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Author Topic: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question  (Read 13190 times)

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #30 on: November 30, 2011, 03:35:21 AM »
we had a fire in my fire pit after I bought my pans, and just threw them in there.  burned all the crud on the handles (and everywhere else) to nice and smooth, and then I rubbed everything with some homegrown lard (from a neighbor).
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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2011, 10:15:51 PM »
I rubbed everything with some homegrown lard (from a neighbor).

I rendered lard and it is better than anything you can get in a store.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #32 on: December 01, 2011, 07:24:00 AM »
Ok, since the thread started this last week or so, has anyone seasoned their new pans??? or their abused ones?

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #33 on: December 01, 2011, 10:32:58 AM »
Still waiting to receive mine. should be here anytime.
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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #34 on: December 01, 2011, 11:07:49 AM »
I brought home a dutch oven from the back of the boy scout shed where it had been long forgotten. Its got some good surface rust but not a whole lot of it but I'm hoping this weekend to clean and cure it.  However I'll be doing it inside my charcoal grill rather than inside the house.  I have seasoned both of our other dutch ovens like this and it works great.  I can get the grill up to about 350 normally which is plenty hot. 

Getting the rust off is the thing I'm most concerned with and I'm going to try the suggestions above.

This is a GREAT thread.

Thanks
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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #35 on: December 01, 2011, 12:33:16 PM »
Ok, since the thread started this last week or so, has anyone seasoned their new pans??? or their abused ones?

Cedar

No.  Too busy working, cooking, cleaning, taking care of dog and other flaming hoops to jump through.

Offline Adam B.

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #36 on: December 01, 2011, 01:04:55 PM »
It's probably about time to do some pan maintenance myself while we still might have a few days of warmth where opening a window won't be a problem. I think I have some rust on the cooking surface of a pan I use to cook with (that has been sitting around) and I have neglected my camp kitchen since the last trip where I used it so I am not looking forward to opening up the box where those stay (I always clean the food etc off and wash them, but being stored with too much moisture reeks havoc on the inside of the box and I typically have to scrub down everything really well when/if that is the case). I believe the lid to the box has been off for a long time though so I may just need some cast iron love there too.
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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #37 on: December 09, 2011, 10:37:32 AM »
How do I keep from smoking up the house when I fry?  I made up some pea burgers last night and while frying them up in the cast iron skillet, I smoked up the house pretty good.  I had plenty of oil in there, but any time the oil would not be on a section of the pan, it would smoke.  Was I too hot?  Am I just not using enough oil?  Will it smoke up like this every time I fry?  Will the amount of smoke diminish as the seasoning builds up? 

No, I did not season the pan.  It is a Lodge 13.25" pan.  It is preseasoned, and I know there are lots of folks out there that say to get rid of that seasoning.
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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2011, 11:24:56 AM »
How do I keep from smoking up the house when I fry?  I made up some pea burgers last night and while frying them up in the cast iron skillet, I smoked up the house pretty good.  I had plenty of oil in there, but any time the oil would not be on a section of the pan, it would smoke.  Was I too hot?  Am I just not using enough oil?  Will it smoke up like this every time I fry?  Will the amount of smoke diminish as the seasoning builds up? 

No, I did not season the pan.  It is a Lodge 13.25" pan.  It is preseasoned, and I know there are lots of folks out there that say to get rid of that seasoning.

Get rid of that crap seasoning it came with.. and yes it was probably too hot.

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Offline Orion53

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #39 on: December 09, 2011, 04:13:41 PM »
I brought home a dutch oven from the back of the boy scout shed where it had been long forgotten. Its got some good surface rust but not a whole lot of it but I'm hoping this weekend to clean and cure it.  However I'll be doing it inside my charcoal grill rather than inside the house.  I have seasoned both of our other dutch ovens like this and it works great.  I can get the grill up to about 350 normally which is plenty hot. 

Getting the rust off is the thing I'm most concerned with and I'm going to try the suggestions above.

This is a GREAT thread.

Thanks

Doc,

I also have re-seasoned my lodge pan on indirect heat on my gas grill and it worked like a charm.  I wonder if you couldn't get your grill up to 800 degrees + and clean off the old crud and rust off the pans, much like a self cleaning oven.  May have to experiment on that in the near future.  It would be much better to have that smoke and smell outside the house.

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #40 on: December 09, 2011, 04:26:45 PM »
I can get it to 385 (at least before the temperature gage died LOL) and I'm sure I could get it hotter with more charcoal but that seems to be plenty hot enough to seal it.   I thought about putting the vacume blower on it like a forge but figured I'd melt the grill in half  :o ;D
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Offline chickchoc

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #41 on: December 21, 2011, 12:02:19 AM »
I have several cast iron pots I received from my mother and grandmother.  I don't know the brand, but when I got them they had been unused for quite some time.  The outside of each one was black and a little lumpy and the insides were fairly smooth.  There was some rust on all of them, but not much.  The best way I got them rehabbed was to wipe them down with a little veg oil to get the majority of the rust off.  Then I filled them with cooking oil (one at a time) and fried chicken, fish, whatever.  I left the pans filled with oil for a week or so until I fried something again, then I dumped the oil and baked them in the oven.  I think because my pans were "antiques" that it only took a little bit of reseasoning to get them back in shape. 

I have also received a new Lodge Dutch Oven as a gift.  It was a total mess when I first got it, but using the above method helped tremendously to quickly get a little seasoning on it.  Over time I've cooked about everything imaginable in that pot, including spaghetti sauce, without problems.  I've never had to recondition any of my cast iron (including the "new" one) since I use them once or twice a month here in Michigan.  In Houston's humid climate where we used to live, I'd use them weekly to keep the rust off and the seasoning up to date.

My Dad still has quite a lot of cast iron that he uses daily in Galveston's salty humid climate.  He barely drains the bacon fat of each day's breakfast and just places the pans in the oven to keep them out of the way.  No problems ever!  At one time he decided to clean the black crust off the outside of the pans.  He just put them on the grill outside with as hot a fire as he could manage and let them burn.  You can't get a charcoal fire like that hot enough to damage good cast iron.  After the fire died down, he took a wire brush and simply de-scaled the outside.  Of course then he had to re-season the inside, but since he eats bacon every day, that was no big deal.

Cast iron is absolutely the best cookware on the planet.  As the third generation to be using some of the items, I can attest that they last a verrrry LONG time with minimal care.  I plan to will my pans to my son.

Offline mrdan

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #42 on: December 21, 2011, 06:06:56 AM »
First, You asked about french enameled cast iron. I've known people who owned the cookware you are talking about. Their universal opinion was absolutely do not buy it. I knew one housewife who did like hers but she wasn't the best cook I've ever known. She cooked more for show than for real, if you know what I mean. Enamel is an expensive solution to a non-existent problem. People don't want all "the work" of cast iron so Le Crueset puts enamel over it. Viola, no more seasoning, just wash up in the dishwasher, etc. Problem solved! Enamel chips and cracks. You chip the cook surface of the pan and it's effectively ruined. It's also horribly expensive. If you want a no muss, no fuss pan then just use your stainless steel pans you have now. They are fantastic. If you want cast, buy a Lodge at the hardware store. Is it bad? Well compared to Granny's Wagner, sure it is. Can you cook just fine with it? Yes. It just takes more work. 

Second, Texguy is spot on. I appreciate all the people who love cast iron, as I do. However, all the work that goes into these things that some people do, it's like buying another pet. I've used cast iron for many years. I've adopted the Alton Brown method which Texguy states, basically.

"Cover it in oil (any kind is fine) and bake it in the oven upside down at over 400* for over an hour. Then let it cool until you can touch it. Yes it will smoke up the house."

However, I use 350, and not "any oil." I use lard preferably. As for smoking on the fat. Not sure where that's coming from. You are cooking on the fat, not burning it on. You burn fat/seasoning/rust OFF and  cook seasoning ON. So just bake some fat on, below it's smoke point. I know Jack's guest said the oven thing was silly but it sure works well for me and has for 20 years. It just kick starts the seasoning. After seasoning you are 85% of the way there. It's not "non-stick" but it's usable. Then just cook high fat items like bacon for a while, or put a bit more butter in with your eggs for a while. Before long you'll realize that stuff just isn't sticking. My aha moment was when I was going to season someone else's pan and put it beside mine. I had no idea just how black mine had gotten. Really amazing difference side by side. 

Cleaning cast isn't harder, it's just different.

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If you don't own another cast iron pan, own it for this one recipe. Haven't touched a grill in MANY years.

steak cooking
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yX1Q3x9Cs4

Yeah first of all, if I smoke up the apartment, the smoke alarms will go off and that's not a good option.  Doing it 20 times would take me forever so I need to use the shortcut version.  I cook bacon maybe 1-3 times per week so if I just do that, I can probably get the surface done in about 2-3 months maybe.

More like a week and a half.
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Offline Adam B.

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #43 on: December 21, 2011, 12:21:46 PM »
Quote
However, I use 350, and not "any oil." I use lard preferably. As for smoking on the fat. Not sure where that's coming from. You are cooking on the fat, not burning it on. You burn fat/seasoning/rust OFF and  cook seasoning ON. So just bake some fat on, below it's smoke point. I know Jack's guest said the oven thing was silly but it sure works well for me and has for 20 years. It just kick starts the seasoning.

If you have a pan coated in oil, placed upside down on the oven rack at a higher temperature than the smoke point, there is a chemical change to the oil (preferably lard or an "oil" that solidifies near room temperature) where it carbonizes and becomes an almost "plastic-like" surface. Cooking on a pan over and over and over again will still build up a layer of seasoning over time, but cooking it in the oven really hot where it smokes up the house is good for taking a new pan or one that you scrubbed down to the bare metal and "sealing" it this way. It will help prevent further rust, and its obvious to the touch when it cools and you pull it out that it is indeed coated with oil (it will turn very dark or black) yet you can touch it without getting oil on your fingers or any of it coming off the pan.

I always set my oven to "broil" when I do this so it gives off the maximum heat (around 500 degrees) when I re-season my pans, and I only really do that once or twice a year depending on how camping and leaving them in my camp kitchen totes affects them. Sometimes there's so much moisture in the air when I camp that I pack everything away and even though I cleaned everything before packing it away, moisture trapped inside of the storage totes causes bad things to happen.
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Offline mrdan

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #44 on: December 21, 2011, 06:10:40 PM »
If you have a pan coated in oil, placed upside down on the oven rack at a higher temperature than the smoke point, there is a chemical change to the oil (preferably lard or an "oil" that solidifies near room temperature) where it carbonizes and becomes an almost "plastic-like" surface. Cooking on a pan over and over and over again will still build up a layer of seasoning over time, but cooking it in the oven really hot where it smokes up the house is good for taking a new pan or one that you scrubbed down to the bare metal and "sealing" it this way. It will help prevent further rust, and its obvious to the touch when it cools and you pull it out that it is indeed coated with oil (it will turn very dark or black) yet you can touch it without getting oil on your fingers or any of it coming off the pan.

I always set my oven to "broil" when I do this so it gives off the maximum heat (around 500 degrees) when I re-season my pans, and I only really do that once or twice a year depending on how camping and leaving them in my camp kitchen totes affects them. Sometimes there's so much moisture in the air when I camp that I pack everything away and even though I cleaned everything before packing it away, moisture trapped inside of the storage totes causes bad things to happen.

To quote Alton (who is my go to guy on cooking):

AltonBrown: I'm going to guess that you mean seasoning a cast-iron pan. I use Crisco shortening. It is very highly refined, and I drop a small spoonful of it into said skillet. I stick it in a 350-degree oven until the shortening melts. I then extract said vessel, and implement a paper towel to smear the fat all over the pan, handle and everything. I then pick up the pan and return it to the 350-degree oven for an hour. Do not drop it at any point during this process! Turn the oven off, let the pan cool down, wipe off the excess oil, and put it away.

Can't find the video for his instruction but the video notes that you should place the pan upside down as commented on elsewhere here already.

I won't argue chemical structures with you as frankly I'm not a chemist but the method as described by Alton does work from many moons of personal experience and most importantly, doesn't smoke the apartment of the original poster which is a concern of his and my reason for taking exception to the various "smoke it up" suggestions.

If I bought a brand new pan today, I'd scrub it with soap, rinse clean. Follow the above method, and have bacon for breakfast for a week. After that, it's just a matter of using the pan over the years to continue to build the surface. Never once in all this have I done anything that is wasteful of time or will piss the Mrs. off other than the one session in the oven to season which produced no smoke. The original poster seems to be questioning whether he wants cast iron or not. My effort here is to assure him that it really isn't all that difficult. Does your way work better? Dunno, don't care since my minimalist method does work to some acceptable level. My effort is towards establishing that cast is worth the MINIMAL effort required for someone who may be unsure and has heard horror stories.
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Offline KittyF

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #45 on: December 29, 2011, 09:37:28 AM »

They say something can happen with cooking foods like tomatoes in cast iron, but I have never had a problem. I use them from cooking pretty much anything, including breads, pineapple upside down cake... the chicken and such.

Cedar

In the Seventies it was often suggested to cook your tomato sauce in your cast iron cookware in order to add iron to the diet.  the acid in the tomato dissolves some of the iron.  Now, this will also darken the left overs if allowed to remain in the cookware (I was lazy), and the acid will also cause you to need to reoil the pan before you can use it again since it removes the top layer of seasoning, but that's the only problem.

Offline SteveandTracyinKY

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #46 on: December 29, 2011, 11:05:52 AM »
My main cast Iron belonged to my great grandmother. I never re-season it, just wipe it down with crisco after each cooking session and pop it back into the oven to keep the dust down.

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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #47 on: December 29, 2011, 01:04:17 PM »
I just inherited another 3 pans.  :):)  could have grabbed more, but didn't want to seem greedy.

My parents good friends and neighbors were moving, downsizing from a 'burb house to a condo in a warmer place.  so they were getting rid of all sorts of stuff - canning jars (wish I needed any more, wish I had a place for them anyway...  would have taken them!) and cast iron.  could not believe that a woman would get rid of her good pans just cuz she was downsizing, but turns out, these were not her pans.  they found them in the house when they moved in some 20 years ago.
which makes me think back to the original owners of that house: they were homesteaders, I realize with hindsight now.  I was too little to really care about anything except the cute baby chicks my friends showed me.  I remember they had chickens in the backyard that they slaughtered, and rabbits too.  I wonder when poor Mrs. B realized that her cast iron - some 8 or 9 pieces - were missing!  Poor lady....
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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #48 on: December 29, 2011, 03:04:41 PM »
I received a Boy Scout Cast Iron skillet as a Christmas gift to add to my growing collection.   We are going to cook bacon in it this weekend and the next couple weekends until its seasons really good.  (This one came pre-seasoned, but it wasn't the wax preseason it was actually oil pre-seasoned.  So I'm not going to strip it.


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Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #49 on: December 30, 2011, 12:57:34 AM »
I too scored. Got two cast iron hot water tea pots? I guess thats what you would call them. There pretty rough inside. Not much room to get my hand in there with some steel wool. This may take some doing to get it clean enough to boil water in.
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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #50 on: December 30, 2011, 02:20:02 AM »
I too scored. Got two cast iron hot water tea pots? I guess thats what you would call them. There pretty rough inside. Not much room to get my hand in there with some steel wool. This may take some doing to get it clean enough to boil water in.


oh, I want one.  you don't REALLY need two, do you?  maybe use FSW's apple cider vinegar trick?

gonna be hard to get the mouth/funnel pour spout of the thing

found the link for you: http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=16967.msg337577#msg337577

there was also a link for using electrolysis?
« Last Edit: December 30, 2011, 02:39:31 AM by Morning Sunshine »
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #51 on: December 30, 2011, 11:34:14 AM »
Go get some nasty trim pork fat from the butcher. Stuff it in there after scouring it the best that you can and toss it in your oven on on top of the woodstove. You can also lightly sandblast them, but I would think I would try the fat trick first. Don't worry about the outside at first. Take a fork and reapply the fat to the inside without burning yourself. This is going to take a LONG time and it may not work at all.. and you have to use it as a humidifier for the top of your woodstove.

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Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #52 on: December 30, 2011, 11:38:46 AM »
Thanks MS and Cedar for info. I do have a sandblaster so I may try that first with some elbow grease. ;)
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Offline Project X

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #53 on: December 31, 2011, 01:59:46 PM »
Is there anywhere I can get a decent idea of pricing for cast iron. I was at a local antique mall and there where three small lodge pans maybe six inches for ten bucks  and a small griddle for twenty and I found one large Griswold in what i precieve as good condition roughly twelves inches for eighty five  dollars...


Also I was talking to my gramparents on christmas about cast iron cause they go to a lot of auctions and my gramother came out from the kitchen with two pots {from the french company} handed them to me and said "merry christmas"

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #54 on: January 01, 2012, 03:16:52 AM »
I found one large Griswold in what i precieve as good condition roughly twelves inches for eighty five  dollars...
Ouch thats high. In rough condition the griswold 8s and 9s seem to go for anything from free to 20 bucks. Nicer ones go up to around 40-50 bucks. Check out ebay and see what stuff sells for to get a good idea.
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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #55 on: January 01, 2012, 05:33:12 PM »
Everytime this thread shows up in my "view unread posts" I get to reading it and then want to make either bacon or fried chicken (I'm trying to season one of those %@*#! lodge "preseasoned" skillets.)
Hubby doesn't realize why we had bacon this morning, but I think he's appreciative nonetheless.

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #56 on: January 01, 2012, 06:27:57 PM »
Everytime this thread shows up in my "view unread posts" I get to reading it and then want to make either bacon or fried chicken (I'm trying to season one of those %@*#! lodge "preseasoned" skillets.)
Hubby doesn't realize why we had bacon this morning, but I think he's appreciative nonetheless.



hahaha

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #57 on: January 02, 2012, 12:47:55 AM »
Yeah just cooked 2 steaks in my pan for the first time. :)
I got it hot first and seered both sides then put the pan in the hot oven. Came out pretty tasty. Did smoke up the kitchen tho. :o
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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #58 on: January 02, 2012, 01:09:17 AM »
In college my metal casting class took a tour of the Lodge foundry.   Basically they have a line set up where they hang pieces of ware on racks and use "paint" equipment to spray them with oil. I can't remember what combination this was about 7 years ago when I went. Then they run through an oven and come back out and run through the oil sprayers again and back through the oven again and that is there seasoning process.

The point is not to make a perfectly seasoned piece of ware but to make something can pick up off the shelf and start cooking with it right away.

Hope that clears a few things up.

Offline SteveandTracyinKY

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Re: Episode 787 - Cast Iron Question
« Reply #59 on: January 02, 2012, 03:38:42 AM »
Searing something off in the cast iron and then throwing it into the oven is one of the best cooking methods anyone has ever taught me. Makes a mean steak, and some nice chicken, or even a good pork chop. Its pretty much just awesome.
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