So your grandmother probably passed down all kinds of good anecdotal tips that you follow religiously and share with all of your friends. Well, your grandmother is stupid – and here is why:
- Grandma’s Stupid Tip #1: Hot water freezes faster than cool tap water
Not usually, and definitely not for ice cubes. There is no magical property that makes hot water freeze that much faster than cool water in a freezer. My only conceivable guess here is that your grandmother’s friend’s friend got a tip for how to make more attractive ice cubes by using boiled (not still boiling) hot water and slowing down the freezing process to allow air bubbles to escape as they condense out of the cooling water. The slower you freeze your water, the fewer bubbles it will have. Boiling water also removes much of the gas trapped in the water to begin with. Unless you have very picky guests or are trying to make an ice lens to make a fire, you should not use hot water. In specific setups that are not your typical modern auto-defrosting kitchen freezer you can make steaming hot water freeze faster than warm water, though.
- Grandma’s Stupid Tip #2: Cold water boils faster than hot water
No it doesn’t. The same no-magic rule applies to water no matter the temperature. It is a cheap experiment to do. Why not try it yourself? Why didn’t grandma? Use hot tap water and the boil will begin several minutes earlier than if you use room temperature or cold water. There is a little known fact that water warms faster at colder temperatures, but here’s the thing – maybe it takes three minutes for your pot of water to go from 60 degrees to 80 degrees and three more minutes to go to 90 degrees, but if you used 80 degree water to start out with, you would still have 90 degree water in three minutes instead of six. One thing to note here, hot tap water can contain more dissolved contaminants, so keep it in mind if you are worried you have old pipes leeching something like lead into your water.
- Grandma’s Stupid Tip #3: An apple cures constipation.
Wrong wrong wrong. Very wrong. Apples contain pectin in their peel. Pectin is a vegetable acid/sugar and a very effective thickener. If you are considering doing this, peel the apple before hand, at least. For a much more effective alternative, try drinking a small can of pineapple juice or getting an enema.
- Grandma’s Stupid Tip #4: A box of baking soda removes foul smells from your refrigerator.
Nope. I did a whole article here on baking soda with references a couple of months ago. Baking soda does next to nothing to remove odors. It mildly absorbs simple odors for a short period of time and has no interaction whatsoever with nearly all complex odors – the odors that come across as bad.
- Grandma’s Stupid Tip #5: Aluminum cans and cookware cause Alzheimer’s Disease
The only study that found a correlation between Alzheimer’s Disease and aluminum also found that the water they were using in the facility had extremely high levels of aluminum – skewing the mineral makeup of the patients there. The media got a hold of it, though, and forgot to add that factor in while having less than qualified individuals interpret the data for the masses. The most likely possible link that might have something to do with this in the world of factual data is the studies on Aspartame in those sugar-free soda pops (often in aluminum cans) having a propensity to cause cumulative brain damage and thus Alzheimer’s Disease – particularly with people with Aspartame sensitivity.
- Grandma’s Stupid Tip #6: Don’t eat mayonnaise that has been sitting out for more than a couple of hours.
Lets approach this with logic. Mayonnaise is made from oil, eggs, salt, water, and vinegar – sometimes a little milk. Maybe some other stuff – stuff that doesn’t spoil, regardless so we can discount it. If you bought it at a store, maybe it has some preservatives in it, too. Oil has a minimum unrefrigerated and exposed shelf life of two months. I don’t recommend you let your oil sit out, since it can take on flavors unless it is saturated, but it won’t spoil. One down. Eggs have an unrefrigerated (exposed, but out of the sun and excessive heat) lifespan of a bit over a week – what, you forgot that people bought and ate eggs even when refrigerators didn’t exist? Who knows how fresh the eggs are if you didn’t make the mayonnaise yourself, but they were processed to remove the chance of salmonella, so you are starting out with fairly sterile egg here. We’ll give the eggs in your mayonnaise a conservative lifespan of one day, just in case they were left sitting around in the factory exposed for six days, already. Two down. Salt and water? These are molecules that don’t break down because of age. Vinegar is a preservative and extends the life of foods that it is in. Conclusion: Mayonnaise can be left out for at least a full day before going bad – especially if it is store bought. The end.
- Grandma’s Stupid Tip #7: Smoking isn’t that bad for you! It is all hippy propaganda. I even smoked when I was pregnant with your mother.
Okay… I can’t help you if your grandmother is that stupid. Smoke is always bad for your lungs, no matter what is being smoked.
- Grandma’s Stupid Tip #8: Brown sugar is better for every recipe. It is more natural.
Brown sugar is usually just regularly processed white sugar mixed with molasses before crystallization. Molasses is one of the byproducts of processing sugar from the sugar cane plant. It isn’t better for you. It is just two things instead of just one. Like garlic salt or lemon pepper. Garlic salt is better in some recipes than regular salt just like brown sugar is better in some recipes than bleached white sugar. If your recipe calls for a cup of sugar, just use a cup of sugar. Brown sugar has more moisture and an additional flavor that can throw off some recipes.
- Grandma’s Stupid Tip #9: Chocolate and fatty foods cause pimples/acne.
It just doesn’t, unless you have food allergies. Consumed fat gets broken down into (not very) simple fatty acids and is then turned into the kind of fat that our bodies accumulate or use – and is stored under the skin in deposits, not in pores. If your skin is producing a lot of grease, it has to do much more with your hormones than with your diet, though a lousy all-around diet can contribute to bad health, including getting more pimples/acne.
- Grandma’s Stupid Tip #10: If you have back pain, sleep on a wooden board or get a hard mattress.
So this actually will work in a few cases here and there, but for most part, this is an awful idea. First, you always have to sleep on your back if you want it to work. Few people do this throughout the night – it can cause apnea, snoring, acid reflux, and related disorders. Secondly, our bodies are not flat. There are bumps and lumps and curves all over us and we put pressure on those places while we sleep. Normal people move around in their sleep to alternate where they are putting pressure so they don’t damage their joints. Moving around on a board or a very stiff mattress can give you a restless night’s sleep or an even sorer back, along with sore joints from not having enough give to allow the non-flat contours of your body enough space to sink in and distribute some of the pressure over the less protruding areas of your body.
I’ll keep writing these kinds of posts if you keep coming.
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