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Category Archives: adventuretimes!

Let’s talk about ammonia.

Perhaps you’re completely taken aback by my suggestion.  Perhaps you are wondering why I would want to talk about ammonia.  Perhaps you’re thinking about where you last saw that bottle of Windex and whether or not you should buy a new bottle because people are forever stealing your Windex.

Those are all excellent thoughts.  Well, maybe not the one about being taken aback.  That’s not really a thought.  But anyway, I would like to talk about ammonia because recently, I had this wonderful task of cleaning the kitchen.  In particular, the stove, oven, and range hood.

You might not think that this is a big deal.  Well, it is.  It is because my family is Asian.  Many Asians stir fry a lot.  Stir frying at home, while it’s nowhere near as greasy and gross as what you find in a typical Asian restaurant, still involves oil and is still frying.  That means you get a lot of grease and oil buildup on the stove and surrounding surfaces if you’re not careful.  And…that’s what happened with the stove and range hood that I was cleaning.

Now you’d think you can just use a degreaser, let it sit for a minute, and then wipe off this huge layer of grease with a sponge leaving this wonderfully clean surface in its wake, right?  I’m sure you’ve seen a commercial for an oven cleaner that magically works like that, right?

Well, none of the oven cleaners/degreasers that I’ve ever used works like that.  Nothing happens after a minute.  If you read the instructions, they normally ask you to leave it on the mess for at least 15 min.  But not just that, it has to be wet.  After a few minutes, the cleaner starts to dry.  So that means you have to baby sit the mess and keep spraying the moment it starts drying off so it can soak.

If you manage to do this, the oven cleaner/degreaser still doesn’t necessarily work like how you see in the commercials.  I don’t think you’ll ever be able to take a sponge and just wipe a whole section clean of grease.  I think the commercials are lying.  Or at least, greatly exaggerating.  All the oven cleaners/degreasers I’ve ever used only loosened the grease at best and make it slightly more feasible for me to scrub off the grease using a lot of scrubbing power.  Scrubbing power is kind of like drill power, but not really.

BUT!  I have found something that makes it seem like you’re in a kitchen cleaning commercial!  And that something is ammonia.  You can get a bottle of 10% ammonia from the hardware store for a few bucks.  If you pour about half a cup of that into an enclosed container or trash bag and then stick say…your cast iron stove grates that are hideously greasy into said enclosed space and the wondrously acrid ammonia fumes work their magi for a few hours, you might be able to pull the grates out of the ammonia fumes and wipe off the grease JUST LIKE HOW YOU SEE IN THE COMMERCIALS!

Now then, stove grates aren’t like oven doors.  You could stick a half cup of ammonia in the oven and close the door for a few hours and then pretend you’re in a oven cleaner commercial, but I actually wouldn’t recommend it unless you really had no other recourse in cleaning your oven.  Ammonia fumes are dangerous.  If you aren’t careful, you’ll burn your eyes and lungs and skin.  It’s really better to do all your cleaning with concentrated ammonia (Windex is only like 5% ammonia) outside or in some well-ventilated space.  Your oven is not a well-ventilated space.

So anyway, that’s my story about ammonia and my kitchen cleaning adventures.

I’ve been thinking about pizza a lot recently.  Well, I often do think about pizza.  It is one of my favorite things to eat after all.  But recently, I’ve been thinking about pizza because I’ve been trying to chase down TJs Woodfire Pizza truck.  It’s the only pizza food truck that I know of and they make Neapolitan pies, among other types.

The last two weeks, they’ve stopped by a food truck gathering really close to my house.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it back in time to catch them.  And one time, I finally chased them down on a Friday at a new food truck gathering, but I was waiting for people so I didn’t immediately go up and order pizza.  And while I was waiting, they closed up and left.  I can’t blame them.  It was a slow night and unlike other food trucks, they have to keep the oven going in order to make pizza, so they probably lose more money than other food trucks when they’re standing idle.  But…it was so disappointing to see them pack up and leave.

Just recently, I made a stop by zpizza because my house is a disaster area and there was no food to feed people.  So I ordered online and stopped by to pick up the pizza.  Only to find out that for some reason, no one told the cooks my order.  My ticket was just sitting there and I was pizzaless.  It was kind of sad.  They did get me my pizzas and I didn’t wait too long either.  They even offered me a free 10″, which I thought was nice of them and rather unnecessary.  I wasn’t really upset by the whole thing.  I ordered pretty close to closing time and sometimes, things like this happen.  They were nice about it and got my order together as quickly as possible.  And they have always provided me with good service before.  One incident like this is hardly going to keep me from going back to them for pizza.

Anyway, these are my boring pizza stories.  Telling you these stories was really just an excuse to link you to these pizza portraits.  I’m so amazed that someone could make these portraits from pizza.  Also, I kind of want some pizza now.

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