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Thursday, July 06, 2006


Here are some answers to some questions that have risen recently:

My cake cutting technique has recently been besmirched on another blog, and I would just like to point out that there is no universally recognized "correct" method of cutting a cake. I believe it is common courtesy to allow the guest of honor to cut the first piece, and I don't recall seeing any rules for how that person is to fulfill that duty.

While the El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure is neither the tallest nor the fastest wooden roller coaster in the US, it does boast the steepest drop (76 degrees). The distinction of tallest and fastest goes to the Son of Beast (218 feet, 78.3 MPH) at Paramount's Kings Island.

There are so many rumors around this heavenly beverage, but most of them are totally unfounded. For instance, the liquid was never green in color (though the bottle is), neither the can nor the drink are known to be the cause of a host of diseases (although the pH of 2.5 - somewhere between vinegar and gastric acid - does make it fairly effective at treating corrosion and controlling rust), it has been cocaine-free since 1929, and the company does not support any individual political or religious cause. However, the one rumor that I have not yet seen the company debunk is the one about them paying exorbitant fees to falsely advertise Diet Coke as having zero calories (the FDA allows for anything with less than 5 calories per serving to be labeled as calorie-free).

There is a house on Cossart Road in Beaver Valley near the PA/DE border that was once owned by a member of the DuPont family, and has long been rumored to be the center of somewhat paranormal activities. The reality is that the trees do appear to grow away from the house, and they have been trimmed to avoid power lines which adds to this illusion. There is also a tree nearby whose roots resemble the shape of a skull. There are numerous stories about what might have taken place on this property, but nothing substantiated by any legitimate news story. I believe the road is now closed to all but local traffic, and there are sure to be hefty fines for those caught trespassing, vandalizing, loitering, or doing any of the other things said to have taken place there.

Jellies, Jams, and Preserves
They all have the same essential ingredients - fruit, pectin, sugar, and water (which is interesting to note, since the three latter ingredients are actually all found in fruit). Pectin is a complex glycoside derived from the cell wall of plants which gels when heated with sugar in water. The primary difference between the three products is in the form that the fruit takes. Jelly is made from fruit juice, Jam is made from fruit pulp, and Preserves are made from fruit chunks. With Jello, on the other hand, the bonding substance is not the indigestible carbohydrate of pectin, but the protein made by boiling animal skin, connective tissue or bones.

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What about fruit spread?

Also, the blog in question requires an account to comment, so I will share my comment here:

I don't see how "men making a cake" was at all a mistake.

Additionally, there is no objective standard for cake cutting. Russ's method of cutting the cake can therefore not be classified as correct or incorrect.



Fruit spread can be a more generic term used for a condiment in any of the three aforementioned categories, or it can be used in a more specific sense for a sauce that does not employ sugar as an ingredient.

One other special case would be your marmalades, which are essentially either jams or preserves made from a citrus fruit that contains pieces of the rind.





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