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5 Things You Should Know – Part 255

Here are 5 things you should know.

1. By raising your legs slowly and lying on your back, you cannot sink into quicksand.

Image credit: youtube.com

2. Washington states 911 emergency services phone number is knocked out due to a century Link outage. The temporary emergency services phone number is linked below.

360-704-2740. This number has been distributed via text and through emergency alerts on mobile. If for any reason you didn’t receive the emergency phone number, you’ll find it above.

3. Cast iron pans are a lot easier to use and maintain than is commonly believed, are nonstick, and last literally centuries.

So with the new year, there are probably a lot of people resolving to cook more, cook healthier stuff, or just generally step up their kitchen game.

Part of this might involve new cookware. If you’re in the market, you may want to consider cast iron. Cast iron is fairly inexpensive and is good because properly maintained, it will last forever (no really, like “pass down to your great-grandkids in perfect condition” forever) and is about 80-90% as nonstick as “real” nonstick pans. Because cast iron retains a lot of heat, it also makes cooking certain things a lot better / easier. It can also go in the oven, on a grill, or even a campfire, so it’s versatile.

This article gets it pretty much right, however: https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/11/the-truth-about-cast-iron.html

Still, the myths and misinformation persist. Even fans of cast iron seem to be putting in too much effort if you ask me.

People say: Cast iron is hard to clean, you need a chainmail thing, or you have to scrub it with salt, or you can’t use soap, etc. None of this is true. (don’t use steel wool, though.)

People say: Can’t cook acidic things like tomato sauce in cast iron. Not even remotely true. I make tomato sauce like, weekly in mine.

People say: You have to keep oil in it or re-season it every time you clean it. Nope. Maybe every few months.

People say: You can’t use metal utensils with it, it will damage the seasoning. WRONG.

Rather than go through each one and try to debunk it in detail.

How to be good at cast iron:

  1. Get the biggest pan you feel works for your arm strength. One bad (?) thing that IS true about cast iron is it’s heavier. Some places today are making nicer, thinner pans – worth a look.

  2. Read this: http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/ – it’s mostly right about how to season the pan.

  3. Add one or two layers of seasoning to the new pan.

  4. Cook some stuff. As long as you use a decent amount of oil or other fat to cook (which you should do anyway) you won’t have problems with sticking, even fish can be cooked in cast iron if you’re careful. If your food is sticking there is something wrong with your seasoning, or the pan is dirty.

  5. Using a flat-edged metal spatula, scrape off as much stuck-on food as you can while you’re cooking. (This should only be a little bit here and there depending on what you cooked.)

  6. After you’re done the cooking (you can do this any time, doesn’t have to be right away) heat up the pan on the stove, pretty hot but not smoking or burning the remaining food. While it’s still hot, spray the pan with water in the sink or run water over it in the sink. This steams off stuck-on food. While it’s still hot, use a scrubbing brush to remove any remaining stuck-on food. Should take about 30 seconds. About 2/3 of the time, this is enough to get the pan clean enough to use again. If any stuck-on food remains, just scrub the pan with a sponge and soap like you would anything else.

  7. Dry the pan off thoroughly. (another thing that’s true about cast iron – it’s a bad idea to leave it wet).

  8. Go back to step 4.

  9. If you find that the pan is starting to stick more, make sure it’s thoroughly clean and go back to step 3. For an extra clean use a magic eraser after the coarse scrubber, and lots of soap.

  10. If the pan is well and truly stuck for some reason, soak it in lye (pure potassium or sodium hydroxide) overnight to remove all of the seasonings, and start over at step 3, except do 5-6 layers instead of 1-2. If it has major rust you may also need to soak in a vinegar solution.

4. You can negotiate your mortgage rate. If you find lower rates with companies that are less reputable, ask your top choice to beat it. They probably will.

You should also know that by paying the minimum payment each month, you’re only paying a small portion of principle. On my $67,000 house, for instance, the principle payment is about $100. The interest is $200. By doubling your principle payment you should be able to cut the life of the loan in half. Note that you should ensure your bank doesn’t have any fees associated with an early payoff.

5. You can wash American money in the machine. Got dirty or extremely wrinkled bills? Chuck em in there with a tiny amount of detergent on the “quick” cycle and they’ll come out like new.

This can be especially helpful if you are paid or tipped in cash and you don’t want to spare the time to go to the bank.

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