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Baking Soda: Bicarbonate of Soda

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It is not widely known, even to the people with it in their kitchens, that one of the most wonderful and amazing culinary products in the world is baking soda, often called 'bicarbonate of soda'. The little yellow and red box of white powder in your fridge, keeping your German choco cake tasting like German choco cake and not the trout next to it, is without a doubt the most underrated product that we humans have ever popped out of our warped little skulls.

Baking soda is used in many recipes for fresh bread, crispy cookies, flaky cakes, fluffy frosting, and can even be used to make buttermilk. In the area of world health, it is a great antacid. Need to brush your teeth? Grab the box of miracle powder1. If you want to soak your dentures, scrub make-up off your face, get dirt off your hands, get grime out of your hair or need a very fast deodorant when you are down to the plastic head of the Old Spice Sport Stick, then you will be glad that somewhere in your fridge is the magic box.

Are the kids screaming and running around? Well, knock them out for hours. Well, maybe not, but in minutes, you can shut them up for hours by whipping up a fresh batch of 'Play Clay'. Play Clay is similar to Play Dough, but it does not stick to your teeth. You are not only able to scrub coffee stains off your old used five-and-dime coffee pot, but tea stains are no more. Did we mention the scuff marks on your cheap 1970's linoleum floor? No? Well, sprinkle on a little white powder goodness, and watch the scuff marks disappear like sins in a confessional. The dishes have never been cleaner, your whites have never been whiter, and the silver Grandma left you shines like the day it was forged. The wax on fruits and vegetables are off in a flash. The odd scent coming from the cutting board or the garbage disposal for the past two weeks is now hammered away. The thick, sickening smell of the fresh paint is void with a few scoops of the dust of the ages. Did we mention it is fat free, and has zero calories?

The Sooper Dooper Erupting Volcano

If you have kids, you can make the coolest thing ever for them. This is it:

Supplies Needed

  • Baking sheet
  • An old piece of sturdy cardboard
  • Plaster-of-Paris
  • 4oz plastic cups
  • Red food coloring (but not limited to red)
  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • Hand dish washing liquid
  • Vinegar or citric acid (sour salt)

Making the Volcano

  1. On a baking sheet or other easily cleaned surface, shape the cardboard into a broad cone shape, using a 4oz cup to form the 'crater' at the top of the volcano.

  2. Use the Plaster-of-Paris to cover the cone to form the volcano. Do not get plaster in the crater. Allow the volcano to dry completely.

  3. Paint or decorate volcano as desired (screaming children and old people can be made with toothpicks and paint). If you would like your volcano to stand up to repeated eruptions and clean-ups, consider using non-water soluble paints.

Making the Eruption

  1. Mix 1/4 cup vinegar (or one teaspoon citric acid) with the dish washing liquid, water and red coloring in a plastic cup.

  2. Put one teaspoon of baking soda in an empty plastic cup. Place this cup inside the volcano crater.

  3. Quickly pour vinegar/dish washing liquid/water mixture into the Baking Soda cup in the crater.

  4. Enjoy the lava as the volcano erupts.

  5. Convince somebody else to clean up.

1And try very hard to ignore the taste.

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