Common Misconceptions, Part One

In my ongoing efforts to educate and delight, I thought I might start a new series. Also, series of these sorts are handy to have around when you don’t really have anything truly amazing to write about (this statement predisposes that I sometimes do). In other places and at other times, I’ve written copiously about the things I don’t understand or the things I have learned.

As always, my intent is to amuse and entertain. I hope that I can do that with this new series. And I might have to resurrect the older ones too.

Image result for knives

Sharp Knives are Dangerous

Seems like a no-brainer. Right? Well, it’s not as simple as that. And I write from experience.

Sure, if you are talking about a knife held to your throat by some hoodlum intent on separating you from something you possess, that said hoodlum dearly wants, and isn’t of a mind to ask you nicely for it, then yes, sharp knives are dangerous. That’s one nasty, long, run-on sentence to be certain.

But if we are talking about the kitchen variety of knives, well then you are dead-wrong. Maybe not exactly dead-wrong, but possibly maimed-wrong.

I keep the knives we use for cooking extremely sharp. Why? Think about it. A dull knife that does not immediately bite into whatever you are slicing/chopping/dicing is more likely to slip off of what you are attempting to slice/chop/dice. Dull knives do not always slip in the fortuitous direction.

I wasn’t always as conscientious about the sharpness of our knives as I am now. Slicing through a finger changed all that.

Think about it some more. The duller the knife, the harder you have to push, the harder you have to push the more force will be applied to whatever part of your anatomy is in the way when the knife slips.

Sure, it doesn’t happen all the time, but why take the risk. Keep your knives sharp and worry less.

Image result for female facial hair

Shaving Hair Makes it Thicker

Come on now. Does anyone really believe this anymore? Apparently they do because I found it on a list of common misconceptions.

Okay, here’s the thing. When I was younger (in my teens), I had a pretty good mustache. If I were a guy, it wouldn’t have been a problem. But I hated the thing. I wanted to shave it off. Yeah, sure, I’d have to do that regularly and I was willing to do that. But, enter Mom and Grandma. They caught me doing just that one day and said, “Oh no. Don’t shave it off. It’ll just grow back thicker.” The thought absolutely terrified me. And I spent a lot of time with a pair of cuticle scissors, trimming the hairs as close to the skin as I dared without running the risk of cutting off part of my upper lip.

Most of the females my age had little or no hair on their upper lips. I was just special that way. I can think of about a hundred better ways to be special. Also, most of the older women I knew had very hairy upper lips. So at the time, I surmised that as you get older, your upper lip gets hairier. And that got me to thinking. And worrying some.

I wondered, was this some ploy on the part of older women to convince younger women not to shave their upper lips because they themselves were reluctant to do it because it made them feel less feminine? Or were they maybe so afraid to try it that they conspired to condemn all women to a life with a hairy lip? Okay, I know there are a load of logical fallacies in those statements because I’d made so many unsupported assumptions. I wasn’t the perspicacious individual then that I am today. But it did make me look at the situation a little more realistically.

I asked myself these two questions: (1) Has the hair on my upper lip gotten any thicker for having cut it off close to the skin? And (2) Does a hair know the difference between being cut off right at the surface of the skin or two inches from the surface of the skin?

The answers were, it hadn’t and it doesn’t.

I went to my mom and asked her question number two. She gave me the oddest look and went straight away into her bathroom and shaved off her mustache. Actually, that’s only what I hoped would happen, but it didn’t, except for the odd look. She held firm to her belief despite years of having the hair on her head trimmed regularly and that having provided no help at all for the wispiness of it.

I, on the other hand, began shaving my upper lip and still do to this day. Oddly enough, I need to do it less now than I did then, instead of the other way around that seems to be true for most women as they get older. Boy, I’m on a run with run-on sentences today.

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Fortune Cookies are not Chinese

I loved fortune cookies. Sadly, I can’t eat them anymore since developing an allergy to wheat.

They were always the highlight of a meal at a Chinese restaurant. Can’t eat Chinese food anymore either, unless I make it myself. Some of the dishes aren’t as hard to prepare as you might imagine. But I’ve never tried to make a fortune cookie. Not sure it could be done with oat flour. And I’ve no idea how they get that little piece of paper inside the cookie and manage not to incinerate it. Maybe I should Google that.

Anyway, I learned some years ago that fortune cookies are not Chinese. In fact, they are not even a tradition in China. Imagine my surprise. They are actually Japanese in origin.

As far back as the 1800s, a cookie looking very much like a fortune cookie was made in Kyoto, Japan. The fortunes were a temple tradition called omikuji. I didn’t pull that word out of my memory. I had to cheat and look it up.

The Japanese version of the cookie differs in several ways from the Chinese restaurant version: they are a little bit larger; are made of darker dough; and their batter contains sesame and miso (doesn’t really sound much like a cookie, but a lot about the Japanese mystifies me) rather than vanilla and butter. Also, the fortune is placed in the bend of the cookie rather than in the hollow space.

It’s thought that the fortune cookie as we know it today was invented in California by immigrant Japanese bakers sometime in the very late 1800s. But not even that is certain. There are a couple of different bakers, though, to whom the first fortune cookie as we know them is attributed. (I do seem to be the queen of awkward sentences today.) There is also an account of the cookies being exported to Hong Kong and advertised as “genuine American fortune cookies.” So go figure. Seems the Chinese fortune cookie is actually American. Kind of like chop suey.

Published by Dianne Lehmann

I'm a writer. But I'm also a wife and a mom to a couple of fur babies. You could call me a cook (but never a chef, I'm not that good) and provisioner as well. Laundress? Yeah. Probably. I design jewelry and I crochet. But mostly I love to write. I love words and how they sound. I love their meanings and origins. I love stringing them together. And of course, I love to read. Thinking about it just now, I realize that what I love most is life and the people around me with a special place set aside for my wonderful husband, our adorable dog and our inscrutable cat. It's the world and the people in it that fuels my writing. So thanks to you all for being the amazing beings that you are.

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