bosch is that on numerous sites where people who own the machines rate them, all I heard about under-$600 brands was bad news. The Kenmores took first prize for not getting dishes clean and then breaking, sometimes repeatedly, with terrible customer support to boot. The others like Whirlpool and Maytag had similar problems depending, plus being very noisy. The under-$600 Bosches were the only brand I found that got a clean bill of performance in terms of getting dishes clean well, not being junk in terms of breaking in the first year (Kenmore was I think the MOST unreliable brand I saw according to those who bought them), and being quiet. The people who didn't like Bosch tended to dislike it because of the lack of a heating element to dry dishes.
I can agree that calling what is nothing more than "drip dry" a fancy name and pretending that the stainless interior somehow helps with condensation is bogus. The stainless interior, according to the manual, condenses moisture because it is cooler than the dishes. But both reasoning ability, and actually touching it after a cycle, verify that it is just as warm as everything else in the dishwasher, and therefore cannot condense anything any better. This would be different *if* they installed heat-sinks or some sort of heat-conducting material on the outside, to draw heat out and thereby cool the stainless faster, or else if they installed special coolant systems to do that, but that second option would cost a lot of energy, and the first option would draw the heat away from the wash water also, and keep it from working well. And anyway, they admit themselves that the tub is well insulated, which means the stainless cannot possibly be cool after running the machine, so the idea that it could somehow "dry" the dishes is really silly. It relies on a rinse agent and the same "drying method" as leaving a dish drainer full of dishes to dry on the counter (they even suggest propping the door ajar with the top rack). But they had to call it something snazzy so people would still be willing to buy a dishwasher that DOESN'T dry dishes for you any more than that dishrack on the counter does. I knew all this when I bought it, but was more than willing to part with essentially running an electric oven every time I ran a dishwasher, and the energy bills that go with it. Sadly, I can't disable the "in-line" water heating... and my model isn't the one with the Eco option of using lower temperature water. Since my house uses hot-water baseboard heat, it seems senseless and wasteful to have electrical at-source water heating as well for the dishwasher.
So, why am I happy with the BOSCH? Well, since I have only just bought it, I am hoping the reviews are good about it not breaking all the time...but no heating element and no garbage disposal in it are two fewer things to be energy hogs and also to malfunction.
It also uses less water than I would hand-washing with a pan of suds. So far, it does an EXCELLENT job of washing, and the air-drying assisted by Jet-dry is as good as the old "oven element' dishwasher I had years ago. The oven-element one would leave pools of water in the concavities of cup bottoms too, but at least this way, I am not shelling out to bake the dishes dry and still deal with that.

As for all the experiences everyone has with trusted brands that lasted 10 and 20 years? Unfortunately none of that counts anymore, because 20 years ago, Kenmore was reliable and Sears was trustworthy, as were many other brands that are no longer. Brands, for the most part, are an illusion, because the original companies have mostly long since been bought-out and conglomerated, and the Kenmore of the 1970's and 1980's is not even related to the Kenmore of today. May as well just call it name licensing. So whether Bosch or Kenmore of Maytag or Whirlpool were reliable and made products that lasted a decade or more, a decade or more ago, seems to be no indicator of the products bearing those names today. I've also noticed that as the price of everything (including plastics) goes up and up, manufacturers are making things progressively flimsier to keep the prices from reflecting the true increases to the consumer. How many of us would be okay with paying $1000 today to get the exact same craftmanship and durability that was the $200 machine a decade ago, if we were to find out that that is what is going on? KitchenAid is a prime example. Stand mixers of that name were once legendary, but if you want one that will last 10 years under constant use today, your best best is a lucky estate sale find, of one that was actually built in the durability era. It may look the same, but horsepower is no indication of how durable the motor is and whether it is going to lose its windings when it heats up under hard use. Heat kills motors. Back in the day, they over-engineered motors so that they were built to withstand much more than the item actually generated under even hard use, but then they realized there was no money to be had in people buying one once and using it pretty much forever, but there was a certain breakover point at which people would get mad if it didn't last long enough, so the profits could be maximized by creating "planned obsolescence" that meant the product would last just long enough to keep people from deciding never to trust that company again. As decades went by, people got used to each new standard for planned obsolescence and even got used to the heavily-marketed idea that having something new was good, even if your old one still worked. And so here we are today, when people no longer feel outraged that a dishwasher probably won't last 10 years. Couple that with hiding the true increases in prices (that's why a "half gallon" of ice cream is 1.75 quarts instead of 2 quarts, and why a "pound" of coffee has shrunk from 16 oz, then to 14 oz, and now averages 12 to 13 oz.: because people respond emotionally to the pricetag rather than the value, so instead of raising the prices as much as they are really increasing, they raise prices a little, and decrease the amount you get a little, and hope people won't notice), and you have people paying far more for much shoddier craftsmanship and materials (or paying far more per oz and just buying smaller packages), and the only thing they are aware of is a diffuse sense of things not being quite right.

I am also relieved so far that the BOSCH I got was not the latest and greatest, and didn't have the top-rack only feature, or the delayed start feature, or hidden controls, because it appears that latest-and-greatest is once again a sneak-attack of problems, at least from what people are saying. My sis-in-law complains that her Bosch beeps annoyingly and they have a hard time getting it to stop... it probably has the end-of-cycle beep, which again, mine lacks, and I am glad.

So did I get a great dishwasher at a great price? Probably not in 1980's terms. But if I managed to get one that does a great job, doesn't break down too soon, and is easy to live with until then, for a modest price, I'm happy. It is very quiet, easy to use, and gets the dishes sparkling clean without a food grinder, and gets them as dry as the bake-oven types, without the extra electricity, so long as you can open the door. How it would be for those who want to run it while they are sleeping or at work and come home to dry dishes without having someone there to open it, I don't know. And on rainy days, probably it won't dry so well.

Nov 07, 2008
megkrichards in Cookware