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Fat Guy

Things that are a total waste of money

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In defense of slow cookers: I have never actually 'cooked' something in one, but are they just the things for candying fruits and peels.

Also when you have a huge gang, they are good for keeping things warm...like hot and sour soup in the Chinese feast.

What IS useless is having 39 speed settings on blenders and hand mixers. My best blender which lasted for years had two speeds: ON and OFF. Worked for me.


Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I guess there are reasons why anybody might buy anything, but when I walk into a rich dude's kitchen and see a gleaming set of All-Clad it screams ignorance to me. It means someone gave into marketing hype instead of actually buying the best, no less the best value. Whereas, if I see a gleaming set of Falk copper at least I think, hey, this guy may not cook much but he knows what's good and I wish I had it. A well-used set of Falk copper, now that's cool.

To say purchasing All-Clad screams ignorance is a ridiculous statement. Often times, All-Clad is an excellent value - I've accrued mine over the years, all at sales prices and great values.

The title of this topic is things that are a total waste of money. Cookware that I've bought 15 years ago, used on a daily basis, and is still in perfect condition, including some non-stick, is hardly a total waste of money.

I think there are a few points to make here. Clearly All-Clad is not crap quality cookware. On the other hand, it is not the pinnacle of cookware that many people hold it out to be. And it's tremendously overpriced on the specifications versus most other brands of cookware. This is not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of mathematical fact. Of course, if you spend 200 bucks on an All-Clad stainless sauté pan and get ten years of use out of it, one cannot call it a "total waste of money" in that sense, because this averages out to only 20 bucks per year for this use. On the other hand, one can call it a "total waste of money" in comparison to what you might have had for that ten years for the same price. And for the same money, you could have spend those ten years using two sauté pans of equal or, usually, greater quality. Or, for ten dollars more a year over that decade, you could be flying the Cadillac of sauté pans using stainless-lined heavy copper. So, in the sense that All-Clad represents a horrible bargain versus the available competition, it is a "total waste of money." When the occasional super-discount sale comes around and you can pick up things such as an All-Clad Stainless 1-quart saucepan for 20 bucks (I got several at this price), the story changes dramatically. It's hard to think of a piece of cookware that would be a waste of money at 20 bucks.

Steven's other point is well made, but again only for some people and in certain circumstances. It is an inescapable fact that many people have fallen under the influence of All-Clad's extensive marketing campaign, have blindly assumed that "All-Clad is the best" and have accumulated vast troves of All-Clad cookware as a result. There is no bigger waste of money then someone who uses a 175 dollar All-Clad saucepan primarily for boiling water -- and there are plenty of people who do just this. This is no different than people who own a "full set" of Globals of Henkels or Le Creuset or whatever, or for that matter, it's not all that different from people who buy Bacardi rum or Stoli Elit believing that they're "getting the best."

. . . anyone who says that A-C (regardless of which line) doesn't warp is either inexperienced or lying.

No warpage here. Not a liar, nor inexperienced either. But, what I will say is that when I worked in a restaurant, I was always told not to take a screaming hot pan and throw it into a sink or run it under cold water. THAT will warp it - whether it's AC, Calphalon, Lincoln Wearever, or whatever.

Calphalon is the most notorious warper, in my opinion. The stainless cladding of All-Clad and other clad aluminum products does significantly inhibit the tendency of aluminum to warp from high heat cooking. Nonstick is less likely to warp in general because it (hopefully) isn't used at anywhere near the superhot temperatures that regular cookware can be used. I can't say whether a large All-Clad frypan will warp at superhigh high temperature when you throw a chicken in the pan -- but I will say that I think anything worth 200 bucks had better not warp under any conditions.

As a general remark, I will say that this thread demonstrates what I would have said off the start: what is a total waste of money to one person will be indispensable to another.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

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As a general remark, I will say that this thread demonstrates what I would have said off the start:  what is a total waste of money to one person will be indispensable to another.

Thank you! I wish I could have said as well!

My single piece of All Clad was a gift and I'd be more than happy to accept more such gifts.

I would not give up my electric citrus juicer. It gets more juice from a fruit than I have ever managed with a reamer. I don't use it for a single fruit but when I need to juice a lot of lemons it's fabulous.

If I could have an island it would have a small sink so I could wash a piece of fruit, grab a jug of water or simply wash my hands. And when there are two of you in the kitchen an extra sink away from the main sink can be a godsend.

But it does drive me nuts to walk into a fully loaded kitchen and know that the only thing that is ever used is the microwave to reheat doggie bags. Still, again, to each his own - I guess it's envy on my part! :biggrin:


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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On wastes of money and space, maybe it's best if I pick on myself first.

My wok burner - way too little oomph for the job. I should have bought a couple more regular burners.

The biggest stock pot I have - just too big - I was deluding myself that I'd use it.

Things I think of as usually wastes in other's kitchens:

Granite counters - expensive and cold - to me they look like an admission that the owner really doesn't cook. Yes, I know some real cooks do like them, but granite's popularity had much more to do with fashion trends and money flooding forth at the same time. To me they are the SUVs of the kitchen, along with:

Ultra fancy magazine cover cabinetry. The kitchens that look like they are refugees from some some Victorian prince's kitchen are the one's I'm thinking of, and the ones that look like an Italian designer's minimalist fashion spasm. A kitchen is a workspace for making food. I'm sorta uncomfortable with trying to mix that with kitchen as fashion / status statement. I suspect utility will suffer.

Gadgets - just in general. Most fancy kitchen gadgets don't do any better, faster ... than by hand and don't get used enough to justify their space used.

Kitchen islands that sit right where traffic wants to go. I just don't get them at all, why put a giant speed bump in one's kitchen? Islands out of the way make perfect sense at times, but most are just where I would want to be walking to get something done.

"Perfect" matching sets of cookware. Gosh, no one maker does it all just the way any given cook most needs it. So when I see someone has exclusively Brand X cookware, I suspect they have never really thought about what they need and want. While I personally don't like Allclad's handles, they otherwise seem fine and as good a value than others. I just want to see that someone has thought out that so and so's sautee can't be lived without, and someone else's sauce pan ... In truth I do suspect that there are a few people out there who have thoughtfully sought and found that Brand X is perfection. It's my stereotype.

Then there are the indispensable items:

Microwaves - I love mine. There are quite a few things that the microwave does very frequently that make it a must have for my kitchen. It's used all the time, though I rarely use it to cook. The idea of a warmer that shuts off by itself so that I can forget about it till it dings ... near perfection.

My counters, stainless by the stove and the sink, and seven or eight feet of wood in between have worked out wonderfully.

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I still don't understand the use of "cold" to describe granite (at least in a negative way). My granite countertops are pink and orange: hardly a "cold" color palate. Are they cool to the touch? Hell yes, and that's a very useful thing when making pastry, for example. What about granite countertop says "this person doesn't cook"? Granite would not have been my #1 choice if I were remodeling the kitchen, but I've had wood, laminate, and Corianne in the past, and in my opinion the granite wins hands down. It's invincible as far as I can tell: it doesn't stain, crack, chip, burn, or really give a damn what sort of punishment I dole out, and I beat on it pretty bad.

All of this is to say: I agree with Sam's assessment above—

As a general remark, I will say that this thread demonstrates what I would have said off the start: what is a total waste of money to one person will be indispensable to another.

ETA: Yah, OK, so I can't spell. Corianne = Corian.


Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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The title of this topic is things that are a total waste of money.  Cookware that I've bought 15 years ago, used on a daily basis, and is still in perfect condition, including some non-stick, is hardly a total waste of money.

I think there are a few points to make here. Clearly All-Clad is not crap quality cookware.

Clearly, that's where this argument should have ended.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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The title of this topic is things that are a total waste of money.  Cookware that I've bought 15 years ago, used on a daily basis, and is still in perfect condition, including some non-stick, is hardly a total waste of money.

I think there are a few points to make here. Clearly All-Clad is not crap quality cookware.

Clearly, that's where this argument should have ended.

I'm not surprised that some lovers of All-Clad are taking it hard that others have said it's a "waste of money." All-Clad is able to charge far more than other companies selling compatible cookware because it invests lots of money in engendering that kind of attachment. All-Clad owners tend to be passionate about their cookware, and often were passionate about All-Clad before they bought it. All-Clad was the first maker to market high-end, high-design cookware to foodies, and we shouldn't discount the extent to which All-Clad's promotional campaign has influenced public perception. After all, the reason we have the tradition of giving diamond engagement rings is almost entirely attributable to what has been called the "greatest promotional campaign of all time" by De Beers.

The fact is that, unless one has infinite financial resources, then value-for-dollar is a reasonable factor to consider. On that basis, All-Clad is a horrible value on the specifications, and on that basis it's not unreasonable to say that it's a "waste of money." To make another comparison, if one hamburger costs 20 bucks and another meaningfully identical hamburger costs 10 bucks, it's not unreasonable to say that the 20 dollar hamburger is a "waste of money" -- even if the people who buy the 20 dollar burger feel like they get their money's worth.


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The title of this topic is things that are a total waste of money.  Cookware that I've bought 15 years ago, used on a daily basis, and is still in perfect condition, including some non-stick, is hardly a total waste of money.

I think there are a few points to make here. Clearly All-Clad is not crap quality cookware.

Clearly, that's where this argument should have ended.

I'm not surprised that some lovers of All-Clad are taking it hard that others have said it's a "waste of money."

After all, the reason we have the tradition of giving diamond engagement rings is almost entirely attributable to what has been called the "greatest promotional campaign of all time" by De Beers.

On that basis, All-Clad is a horrible value on the specifications, and on that basis it's not unreasonable to say that it's a "waste of money."

"Taking it hard" about one's cookware is one of life's great pleasures.

Clearly, when one has to bring out arguments about De Beers diamonds vs. a saucepan that might have cost $29 15 years ago...and one which is still in perfect condition today...I grow suspect about the anti All-Clad contingent.

Especially now that All-Clad has attained the moniker "horrible."

Zales, here I come.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Pot fillers. I have to be in the stock making group and find it quite useful.

Additionally I run my hot water system [which is also part of my home heating system] at about 150°F and that is the temp at the pot filler faucet only. Clearly that would not be a suitable temp for a kids bath or mine for that matter so every thing else is mixed down to 120° but at the stove it cuts a significant amount of time off getting to the boil.

I don't think All Clad is bad but Volrath french steel skillets work and are cheap enough to allow one to buy other toys.


Edited by RobertCollins (log)

Robert

Seattle

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The title of this topic is things that are a total waste of money.  Cookware that I've bought 15 years ago, used on a daily basis, and is still in perfect condition, including some non-stick, is hardly a total waste of money.

I think there are a few points to make here. Clearly All-Clad is not crap quality cookware.

Clearly, that's where this argument should have ended.

I'm not surprised that some lovers of All-Clad are taking it hard that others have said it's a "waste of money."

After all, the reason we have the tradition of giving diamond engagement rings is almost entirely attributable to what has been called the "greatest promotional campaign of all time" by De Beers.

On that basis, All-Clad is a horrible value on the specifications, and on that basis it's not unreasonable to say that it's a "waste of money."

"Taking it hard" about one's cookware is one of life's great pleasures.

Clearly, when one has to bring out arguments about De Beers diamonds vs. a saucepan that might have cost $29 15 years ago...and one which is still in perfect condition today...I grow suspect about the anti All-Clad contingent.

Prices must have really gone up between 1994 and 1999, because my records indicate that a 3 quart All-Clad saucepan was selling for as much as $145 ten years ago. Today it retails for $160 and deep discount for an irregular will run you about about $108 for a one-third discount. Applying that discount to the 1999 price would make the best price you were likely to find on that pan at around 97 bucks -- a far cry from 29 dollars. You would be hard-pressed to find any piece of All-Clad that can be bought for less than about 50 bucks today (for the very smallest pieces) except for the rare loss-leader super-discount on amazon.com or someplace like that -- and it would be impossible to build a battery of cookware at those prices. All of which is to say that, even though you may have bought yours 15 years ago, I have serious doubts as to where it averaged any 29 dollars a piece. An average price of more like a hundred bucks a piece would be more like it. Or maybe yours fell off a truck?


Edited by slkinsey (log)

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I can't say whether a large All-Clad frypan will warp at superhigh high temperature when you throw a chicken in the pan -- but I will say that I think anything worth 200 bucks had better not warp under any conditions.

Once I was borrowing a friend's vacation home out on Long Island, and I was warned that the kitchen might not be adequately appointed, so I brought a large Sitram skillet, a few knives, and a cutting board, figuring I could manage with that, if there was nothing else. Much to my surprise the "inadequate" kitchen had a 6-burner Viking range, but it turned out that that had been installed by the previous owners, and the current owners didn't actually cook much, but there were a few All-Clad pots and pans.

I wanted to broil some fluke and was sauteeing something else in the pan I'd brought with me, so the most suitable thing in the cabinet was a sturdy looking All-Clad broiler. Cold fish in the pan, under the broiler, and it twisted like a pretzel under the heat, which is what I'd expect of even a heavy baking sheet under those conditions, but not a broiling pan with high sides. Fortunately it returned to its former shape as it cooled, and the fish was just fine.

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I guess I have got a lot of stuff that many of you feel might be a total waste of money.

It all comes down to personal preference.

I do have a pot filler and I have a stockpot that has a spigot at the bottom and I use a pasta cooker that has a perforated insert (just like the one Jacques Pepin used today on his show) that allows me to lift out just the pasta (or dumplings, etc.) leaving the water behind to cool before I have to move the pot.

I have a fair amount of tile on the walls. I do have some granite but I also have a lot of butcherblock and some stainless steel. There is even a section of marble.

I have lots of gadgets because I love to collect them.

There is more than enough cookware for several kitchens - mainly because I also collect that stuff. :rolleyes:

I don't spend a lot of money on jewelry or clothes (shoes are another matter), expensive cars, cruises, spas, and etc.

I buy things that make me happy and which I plan on passing on to my offspring who are as nuts about cooking stuff as me. :wub:

Then there is the fact that if I ever fall on hard times, I can probably live quite comfortably on the sale of my collection of copper for at least a few years. :biggrin:

After that I can get into the other collections - the vintage toasters and the mixers which ought to carry me for a few more years. And I have a vintage range that should help a bit.

Assuming I can bring myself to part with any of them. :blink:

My kitchen is well-loved and well-used. I do actually cook and bake in it and I am happy in it. It's not a "just for show" kitchen and is beginning to show a little wear here and there but to me that shows that it has been serving its purpose.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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. . . I use a pasta cooker that has a perforated insert . . .

I have to say that, not only do think this is not a waste of money, but I think it's a necessity. I don't understand dumping out all the water into the sink, when you can use the starchy, salty water to adjust the tightness of the sauce and to provide liquid for cooking the sauce and the pasta together for the last minute or two.


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Additionally I run my hot water system [which is also part of my home heating system] at about 150°F and that is the temp at the pot filler faucet  only. Clearly that would not be a suitable temp for a kids bath or mine for that matter so every thing else is mixed down to 120° but at the stove it cuts a significant amount of time off getting to the boil.

Running your hot water system at 150°in the non heating time of year is certainly a huge waste of energy. It may help reduce the time to get the water to boil but it wastes an awful lot of energy to do that. I'm assuming you have a hot water baseboard heating system which actually are quite efficient for heating, however their energy benefits are offset if you keep the system running during the warmer months. Not trying to be critical, just trying to help you save some money.


I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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I've always understood that hot water can carry more debris and impurities from the pipe system between the heater and the faucet than cold water, so I wouldn't use hot water for cooking or food. This is not true, though, if you have a hot water heater at the tap.

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The title of this topic is things that are a total waste of money.  Cookware that I've bought 15 years ago, used on a daily basis, and is still in perfect condition, including some non-stick, is hardly a total waste of money.

I think there are a few points to make here. Clearly All-Clad is not crap quality cookware.

Clearly, that's where this argument should have ended.

I'm not surprised that some lovers of All-Clad are taking it hard that others have said it's a "waste of money."

After all, the reason we have the tradition of giving diamond engagement rings is almost entirely attributable to what has been called the "greatest promotional campaign of all time" by De Beers.

On that basis, All-Clad is a horrible value on the specifications, and on that basis it's not unreasonable to say that it's a "waste of money."

"Taking it hard" about one's cookware is one of life's great pleasures.

Clearly, when one has to bring out arguments about De Beers diamonds vs. a saucepan that might have cost $29 15 years ago...and one which is still in perfect condition today...I grow suspect about the anti All-Clad contingent.

Prices must have really gone up between 1994 and 1999, because my records indicate that a 3 quart All-Clad saucepan was selling for as much as $145 ten years ago. Today it retails for $160 and deep discount for an irregular will run you about about $108 for a one-third discount. Applying that discount to the 1999 price would make the best price you were likely to find on that pan at around 97 bucks -- a far cry from 29 dollars. You would be hard-pressed to find any piece of All-Clad that can be bought for less than about 50 bucks today (for the very smallest pieces) except for the rare loss-leader super-discount on amazon.com or someplace like that -- and it would be impossible to build a battery of cookware at those prices. All of which is to say that, even though you may have bought yours 15 years ago, I have serious doubts as to where it averaged any 29 dollars a piece. An average price of more like a hundred bucks a piece would be more like it. Or maybe yours fell off a truck?

Well, I'm sure some people do pay retail (or almost retail) for All Clad. But if you look around, there are a lot of deals to be found. I bought mine in about 2002: I found a set at Macy's that they were discontinuing (by which I mean they were discontinuing that particular configuration of the set and replacing it with a different configuration, not discontinuing the All Clad line itself) and after bonus pieces, store sales, friends and family coupons, and whatnot, I paid $350 for 3 nonstick fry pans (8/10/12), 3 saucepans (1.5/3/4 qt), 1 stockpot (8 qt), matching lids, a bonus large steamer insert for the stockpot, a bonus 1 qt saucepan, and bonus utensils (and maybe something else from Macy's? they're always doing some sort of rewards). These were regular quality, not factory/outlet seconds. And that wasn't the only deal I found; I only bought that set because it had a lot of the particular sizes that I was looking for (8 qt stockpot instead of 6; nonstick skillets but regular stainless saucepans/pots; etc).

I also own other pieces of All Clad and Le Creuset that were wedding gifts. I think a lot of people get their "nice" kitchen stuff as wedding gifts, and All Clad is readily available at the major department stores and Williams-Sonoma. Plus, guests like giving it to you because it has such a good reputation. It's just not realistic to register for high quality but lesser known brands that aren't widely distributed, especially since people are scattered so far and wide these days. We had one registry that was online only (well, they had one physical store, but none of our guests were from that area) because they offered a really substantial discount on the china we wanted, but seriously, one person bought off that registry. Everyone else bought from the department stores they had heard of, even if it was more expensive. So in that sense, it's free to me. Hard to beat that price/quality combination.

And yes, I actually use all my cookware.

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Value is in the eyes of the beholder. Some people may feel that All-Clad is a great value in others may not. Some people will say that having a 25 year old All-Clad pan is great value but I'm sure there are others out there who have a 25 year old $10.00 Revere-ware and say it is a good value. It's an argument where everybody is right and should see each others' side.

One thing I indefinitely sure of however is that there isn't any 25 year old non-stick cookware out there still in use that's in good shape. If it is the person who owns it isn't a cook. Wait a minute, real cooks don't use non-stick anyway so it's not an issue!


I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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The only kitchen items that are a total waste of money are those that aren't used or those that make the work more difficult.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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Wait a minute, real cooks don't use non-stick anyway so it's not an issue!

:rolleyes: Sigh. I would engage you in a debate on this, but if you believe that PTFE (i.e. non-stick) cookware has no place in the the kitchen, then there would be no point.

For every job, there is an optimal tool...


So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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I've always understood that hot water can carry more debris and impurities from the pipe system between the heater and the faucet than cold water, so I wouldn't use hot water for cooking or food.  This is not true, though, if you have a hot water heater at the tap.

I have the "tankless" water heaters which have inline filters on the intake line.

Now that the fed is promoting these energy-saving appliances with a significant tax credit, I expect more people will be converting.

Mine have 20-year guarantees, which is considerably longer than regular tank type heaters.

The water is heated once, on demand. My gas savings have averaged 30% over the past couple of years.

And even better, one never runs out of hot water - I can have the washer, dishwasher and showers going at the same time. No cold-water shock! :blink:


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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. . . I use a pasta cooker that has a perforated insert . . .

I have to say that, not only do think this is not a waste of money, but I think it's a necessity. I don't understand dumping out all the water into the sink, when you can use the starchy, salty water to adjust the tightness of the sauce and to provide liquid for cooking the sauce and the pasta together for the last minute or two.

I also use the pasta water in the "starter" when I prepare salt-rising bread.

Regular hot water works okay too but I seem to get a much better result when I use the water from pasta or from boiled potatoes (also cooked in the perforated insert).

I think it IS the starches dissolved in the water that give a rocket start to the salt-rising yeast culture. (I use the King Arthur product.)

I also use the insert to blanch greens and to dip whole tomatoes and peaches when I am skinning several for canning or ???.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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