Saturday, February 19, 2011

Information Currency in Real Life

The most excellent book "Clean it fast, clean it right" (Brendenberg ISBN 174121162x) was one of my more fortuitous purchases for The Home Library - a mere seven bucks for remaindered stock following the release of a new edition.

How much updating can a 1998 copyright-dated book on cleaning need in 2011? Well, gee and heck, nothing significant changed for removing vomit or grease stains. Grease is grease, right? And vomit ... well, let's take it as read. It's still fairly early in the morning here, at least for a Saturday.

Anyways, I wanted information on a homeopathic-style polish for copper, as in the metal. Yep, it was right there on page 131. "One tablespoon of salt, one tablespoon of flour, one tablespoon of white vinegar". Simple?

Would that be mined rock salt or evaporated sea salt? Iodised? Crushed, powered or crystal?

Can wholemeal flour be used, or does it have to be the refined pasty stuff; celiacs would be unlikely to possess such a product. Would it be OK to substitute cornflour? Or an oat derivative?

"White" vinegar? Oxidized alcohol. In Our Global Village, wouldn't a rice vinegar introduce a modicum of gracious culinary delight? Fruit vinegars, wine, balsamic, so many to choose from, and yet we are limited to plain old ordinary "white" vinegar.

Then there's the additional pressure of making socially responsible decisions. Even the briefest consideration of the countries of origin of the above-mentioned ingredients exposes the possibilities of their respective histories of human rights abuses; unsustainable environmentally unsound practices; domestic fiscal policies particularly in relation to the monetary support of school libraries, and similar issues of international concern.

As always, the devil is in the detail. So I bought a bottle of the commercial product "Brasso", for less than the cost of the book. Admittedly, the can of metal cleaner doesn't give anywhere near the same level of aesthetic satisfaction sitting on a book shelf ...

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