Saturday, March 28, 2009

Keeping Warm and the Butt-Wiping Invention That Changed Our Lives

I find it oddly comforting that pretty much any question you can think of, no matter how bizarre or random, someone somewhere has taken the time to research this odd thought you've had; you know, the one you thought no one else would ever think; and they've posted the answer somewhere on the internet.  And there it sits, just waiting for you to Google it up from wherever it is that sleepy little known facts hibernate. 

WARNING:  Possibly dangerous practices will be discussed in next paragraph.  I'm NOT suggesting this as a solution to anything, I'm just saying that my family does it.  I'm sure we do a lot of things other people should NEVER do (we're risk takers), so...keep that in mind.

Note that the image above, by mrbill of Flickr, shows no setting for "popsicle toes." This is an oversight by the manufacturer, I'm sure.

It's extraordinarily and unseasonably cold today in Missouri.  Yeah, I know...the whole country has whacked out weather right now, we're not special.  Toward the end of last year, we discovered that our electric bill was much lower if we set the oven on about 350 degrees and left the oven door open a bit instead of only running our furnace.  I'm not really sure why that is, being they're both electric, but for some reason it works.  It keeps the furnace from running constantly trying to keep up.  Maybe we just have a really old furnace, and a really efficient stove, I don't know.  What I do know is that it lowered our electric bill...a lot.  So being that my toes were about to fall off and turning blue (I have issues with shoes; I simply don't wear them at home...ever) I walked to the kitchen to do the usual "stove thing."  As I set the stove on pre-heat, it occurred to me that I had no idea why I needed to pre-heat it and not just set it to bake.  Why do I think of things like that?  Seriously, I'd like to know.  Because the next time I sit down on the toilet, I guarantee I'll probably sit there and wonder something equally abstract like...who invented toilet paper? that I've wondered it, I'll have to Google that too. *sigh*

Googlemomma to the rescue!  I shall find our answers!  YAY for Howstuffworks!  And I quote,"The idea of preheating an oven is to get all of the air in the oven up to the proper temperature so that the burner does not have to come on very often or for very long."  Well what the hell?  How could I live 45 years without knowing that?  Also...pre-heating, I come to find out, excelerates the speed of heating, whereas if you just set the oven to bake, the heat rises more slowly.  Pre-heating also keeps things from burning (when you're cooking, not heating your house) because it keeps the infrared radiation from the burner to a minimum.  There's more information on the above linked page about broiling too, because some other strange person wondered about broiling, apparently.

How can a mother cook for 20 years without knowing these things?  I bet everyone else already knew all of this, and as usual, I'm the last to know. 

DISCLAIMER:  Don't try this at home if you have a gas stove, particularly if you have a gas stove and you are a smoker.  I think there's a very good chance that could be...uhm...dangerous.

Sidenote:  If the toilet paper question is really nagging you's the answer.

Note that in this image of our often-taken-for-granted-daily-butt-wiping-invention (by [s e l v i n] of Flickr), someone has managed in blatantly grievous error, to turn the roll the WRONG direction.  Don't even try debating this topic with me, I'm very stubborn about this.


*I'd like to take this moment to thank the Chinese.  For had it not been for you, it might have taken us much longer to have arguments with our spouses about the way the roll goes on the holder.  I have a deep sense of gratitude for this, among other things.  Ni hao.

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