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Cooking is Sexy if you are a Guy


annecros
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After reading this article in the Toronto Star, particularly this bit:

This idea – that liberated women don't prepare food – isn't one that Citibank just cooked up. In fact, as one female friend quickly pointed out, it's still part of the Sex and the City cultural hangover. Carrie Bradshaw, of course, famously used her oven as a shoe cupboard far before Grace, as a kind of feminist triumph: she likes sex and (therefore) doesn't like to cook. Shopping, friends and men sustained her instead.

But since Sex, the phenomenon has heated up. Recently, I talked to a middle-aged male film director about a dinner he had just cooked for friends. When I subsequently told him about a meal I'd made, he raised his eyebrows. "I don't know a single other woman who cooks – or at least admits to it in public!" he exclaimed. "You're like a relic!" His male friends all cook, he said. But no women of his generation or younger that he knows prepares food.

Why? In short, men come across as evolved, sexy and creative when they mix things up in the kitchen. But women seem stuck in Leave-it-to-Beaver-land when they step in front of the stove: domestic suckers who aren't paying enough attention to their ambition or their libidos. They're not third-wave feminists, embracing women's traditional skills, or sexy, busy people who make time for health and family, but women who need a good empowerment talk.

I spoke to a few of my other female friends about it. "I never had anything in the cupboards before I had kids," one friend, a professional singer, told me proudly. "I was out having fun."

"I can't even boil water," another told me, smiling. "If my husband is away, I just eat cereal or get takeout." She's never been taught to cook and has no desire to learn. Plus, her husband, whose dad was a chef, loves to cook elaborate meals.

It seems that I am an anachronism. :biggrin:

Thinking back on my working outside the home days, hubby and I actually split the cooking duties much more evenly. Now, that I work in the home, I do about 95% of the cooking. He does tell me that I am sexy as as all getout, even when I am elbow deep in dishes. But reflecting on the four offspring we were responsible for bringing into the world, the male is the much better cook.

So guys, are you feeding your partner's libido as well as their belly? Am I denying my husband an opportunity to express his machismo? Am I really all that square for admitting that I cook?

Anne, bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan. :biggrin:

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I'm living with 8 other female university students at the moment. I'd say half of us know how to cook from scratch.

And I'd say of the ones who do cook, most of us had stay at home moms. I've this theory that having a stay-at-home mom who can cook means that you're more likely to be able to cook.

Of my guy friends, I know one who can really cook and the rest appear to live on takeout or cereal with milk or ready-to-eat food.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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I'm living with 8 other female university students at the moment. I'd say half of us know how to cook from scratch.

And I'd say of the ones who do cook, most of us had stay at home moms. I've this theory that having a stay-at-home mom who can cook means that you're more likely to be able to cook.

Of my guy friends, I know one who can really cook and the rest appear to live on takeout or cereal with milk or ready-to-eat food.

This is my experience as well: I know more women of my generation who cook than men. But Anne has a point in that when people find out I cook they're more likely to say "wow, that's great, a guy who cooks!" but with the women the reaction is much more negative. I do all the cooking in our household, but that's mostly because I enjoy cooking, and my wife can take it or leave it.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I'm living with 8 other female university students at the moment. I'd say half of us know how to cook from scratch.

And I'd say of the ones who do cook, most of us had stay at home moms. I've this theory that having a stay-at-home mom who can cook means that you're more likely to be able to cook.

I think having a stay-at-home mom definitely helps, but more than that specifically is having at least one parent that cooks regularly. Those things seem to be learned from childhood, even if your parents don't sit you down and instruct you. Then again, I think it's more common for females to end up learning to cook this way; perhaps because, assuming a "traditional" nuclear family, children end up watching and spending time with the parent of the same sex more frequently. It's the same reason I think people (at least heterosexual people; I haven't figured it out for homosexual relationships) tend to date and be in relationships with partners who are similar to the parent of that gender, and why statistically the children from abusive parents usually become abusive or the abuser themselves. A lot of those behaviors and children's understanding of the way the world works starts in the home, from these observations. Maybe part of it is that those women who cook don't view it negatively if they see their own mothers choose to, at least in the younger generation.

Anyway, I guess I fit the category of third-wave feminist from that article. :wink: I have a degree in Women's Studies, but like to dabble in knitting, sewing, love to cook, and generally have no problem embracing those traditional skills as a matter of choice (choice being an important part of it). After all, those things - women's work - have been mostly ignored as valid or socially important for a long time, even in cultural anthropology. I think that's a very large of the issue: many women seem to eschew those "female" tasks because they don't see them as important in a post-feminist society, since they aren't viewed as important to society as a whole when performed at smaller, individual levels/scale. At least until one settles down to those tasks completely, giving in to other socially-expected tasks like child-rearing.

I like to cook because I like some control over what I eat, and the act of producing something from raw or semi-raw ingredients fascinates me. I like the sense of accomplishment when I do something well, and even if I don't I think of ways to improve the dish. My boyfriend wants to be able to cook, but he's not very experienced, and needs recipes. Except for steak, he's experienced failure (at least in his mind) every time he strays from set instructions, and so he has all but given up on cooking regularly. Once in a while, he'll decide to cook from a recipe, but as that requires some advanced planning and I usually end up doing the grocery shopping as the primary cook, it doesn't happen often. I do wish he would cook more, because it would take some burden off of me, but there are other things I feel are more important for him to help me with... like doing the dishes the same day that they're produced. :hmmm:

Although, having dated another guy who cooked more frequently, I never really thought it was particularly "sexy". Yeah, when the person you love produces something for you, it's a lovely gesture. But I guess because I never was afraid of the stove, and because I don't see everyday cooking as so much a spectacular event as a necessity, I never really thought one way or another about it. I just mourn its absence a little. :tear, sniffle, sigh:

For most of college, I lived in special interest housing where a good number of people of both genders cooked. Not everyone did, obviously (there were 30 people), but the house was overwhelmingly female, and I don't believe that the ratio of cooks to non-cooks of each gender was too different. No one ever seemed to think particularly one way or another of those who cooked according to gender; if people thought you were a good cook, they said so, whether you were male or female. Then again, this was "social activism and awareness" housing, so maybe that says something.

Edited by feedmec00kies (log)

"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

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I've got your "empowerment talk" right here.

I home-cook like whoa- I even have a little project-diary blog about it- and I'm not repressed on any level or in any way dominated by my (male) partner. I'm also an aggressive, workaholic overachiever. Until recently, Henry and I worked opposite schedules, and I still cooked a lot. Now I'm back to cooking almost every day. This is my choice; it is my passion and my gift to the people in my life.

For the most part, the ideas in the excerpted article are poison! Sure, there's a half-hearted attempt by the writer to redeem herself and a strategic dropping of some Michael Pollan ideas at the end, but the net result of my having read the thing was aggravation. :angry:

I'm evolved, sexy and creative, both in and outside of my own estimation, and I'm not going to sit for some wack reporter telling me otherwise. One doesn't need a "third-wave feminist" agenda to know BS when one sees it. That's just one of a few petty, catty swipes in this article. Negativity sells newspapers (and credit cards, and other things), plain and simple, and there's no basis in reality for these notions. Who's anachronistic now? This is 2008. And talking trash about "the rise of foodie culture" is so last season.

As far as "being able to cook" goes, let's remember the point of the fine feature film Ratatouille: "Anyone can cook." It comes from the heart, and indeed it means more than ever in our era of intense scheduling and eating on the go. I do not need a man to determine my merit in the kitchen any more than I need a man to put and keep me there. I don't need a glint in my eye, as I know how to season my food, and I don't want to be "a relic" anyway. What an insult.

PS. Anne, you're awesome. Cooking is an act of love, don't ever apologize for it!

"What was good enough yesterday may not be good enough today." - Thomas Keller

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And I'd say of the ones who do cook, most of us had stay at home moms. I've this theory that having a stay-at-home mom who can cook means that you're more likely to be able to cook.

I'd sort of argue about this one. Back when I worked outside the home, and once Peter and Heidi had arrived, it seemed that the best time to do something special with Diana in the evening, after the babies were in bed. We'd plan dinner for the next night, and get as much prep does as possible -- together. At age 6, she could wield a mean chef's knife and knew how to dice! Oh, and my kids do know how to pleat potstickers and crack coconut milk. I get them involved in the kitchen when they get home from school and they need to unwind.

Oh, and I know plenty of stay-at-home moms whose idea of cooking from scratch is opening a bag or can of cream of something soup!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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At first the stay at home mom idea made sense, but then I looked at it in light of my own experience. My mom was a working mother (the only one I knew back then) and a terrible cook. I think I learned to cook, or at least bake bread, from an older sister. But I loved to cook. Always have, but my mom doesn't really care for cooking.

Then when I was a stay at home mom, I was the only mom in the neighborhood who was at home. I cooked a lot, and all the neighborhood kids found reasons to stop by when they smelled cookies. My kids all know how to cook, but most of them don't really care to do it. One is a chef, so I guess someone was paying attention.

I don't think cooking has anything to do with feminism. I like to cook because it's creative and interesting, and oh yeah--because we need to eat. If you don't live in a big city where there are myriad options, you learn to cook if you don't want to eat bad food.

Neither of my husbands have been able to cook. My first husband knew how to make an omelet and grill meat, the second can construct a cheese sandwich and that's the end of his abilities. Sure, I'd think it was sexy for a guy to cook--it means I'd get a break once in a while!

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Okay, maybe what I should have said was that people who go home to somebody who cooks and cooks from scratch are more likely to know how to cook.

I put stay-at-home moms because my mom hasn't worked since I was born--I'm eldest. And well, most kids who have someone at home all the time, that someone's Mom.

I think we should start a petition regarding the Citibank ad. That's just wrong. *snarl* (Yes, it's that time of the month. Beware.)

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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Cooking is an essential part of my courtship ritual. (Is this why I'm still single? :laugh: )

I once dated a lovely redhead who had two munchkins at home. When I offered to whip up dinner for everyone, she exclaimed, "A man who COOKS!" Years later, I whipped up a savory, family-size pot roast that my date could share with her father and extended family.

Most women would be thrilled to have a guy cook something tasty for them, I think.

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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I don't understand the article primarily becuase feminism and womens' liberation are based on the ability to make choices according to one's own preferences and lifestyle.

I have never seen any feminist statement that one choise is "better" than another. A man or woman who embraces what he or she loves is sexy. Srom a female perspective, a man who is willing to share household duties without seeingthem as "male" or "female" roles is attractive.

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A man or woman who embraces what he or she loves is sexy. From a female perspective, a man who is willing to share household duties without seeing them as "male" or "female" roles is attractive.

Many times I've cleaned out a date's stove or fridge after dinner just to be a good houseguest. I always say: The guest that helps clean up is the guest that gets invited back.

Is this type of "housekeeping" branded as feminine? Perhaps it was in the past, but big deal. And at my job, I'm known for taking a break from the computer to clear out the hazmat site known as the office fridge. It's relaxing.

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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I think it's a loving thing if anyone, irrespective of age or gender, cooks for me.

Of course it's great if it's a man. But here's the thing: all my best male friends, ex-lovers and husband are real cooks, not simply slap a steak on the Q guys. Heck, even my only brother is a caterer! The men in my life who cook outnumber the women, and I take it for granted: this is the world as I know it. It's delightful, but, well normal.

In the spirit of role reversal, some men might find a woman staring at his undercarriage draining his oil sexy. (I think a Boston Cream Pie might get even better results.)

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I think it's a loving thing if anyone, irrespective of age or gender, cooks for me.

I've had the honor of whipping up Pepper Chicken in Maggie the Cat's kitchen for one of the Heartland's whirlwind dinners. Maggie's right: to cook for and thus nourish someone is the essence of selfless affection.

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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Is this type of "housekeeping" branded as feminine?  Perhaps it was in the past, but big deal.  And at my job, I'm known for taking a break from the computer to clear out the hazmat site known as the office fridge.  It's relaxing.

As you said: in the past, probably, but now, no. Yeah, maybe some people who are too firmly grounded in traditional gender roles would say something, but that's silly. Anyway, those differ from culture to culture, anyway.

I went to read the article just now, because there seemed to be a pretty strong (negative) reaction to it from some people. After reading it, I think the point isn't to lambaste women for cooking, though I'm not going to say the article isn't written with sensationalism in mind (isn't everything these days?). Some of it strikes me as more about relating the how women view the task of cooking to the larger handling of the term "feminist." Sort of. However, I don't think she's criticizing women for cooking. I think the point is more about approaching what seems to be a societal handling of women who cook as "relics", and that women shouldn't be afraid to admit they cook any more than they should be to admit that they're feminists. Am I totally missing the point here?

"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

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So guys, are you feeding your partner's libido as well as their belly?

Hell yes.

But it's a two-way street. I am lucky to have a spouse who's a gifted baker and just plain excels in the farinaceous arts. I'm more interested in unusual ingredients and tasty creatures so it's fair to say our house is divided right down the sweet versus savory line. Its a win-win situation.

I think anyone who cooks with passion is sexy. Even the farmers that make the ingredients can be sexy if they are passionate about it.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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My first husband could cook, but it was always like doing a chemistry lab- following the recipe and being analytical. When I started to cook I got a lot of praise and I definitely was more innovative. He was also the one more interested in cleaning. He told me one day when he was at the laundromat that a woman complimented him for being a husband and doing the laundry. He replied that he was more than happy to do it since I was a wonderful cook and did all the cooking. And I divorced this guy- why???

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Glad to see that in the domestic sphere (as opposed to the professional, where men have called the shots for years and still do more than women do), we all now agree that Real Men Cook.

But I thought the point of feminism was to eliminate the idea that certain functions, roles, or what-have-you are inherently male and certain others inherently female. Human beings being the creatures we are, we often correct imbalances by heading to the opposite extreme, and thus it was that some women took the stance that it was somehow wrong for women to enjoy any of the activities that had been traditionally considered feminine.

Now that we've pretty much gotten over all that, we can restore balance by allowing women and men to pursue whatever activities they enjoy. If one is a woman and that activity happens to be cooking, more power to her. And I can't imagine anyone enjoying domestic chores, so that issue should be moot -- and split down the middle in a heterosexual couple.

Edited because I guess I should share my own personal background: Both my parents, and both my grandparents, worked; I think you might find that black families by and large never really did fit the 1950s mold the feminists railed against. (In more than a few cases, that was because one of them -- like my grandfather -- worked as domestic help for a well-off white family -- maybe the parents or grandparents of some of you reading this, if you are white.) Grandma Smith cooked -- as did Dad. I take after my father, not my mother, in that regard -- though after the divorce, Mom did occasionally prepare big Sunday brunches and cook for guests.

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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There are people who split the domestic chores down the middle? :blink:

I do agree that it should be about choice. I just like to cook, not because being a woman has suited me more to carrying a baby on my hip while I stir the bowl, but because I enjoy it. Although having the hip to carry the baby certainly has been convenient.

While I think it would be nice if my husband could cook for me, I'd settle for him being an adventurous eater. Because the kitchen is my territory right now, and I'm not sure how I'd feel about sharing it. If I'm being honest.

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A man or woman who embraces what he or she loves is sexy.

I agree, though I would say "who embraces what he or she loves and is good at it is sexy." If they're not good at it, they're just cute, but I love watching a man do something he's good at--whether it be cooking or fixing a clogged sink, I don't really care.

I think it's a loving thing if anyone, irrespective of age or gender, cooks for me.

When I think of cooking as a sign of affection, only occasions involving my parents come to mind. When it comes to the men in my life, although most of them could cook (and all but one was fairly good at it), something else comes to mind. And it's probably not what most people would think of.

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While I think it would be nice if my husband could cook for me, I'd settle for him being an adventurous eater.  Because the kitchen is my territory right now, and I'm not sure how I'd feel about sharing it.  If I'm being honest.

I once cooked dinner for 30 in my Hasidic rabbi's kitchen. Three generations of the Tribe lived in the house, so three generations of eager eaters were present. While this family held pretty strictly to traditional gender roles, i.e., women cook and men eat, the rabbi's young daughters and his wife seemed to enjoy watching a guy cook. The fact that I sauteed with copious amounts of garlic probably didn't hurt.

The rabbi's grandmother, however, seemed a little miffed that someone from the other side of the mechitza was working her stove. I asked a female friend about the grandmother's sideways looks and she laughed, "The kitchen? It's the grandmother's domain." :laugh:

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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I think that we are also becoming more different in who cooks and who doesn't by generation rather than just gender. Most women older than me can cook, even if they don't particularly like it. However, people my age and younger, both men and women, are less likely to know how to, or want to, cook. My friends are always amazed by my interest in cooking and baking. They would rather eat out or buy a Stouffer's meal.

My perspective is that many other traditional skills are going by the wayside for both genders: the ability to work on your own car, canning and preserving, sewing, fixing things around the house. I don't know if it is because I just grew up in an abnormally anachronistic, DIY household or if it is because I live in a slightly more urban area now. I feel cooking falls into that whole shift.

Don't get me started on how skills are valued along gender lines. I hope that someday we can just recognize skills for skills' sake and not for who performs the tasks. That said, I really got a lot of attention in the 90s because I was a woman who raced and built her own cars. In fact, that is how I met my husband. Good thing I could impress him with my mechanic ability because at the time I could hardly boil water. :laugh:

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Don't get me started on how skills are valued along gender lines. I hope that someday we can just recognize skills for skills' sake and not for who performs the tasks.

Maybe it's all about craftsmanship. Craftswomanship? I really enjoy seeing people work with their hands, especially when it's things I don't know how to do myself. I used to know a cabinetmaker, and was fascinated by the tools, the smell of the wood, the fine details and polishing. My hands don't know how to do those things.

Skills are being lost--well, not lost really, just not passed on and enjoyed the way they used to be. I love old buildings. I live in a house that's over 100 years old, with built-in china cabinets and bookshelves, and extras. I like homemade food, the extras you get when you make your own--the smell of the kitchen when you bake bread that doesn't come with the loaf from the store, no matter how good it tastes.

I'm 46, and I felt that cooking was an important skill. I have also canned, gathered wild edibles, caught fish, and I would hunt if I had the energy to do it. Just because I can buy all my food at the store doesn't mean I don't want to know how to prepare it myself. Whether it's sexy, or feminist or an anachronism, cooking is still important.

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Plain and simple. Sharing one's gifts for eating or drinking well is a blessing. Whether or not it's sexy depends on the nature of the relationships of the folks involved. But it's most defintely about sharing and breaking bread in the traditional sense. I feel like I'm sharing of myself whether I show up with Tupperware filled with food I made with my own hands, a nice dessert I purchased at a local bakery, am mixing the cocktails for the evening's enjoyment, or pairing the wines for a dinner in or dinner out at a BYOB. It's about making sure that the repast is well planned and well enjoyed. That the beverage accompaniments are chosen with care and that everyone wants for nothing. It's about acting like host/hostess whether your physical space is part of the plan or not. I can't think of anything I enjoy more than a gathering of like minded individuals sharing a lovely meal, well paired potables and each other's company. That's what makes the times in between, performing the mundane tasks of day to day life tolerable. The anticipation of the next gathering of friend/friends. Amen.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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One of the things I did find particularly attractive about hubby when we first started dating was that he was a single parent successfully raising two teenage daughters (one of which he adopted) and had full custody.

I think I find the Citibank ad more disturbing than the article. The article is more of an observational piece, but the writer does express some personal angst and almost a buy-in of the concept. I think she's wrong, but I have anecdotal evidence in my own family that supports her view.

Oldest daughter is a Certified Nurse Practitioner, has one of the nicest and well equipped kitchens I have had the pleasure of cooking in - but we had to go out and buy a cookie sheet (along with all the food) when she decided she wanted to cook breakfast for myself and my husband. Number two daughter, coincidentally (or maybe not) a big Sex in the City fan, just adores Sandra Lee. I bought her a cupcake stand for Christmas. She's married to a saucier who comes to my house to eat well. Son can cook anything he wants. Baby girl is nearly as good, but as a student lacks time and money, but does manage to keep herself and roommates nourished.

I ran across another article this morning, Foodie son whips up a delicious surprise

and noted this:

So it is probably entirely your fault that you have a foodie child.

A foodie child will open the refrigerator hoping to find some baked brie with cranberry-pecan glaze on toast rounds for an after-school snack.

No, no - he won't be happy with a Ho-Ho.

I am all for the creative and fun art of cooking. I used to do it with a lot of joy and passion before I realized that I would soon have two children in college at once and my time might be better spent in the lucrative humor-column business.

Perhaps it was this abrupt redistricting into the town of slice-and-bake, in the county of just-add-water, in the nation of microwave-and-serve that has caused my youngest child to become such a foodie.

It does seem to have a more generational feel. Maybe GenX just can't cook?

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