Re: Knecht's courtship of Fleur

1

I love Pomiane!!! He's basically Mr. Rogers.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 12:37 PM
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It seems sort of like cheating when three of the five dishes are "take thing and put it on a plate", and most of the prep work for the rest has been done ahead of time.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 1:12 PM
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I suppose you want him to count the many hours spent in handwriting the beautiful menus too?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 3:19 PM
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4

The smoking butter surprised me. Are you really supposed to do that? I thought it was carcinogenic.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 4:43 PM
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It was the 30s. Different times.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 4:48 PM
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I guess one of the advantages of being a heavy smoker is not having to worry about all the other shit that gives you cancer.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 5:14 PM
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I'm not convinced that was actually butter in the first place, so maybe that helps?


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 5:19 PM
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I can't believe its not butter.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 5:35 PM
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9

This is exactly how I have always pictured KR.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 6:24 PM
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10

If I'm not actually watching this, I think it's the Count from Sesame Street giving lessons.

4. "Carcinogenic" is defined as doesn't not cause cancer. So it doesn't imply that it does cause cancer. A carcinogen is essentially Shrodinger's cat.* It either does or doesn't cause cancer, nobody knows. We only know if it doesn't cause cancer, and you can tell that by the fact that the cat is dead and starts to smell. And "carcinogen" doesn't tell you much about the cat, anyway. Whether it's a harmless kitten or a hungry tiger.

He's wrong about the butter, anyway. As a lazy cook, I have over-heated my butter many times and then tried to eat it. No bueno. He's just trying to get it hot enough for a good and fast browning. He'd be better off mixing the butter with a high-temp oil to get the same effect without ruining the butter.

*I yield to convention here. Shrodinger's cat was really Einstein's idea, and we should credit Al. But Albert didn't use a cat in his example, and, then as now, people are mainly interested in cats.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 9:51 PM
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He'd be better off mixing the butter with a high-temp oil to get the same effect without ruining the butter.

This is a myth. The solids will burn in a mixture of oil and butterfat just as well as they will in butterfat alone.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 10:06 PM
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The solids will burn in a mixture of oil and butterfat just as well as they will in butterfat alone.

I'll grant this seems reasonably possible. But, think of it this way. The butterfat solids are most liable to burn when in direct contact with the pan. Something happens to butter in a hot pan such that there appear to be greater concentrations, clumps, of solids in certain areas and more liquidy areas in others. It is these clumps which begin to burn first, at least to my best memory of having done this a few times.

The addition of more liquid lipid would surely help to keep these particles in suspension, away from direct contact with the metal. And thus would help prevent browning, through physical rather than chemical means.

But if you're into busting culinary myths, how about the no-soap-on-cast-iron meme? That one I think is a crock.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 10:36 PM
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Yeah, you can totally put soap on cast iron. (IME it usually isn't necessary.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 4-15 10:38 PM
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The addition of more liquid lipid would surely help to keep these particles in suspension, away from direct contact with the metal. And thus would help prevent browning, through physical rather than chemical means.

If there's someone here more up on their transport phenomena than I am please correct me, but I think from a thermodynamic perspective we can safely assume that the oil is going to be basically the same temperature as the pan. Its mass is insignificant relative to the mass of the pan and since it's a thin layer, its surface area to volume ratio is huge and there's essentially no temperature gradient. The oil is actually helping conduct heat from the pan into the milk solids far more efficiently than if we ran to the other extreme and removed all oil from the pan, since the solids are immersed in the oil.

I think Nosflow is right; this is a myth, and the only way to really increase your cooking temperature with butter is to clarify it.


Posted by: Just a lurker, I suppose | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 12:00 AM
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10: You are using a definition of carcinogenic that I've never heard before. Carcinogenicity is determined by a test called LRB, lifetime rodent bioassay, where mice and rats are dosed for two years with the rest material and observed for tumor formation. You can disagree whether there's a strong correlation from rodent to human, certainly. Also, tumors in this assay might be benign, not malignant. But classifying chemicals as carcinogenic certainly means they are strongly suspected to cause cancer, not that we don't know they don't.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 3:46 AM
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Thank you, Ben. A new omlette pan is exactly what KR needs for Christmas! Ah, those romantic butter days of Paris... Today his focus is the perfection of nachos (of which he is close to achieving) for Sunday football. One sentimental tear slowly glides down my cheek at the memory of those lovely, handwritten menus.


Posted by: Fleur | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 4:26 AM
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I might need to perfect my nachos. That could be a good project. Right now, my nachos are serviceable. But figuring out how to make perfect nachos seems worth doing.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 6:53 AM
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Many nachos suffer from a distribution problem: you end up with a big pile of dry chips under a canopy of delicious melted cheese, beans, etc. One way around this problem is to approach making nachos like one does lasagna: layer of chips; layer of cheese, beans, etc.; repeat. The problem with this approach is, you can end up with the chips at the bottom of the pile being so soggy that they're longer viable as a finger food.

The foregoing represents my limited research so far towards achieving Perfect Nachos.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 7:25 AM
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19

Can I ask an etiquette question? If one is offered nachos in the United States, is it unacceptably rude to politely refuse them?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 7:40 AM
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Not rude, just very strange. Who turns down nachos?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 7:52 AM
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Vegans, paleo people, Nazis.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 8:06 AM
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18: You have to make one big, thin layer across a large surface area. I use a full sized roasting pan. I am available to answer any other questions about making the perfect nachos, because I have gone all Christopher Kimball on their ass.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 8:12 AM
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23

Pork rind nachos. I should try that.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 8:13 AM
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24

What do you use besides chips and cheese?

Also, I accidentally bought rennet-free cheddar. That's not going to be as good as real cheddar, is it?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 8:16 AM
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It's better than the Cheddar-free rennet some other guy got.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 8:20 AM
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24: Generally some chili (pork shoulder or beef chuck, half a chopped Spanish onion, two roasted poblanos, two chipotles in adobo sauce, spices; all simmered a couple of hours in a crock pot the day before, then cooled, degreased, and reheated), pickled jalapeños, beans, chopped avocados in lime juice, pico de gallo, cilantro, sour cream, roasted hatch chilies if I have them, minced scallions.

Importantly, it's not just cheese on the chips, but cheese sauce, bound with a mixture of cooked corn starch and water.

The sequencing and placement of the garnishes is also important to a successful end product. It has taken two and a half seasons of Patriots games to arrive at the current SOP.

Oh, and there are some differences of opinion about what the ideal chips should be. That may be why Fleur qualified her praise.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 8:31 AM
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24. No. IME doesn't melt right.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 8:31 AM
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Importantly, it's not just cheese on the chips, but cheese sauce, bound with a mixture of cooked corn starch and water.

I've been doing this for my cheeseburgers. Basically, cheese+a bit of flour in the microwave for 30 seconds. I can see that adding water might help thin it out for nachos. Or maybe even adding stock....


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 8:43 AM
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29

Those sound like some excellent nachos.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 9:01 AM
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28: I experimented with flour-based cheese sauces (both Béchamel and velouté-based), and the cheese flavor was too attenuated. You must use corn starch if you want to achieve perfection. And the corn starch mixture must be cooked before adding the cheese, which must be grated. The proportions are important, too.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 9:03 AM
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31

Have you considered going all modernist and using sodium citrate?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 9:08 AM
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10: That's not correct. If something is carcinogenic, it's been strongly linked to cancer. It does not mean the effect is large, nor that the cancer associated with it is serious, but it's not the case that everything is classified as carcinogenic by default.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 9:13 AM
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I just whipped up a flour+stock+shredded cheese sauce to make a small batch of nachos in the toaster oven for lunch. I would agree that the cheese flavor is attenuated. But part of that may be the cheese itself; I think extra-sharp cheese may be called for here.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 9:26 AM
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I think extra-sharp cheese may be called for here.

… because the flavor is attenuated.

Don't cheese-blame, Spike. This is your doing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 9:30 AM
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No comment re nachos, but to 15 I'm just glad that there's a statistic out there called "lifetime rodent bioass." He who dies with the most rodent bioass in their lifetime wins, or maybe loses.


Posted by: RT | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 9:36 AM
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There are limitations to living in a developing country. One is that I don't have any corn starch. Another is that the reasonably-priced cheddar comes half-kilo blocks from New Zealand where they apparently don't care about sharpness like they do in Wisconsin. And the other problem is that the store didn't have any Tostitos and I had to go with Snyders of Hanover


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 9:38 AM
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I don't think measuring the lifetime of rodents would be very accurate if Shrodinger's cat is around.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 9:39 AM
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31: Huh. I never considered that. It would need to work with added water, which is needed to achieve the proper pouring consistency. I should give it a try. Better living through chemistry!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 10:01 AM
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39

Partially inspired by this (also it being very fall-like today), I'm making onion soup. People who write these recipes have no concept of time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 10:16 AM
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40

The point has been made before!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 11:33 AM
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41

I like to think I'm more convincing than they are.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 11:37 AM
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42

If you're making Perfect Nachos to watch Pats games, you must remove two ingredients each week and replace them with random crap you have in your fridge. And spit out every tenth bite because you're not chewing properly.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 11:50 AM
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43

I have an abbreviated technique for caramelizing onions which I call "burning onions."


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 12:17 PM
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42: It's also important not to talk up the nachos too much ahead of time. You want your guests' nacho expectations to be under-inflated.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 12:28 PM
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45

I don't understand where you guys get the energy for all of this cooking activity.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 1:06 PM
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39: At least you don't need to pay attention much to the onions while they brown. But closer to an hour than closer to 10 or 20 minutes. Recipes lie. I have no idea why.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 1:38 PM
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47

45: The patriarchy hurts men, but it also gives us more free time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 1:39 PM
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42: The one Pats game for which I did not make nachos was against Denver, and we all know how that turned out. Not taking any more chances.

Photo of previous week's nachos in Flickr pool.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 2:02 PM
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No comment re nachos, but to 15 I'm just glad that there's a statistic out there called "lifetime rodent bioass." He who dies with the most rodent bioass in their lifetime wins, or maybe loses.

It's really just a more sophisticated version of the traditional mouse-orgasm scale.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 2:03 PM
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48: I do not think of nachos as a particularly photogenic food, but those look lovely (and delicious).


Posted by: Airedale | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 2:16 PM
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36 - if you're buying the cheap cheddar it's basically a slightly saltier, fattier Edam - it's a very good example of an authentic government Cheddar. You want the aged stuff if you can - Mainland is the brand I think, but really they're all Fonterra.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 2:19 PM
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Those are tasty looking nachos. I had been blaming last week's loss on the three and punt in combo with the insane maybe the long bomb will work all the time strategy. But now I know it was the lack of perfect nachos. Yes, you should make some tomorrow.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 2:27 PM
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How do I get the keys to the Flickr pool? All these years I haven't been arsed to request them, but I can be drawn out for pictures of nachos.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 2:42 PM
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if you're buying the cheap cheddar it's basically a slightly saltier, fattier Edam - it's a very good example of an authentic government Cheddar.

That's basically how I would describe what I've been buying. Government cheese. And very good for what it is, but it has limitations.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 2:44 PM
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You have to pay for government cheese now?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 3:26 PM
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Government cheddar is the style, but I don't think its from actual socialist cows. My wife, who claims she was raised on US government cheese, just went on a rant about how that was really good cheese that was much better than the New Zealand stuff we get now.

I have no opinion on that. I was raised on day-glow orange blocks of the store-brand cheddar from Safeway.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 4:46 PM
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Fonterra is a co-op so it's kinda socialist, but socialist in a manly, free-market way.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 4:53 PM
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Fonterra is a co-op so it's kinda socialist, but socialist in a manly, free-market way.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 4:53 PM
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That's not your usual New Zealand agriculture boosterism.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 4:59 PM
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is a co-op so it's kinda socialist, but socialist in a manly, free-market way

By that definition, American cheddar is probably socialist, too, as about 80% of U.S. milk production runs through dairy marketing cooperatives.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 5:41 PM
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Explain the cornstarch cheese sauce in detail?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 7:40 PM
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60: That sort of remark is why Michael Dukakis lost.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 8:03 PM
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56.1: Sources suggest it was made of mixtures of whatever cheese was caught up in the net, so her experience could have been different from others'.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 8:03 PM
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Yeah, you can totally put soap on cast iron. (IME it usually isn't necessary.)

It is if you wash your cast iron as often as I do, ynneb. Flavor build-up. That's the key to good cookin'. Yesterday's bacon pan is a great place to build a marinara. And the crusty left-over marinara adds a delightful zing to an omelette. And the toasted-egg infused pan is now perfect to add that certain je ne sais quois to pancakes. But now, or next week, you will need soap to clean that bad boy.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 9:30 PM
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I think from a thermodynamic perspective we can safely assume that the oil is going to be basically the same temperature as the pan.

You would think, wouldn't you? I would think so, too. But food colloids always burn to the bottom of the pan while the liquid above stays, well, liquid. So the bottom of the pan must be hotter in a significant way.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 9:34 PM
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If something is carcinogenic, it's been strongly linked to cancer.

I think we're saying the same thing. :) I'm just stating it in the negative. Strong linked = X% chance it causes cancer, meaning it may or may not cause cancer. Now, where this might get hairy is how strong or broad the correlation has to be before a substance is called a carcinogen. From a few things I've read, my impression has been that the bar can be actually quite low. To pick a recent example: not too long ago, headlines ran with the title, "bacon is a carcinogen, same as cigarettes". A deeper reading of the study, undertaken by bacon lovers around the world, revealed that bacon, and other meats, while carcinogens, are incredibly weak carcinogens compared to cigarettes. Some 1000s of times less carcinogenic than cigarettes, IIRC.

So if cigarettes are a carcinogen, and they have a less than 100% cancer causing rate, and bacon's correlation is 1000x weaker, and it is still a carcinogen...then the bar to clear for a food to be labeled a carcinogen can't be very high. Unless I'm thinking about this all wrong.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12- 5-15 9:49 PM
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Michael, "may or may not cause cancer" is a definitively bats way to express "strongly linked to cancer".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 6-15 12:57 AM
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If we're going to have this discussion, and I'm not recommending it, we need to stop conflating retrospective dietary studies (e.g. the bacon stuff that gets reported in the newspaper) and lab studies that the science people are talking about. Also, the effect size from the strength of an association.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-15 8:47 AM
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Nosflow: Not bats, I think, if I'm right, and the word strongly is being a bit abused in that sentence.

Moby: Disagree that we need to restrict ourselves to lab science here. Because the issue at hand, which I find problematic, IS the lay understanding of carcinogen. Its not just bacon, but the bacon conflation with cigarettes example is a very good one. There are, for lack of better terms, strong carcinogens and weak carcinogens. Which is all, in the end, i was trying to point out.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12- 6-15 9:01 AM
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I was thinking I'd start smoking so I could eat more bacon, but then maybe I wouldn't be able to taste the bacon. So probably not worth it.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 6-15 9:08 AM
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I'm not saying we need to restrict ourselves to lab science here. Just saying that we need to be clear which is under discussion. And bacon and cigarettes (originally) were the determined to be carcinogenic by the same types of retrospective studies. Just that the effect size was so huge for smoking nobody ever was seriously able to dispute it. For bacon, the effect is small enough that (I think, I'm not about to read the thing) people can dispute whether the effect is actually due to bacon or something spurious and also whether, even if the effect is actually there, it is big enough to matter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-15 9:38 AM
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As far as I know things are ranked into four categories as far as carcinogenicity goes: "Yes"; "Probably"; "Possibly"; "Dunno"; and "Probably not"*. But those are all epistemic categories, not ones that indicate severity or degree of risk or anything people usually care much about, so knowing that something is a carcinogen doesn't mean much in normal contexts. And depending on who's writing the article about it pretty much anything in the first three categories can count as a carcinogen. The "yes" category includes both tobacco, beer, and being around sawdust, but knowing they're all in the same category doesn't really help guide actions.

* Which is caprolactam. It's not a large category.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12- 6-15 10:13 AM
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Avoiding being around sawdust is a pretty good plan in life for a whole bunch of reasons tbh.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12- 6-15 3:35 PM
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Eagles? The nachos didn't do the trick , I guess.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12- 6-15 6:26 PM
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74: I *knew* I shouldn't have varied the recipe.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 6-15 6:41 PM
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I'm guessing you were exhausted from all that work last night. The timing of Nicholasmas and the NFL schedule was not good this year. (I do hope you took a few whacks at Trump.)


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12- 6-15 6:57 PM
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I do hope you took a few whacks at Trump.

I've referred Mr. Trump's case to my professional colleague Tonton Macoute for further disposition.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 6-15 7:24 PM
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During the run up to the Steelers game, lots of not liking the Patriots was in evidence.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-15 7:41 PM
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Also, really cold.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-15 7:45 PM
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Also, more turnovers than an Arbys.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 6-15 7:47 PM
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71: Comity! We agree to eat bacon.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 12- 6-15 10:26 PM
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