One of the best ways to learn how to cook is to help out your parents and relatives as a kid while they’re busy in the kitchen. That way, you quickly pick up some great techniques, sharpen your veggie chopping skills, and get used to being around all the clanking and clattering pots and pans. It’s great! On the flip side, you also pick up some of your parents’ cooking misconceptions, too.

Their mistakes become part of your knowledge base. And it sometimes takes years and years for you to realize that your parents might not have had everything figured out when it comes to food. Redditors opened up about some of the weirdest and funniest things their parents taught them about cooking that ended up being completely the wrong way to go about making food.

From completely overcooking pork and salmon into dry inedible meals to undercooking mushrooms and not using any salt and beyond, here are the biggest misconceptions that they shared. Scroll down, upvote the posts that you think everyone should read, and if you have any food lessons to share with the rest of our dear Pandas, you can tell us all about them in the comments.

Bored Panda got in touch with Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin, a talented pie artist, food expert, and the author of ‘Pies Are Awesome,’ for a chat about where misconceptions about food come from and about food fads (like the dastardly sugar lobby vilifying fat in the 1960s).

“Culinary knowledge is usually passed down generationally. If that’s how your mum/dad/gran did it, that’s how you do it. There’s a lot of, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality around the dinner tables of the world,” she told us. Read on for our interview with Jessica!

#1

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread Their method for hard boiled eggs: start them in cold water, boil for 15 minutes, then wait til the water cools to remove them. Gross grey yolks every time

ETA: whoever downvoted me obviously makes eggs this insane way so I just wanna tell that guy specifically that you can boil a perfect egg in 12 minutes, less time if you prefer a jammier yolk. you do not need to waste an hour to make hardboiled eggs buddy

beastsinthebelfry , Upupa4me Report

Mr Halloumi
Community Member
1 month ago

You lot are mad. Cold water, eggs in, bring to boil, 3 mins runny, 6 mins hard, cold water after both. End of.

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Pie artist and baking grandmaster Jessica told Bored Panda that if people haven’t tried the ‘correct’ versions of the dishes or ingredients, then they’ve got nothing to compare the versions they’ve always been served with.

“And even then, due to warm fuzzy nostalgic feelings the foods of our youth often invoke, some people may prefer the ‘incorrect’ version. Overcooked pasta just like mother used to make!” she noted that people’s nostalgia goggles might make an appearance.

“Of course, there is a line between ‘sub-optimal’ and ‘inedible’ when it comes to food. But if no one is puking up a lung or dying of obvious malnutrition, most busy parents don’t see much of an impetus to change,” she explained why most food mistakes don’t end up being fixed.

#2

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread My dad always told me that mushrooms should be added to the dish at the very last minute and barely cooked. I always thought I didn’t really like mushrooms. When I finally ate mushrooms which had been sautéed golden brown I was blown away. Turns out they are way better fully cooked!

Sydney313 , Allrecipes Québec Report

broken_guy
Community Member
1 month ago

especially with butter

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#3

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread When I lived with my parents, I didn't get the hype around steak. This was all around the context we lived in - My mum was feeding eight of us and brought cheap tenderized cuts that she could afford, would cook it to the consistency of cardboard, and tell us how lucky we were having steak for dinner. I was totally indifferent to it as a meal, but you eat what's in front of you and you don't complain.

It wasn't till I moved out on my own and had a really good steak at a restaurant that I realized I had misunderstood beef for 18 years. Now I love to cook and eat steak.

Glittering-Pomelo-19 , Chad Montano Report

Synsepalum
Community Member
1 month ago

Chicken fry that cheap, tenderized steak and smother with cream gravy.

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Jessica explained to us that society tends to go through fads and phases when it comes to its relationship with food. Some ingredients can end up being lauded or demonized, only for the tables to turn years later.

“When I was a kid, butter was the enemy, and muffins were the epitome of healthy diet food for the weight-conscious. A 1,000-calorie bran muffin slathered in margarine with a black coffee. That was where it was at,” the cooking expert explained how something that was taken very seriously in the past might sound silly from a more modern perspective.

According to Jessica, people tend to have very strong feelings about their favorite foods. It’s only later that we might learn that the ‘healthy’ items we were eating might not have been all that great for us.

#4

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread Vegetables must be boiled. Particularly broccoli.

Maybe if we had roasted a few, I would have eaten more.

BriSnyScienceGuy , Sam Hojati Report

broken_guy
Community Member
1 month ago

same with brussel sprouts. people hate them because they are never cooked well

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#5

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread Putting oil in your pasta water keeps the pasta from sticking to itself.
This does nothing but waste oil. If you want to keep your pasta from sticking together stir it periodically and when it’s done drain it and put it right into your sauce.

Reaver731 , Klaus Nielsen Report

Matheus Oliveira
Community Member
1 month ago

Besides wasting oil, the only other thing it does is to keep sauce from sticking to the noodles and pooling in the bottom of the plate after they slid off the sad uncoated pasta

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#6

Love my mom, but she was an awful cook. As a teen I started to cook for my family once or twice a week. My father grilled on the weekend nights. The other 3 nights of the week were hers. She tried, she really did, but she was just not good. She would see a recipe she was interested in, but instead of trying it out as is, she would make adjustments to it the first time out. And her adjustments were not necessarily sensible. For example, she would see a recipe that calls for 2 cups of shredded cheese which she saw as too much cheese, so she would replace one cup of cheese with a cup of shredded carrot because it looked like shredded cheese. Stuff like that.

When I grew older and was at Girlfriend's house for dinner one night, she decided to make enchiladas, which I absolutely detested growing up. Of course, there are times in life when you just swallow what's offered to you and smile. They ended up being the best enchiladas I had ever tasted. Amazing. And of course I huge kuddos from her, A for eating them, B for asking for seconds, and C for the smile on my face.

Turns out, most enchiladas don't have 2 cans of diced olives mixed in. Yet another adjustment my mother made without thinking it through. You know diced olives bare a resemblance to ground meat when you cook it. And so, at the age of 22 I learned that I don't hate enchiladas. Lesson learned.

Durwyn Report

Freelove
Community Member
1 month ago

Substituting foods based on looks? ........What? Seriously wtaf

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“There are certainly some historical food misconceptions that have done a lot of harm. The vilification of fat by the sugar lobby in the 1960s is a big one that springs to mind, as well as the whole ‘eating a giant bowl of glorified marshmallows is a-ok for breakfast’ phase,” she told us.

“Outside of broad societal attitudes towards certain foods and diets, there are a number of common everyday cooking mistakes that people make in the preparation of their food—our handling of rice and pasta are high on the list here—but outside of food safety violations, I tend to be pretty sanguine about these things,” the expert noted that not cooking something ideally isn’t always the same as making the food item dangerous for consumption.

“No one ever died from over-cooked pasta, or vegetables boiled within an inch of their life. Sure, they’re missing out on a heightened culinary experience, but do you really want to be ‘that guy?’ I know I’m not going to tell my grandma how to perfect her pasta boiling technique (and if you knew my grandma, you wouldn’t either!),” Jessica said that, at times, it’s best to be diplomatic and dig into the meal without comment.

#7

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread That meat has to be cooked to a point of total shoe-leather dryness in order to be "safe" to eat. Neither of my parents would touch a piece of chicken that wasn't dessicated through and through nor a piece of beef with a touch of pink.

DerHoggenCatten , Paul Hermann Report

over it already
Community Member
1 month ago

My mom in a nutshell.

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#8

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread My entire childhood we had margarine. I thought restraunts had some special technique to make their butter taste good. Turns out it was just regular salted butter.

HungryJacque , Sorin Gheorghita Report

Hannah Hudson-Lee
Community Member
1 month ago

After the Chernobyl disaster in the 80s we had to eat margarine for a couple of years because the milk from our dairy herds was contaminated by the fall out. That first bit of butter when it was safe to eat again was like heaven melting on toast. (Incidentally, we lived a very, very long way from Chernobyl. Fallout can travel scary distances on the weather.)

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#9

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread My parents boil any meat that they’re going to “cook” on the grill because it won’t cook all the way through on a grill. And this is why I thought I hated BBQed chicken. Few years ago I threw a BBQ for them, my Dad insisted I was going to kill them by just grilling the chicken and pork. Then they said, best grilled chicken and pork they ever had. I also grilled the corn on the cob which they thought was some kind of miracle.

SeaOtterHummingbird , Daniel Hooper Report

over it already
Community Member
1 month ago

You should wow them with grilled pineapple &/or asparagus next - yum!

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A lot of these misconceptions probably come from a place of love. For instance, some parents might not cook with salt because they know that an excess of it might be harmful to health. Others might overcook food because they’re overly worried about killing off any germs.

Sure, that might kill the flavor, but these aren’t misconceptions that harm you much apart from leaving your taste buds unsatisfied. It’s the mistakes related to hygiene in the kitchen that you should be worried about.

Some kitchen mistakes are worse than others. Food expert, pie artist, and author Jessica recently told Bored Panda all about food hygiene.

#10

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread No more than three eggs per week, or you'd die of heat failure from the cholesterol.

rc1024 , Tom Chance Report

Matheus Oliveira
Community Member
1 month ago

If you want an omelette one day, you’re out of luck for the rest of the week, then

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#11

It took me an entire summer of owning my own barbecue to learn that barbecued does not mean charred past recognition.

DevelishCurves Report

Nancy Jeckells
Community Member
1 month ago

That reminds me that at a friend's barbecue years ago, I said to my husband, honey, can you make sure I get a well done sausage? He said, no problem, they're ALL burnt !!

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#12

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread In this vein - spinach! Boxed fish sticks, rice, and canned spinach was in the regular rotation when I was a kid. I didn't realize spinach was tasty until I had a tasty fresh spinach salad at my in-laws' place.

Reading the Harry Potter books, I always just straight imagined gillyweed as canned spinach. Slimy and revolting.

Snap__Dragon , Eva Elijas Report

Freelove
Community Member
1 month ago

Amazing what happens when you eat food prepared the way it's supposed to be! My husband is an amazing cook and I've been realizing as an adult that I'm not really a picky eater... my mom was just not a great cook!

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"The worst thing that can be done in the kitchen in terms of hygiene is treating the 'dangerous' ingredients in the same fashion as all the other ingredients in your food prep. Pathogens (the little things in food that can make us sick like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and microorganisms) thrive in certain foods more than others," Jessica explained to us in an exclusive interview.

"Raw chicken, raw egg, unpasteurized milk, seafood, and raw flour (people often forget that one!) in particular are fertile breeding ground for nasties and need to be treated differently than other foods,” the food expert warned.

According to Jessica, everyone should keep in mind the food safety acronym ‘FATTOM’ to remember which foods spoil quicker than others. The acronym stands for “Food supply (protein), low acidity, time, temperature, oxygen, and moisture."

#13

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread If you don’t have a potato then it is not an actual meal. It wasn’t exactly true then but that was what they knew.

Bluemonogi , Monika Grabkowska Report

Brenda
Community Member
1 month ago

Meat & potatoes meals

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#14

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread Not exactly my parents, but my grandmother had some... Unique views on food. For example:

Enjoying foreign food makes you almost traitor of your country

Never washed her vegetables because dirt toughens you up

Only she knows the correct recipes and experimenting in kitchen in unforgivable (direct insult to my mom)

If something had gone bad, she didn't throw it out, but boiled till it literally dissolved and then got upset that noone ate it

Hentai-hercogs , Ian Sommerville Report

Freelove
Community Member
1 month ago

YIKES. Just.... yikes.

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#15

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread My mom just told me to completely omit salt when cooking.

a_frayn , Thomas Brueckner Report

I’m A Black Cat
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

There is a fairytale from Middle East, goes smth like this: A padishah had three daughters. When they grew to full age he asked them to tell him how much they loved him and the one who loved him most would get his kingdom. So the first daughter told him she loved her father like a caravan of gold. He gave her a caravan of gold but not his crown. The second one compared her love to a caravan of damonds. He gave her a caravan of diamonds but not his throne. The third one, his favourite daughter, came and said: I love you like salt. He was furious and sent her away without giving her anything, forbidding to ever return. The shah was broken since he felt betrayed by his favourite daughter. Then a wise wizard came to him and said: you have done injustice. Try and eat your food wothout salt for three weeks and you will see how much your daughter loves you. He did. By the end of the first week he had lost all appetite. By the end of the second week he was ready to lose his riches for one meal salted bite. By the end of the third week he was so exhausted by the tasteless food that he was ready to give up his kingdom for a pinch of salt. This is when he understood. He asked his daughter to return, gave her his kingdom and knew she would be a worthy queen. The end

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The expert said that you can use ‘FATTOM’ as a quick rule of thumb to determine how dangerous the ingredients you’re working with actually are.

“For example, if you are working with something with a very high acid content like lemons, jam, or pickles, or something with a very low moisture content like crackers or rice cakes, you really don’t have to worry about them sitting out on the counter for hours or touching other food. They just don’t have enough of what the pathogens need to grow,” she said.

"On the other hand, something like raw shrimp which has a high moisture content and lots of protein for pathogens to eat really needs to be carefully monitored for how long it is left out in the open air in 'danger zone' temperatures and kept far away from other food and utensils,” she told Bored Panda that temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees F (4 to 60 degrees C) are the danger zone for pathogen growth.

#16

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread My dad, whose mother is from Sicily, he was really offended when my future SIL sweetened her Bolognese sauce with carrots. I did a little research on a standard Italian sofrito, and it includes carrots. I've since modified my recipe, swapping sugar for carrots, and I think it improves the flavor.

Scapular_Fin , Gary Barnes Report

Fenel F.
Community Member
1 month ago

Soffritto is the base for every tomato-based italian sauce. It's a mixture of onions, carrots and celery (the green stalk with leaves), chopped very fine. In french they call it mirepoix.

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#17

Most of these differences are simply preferences, rather than strictly advantageous, incorrect or correct. Two cooks can use vastly different techniques for the same dish and make an end result that is equally delicious. That is why it is best to regard all recipes as advice and suggestion, not gospel.

KelMHill Report

Lisa Hewes
Community Member
1 month ago

This needs to be higher. Even with the science of baking, you can still turn it into art, like adding a bit of cinnamon and sugar on top of chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven. Maybe those same cookies have a touch of nutmeg baked in?

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#18

For my entire childhood I thought mashed potatoes came in a box.

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Fenel F.
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm not envying you, because real mashed potatoes are awesome!

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#19

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread Everyone loves their Moms cooking but don't they all have this one dish that you learned later does not taste like it is supposed to? Mine for example will leave pasta in the water until it's time to serve it, even if it's practically starting to dissolve by that time. Then she will drown it in butter so it won't stick.

thegoldensnitch9 , Kyle T. Report

Mozzarella
Community Member
1 month ago

Mine was eggplant. Wouldn’t touch it. Then I went to a resturant, ordered it without knowing, and ate the whole thing. You should’ve seen my face when I was told it was eggplant!

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#20

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread Salmon. My mom was a decent cook but I thought I detested that nasty dry stuff until I had salmon at a restaurant once and was like holy sh*t, THIS is salmon??

PolarsteeleMGB2 , Oxana Kolodina Report

Lisa Hewes
Community Member
1 month ago

I LOVE searing tuna and salmon on a cast iron skillet. For the longest time, I thought I hated seafood, turns out I just never had it prepared properly until a few years ago.. Now I'm pescatarian, go figure.

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#21

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread I was allowed to eat eggs, sunny side up, omelette, whatever, only once or twice a week.

Supposedly unhealthy.

G00bre , snickclunk Report

Fenel F.
Community Member
1 month ago

And again, tales of 60's ....

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#22

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread My mom used to overcook pork chops all the time because she didn't believe it was safe to have any pinkness inside. I thought I didn't like pork chops very much because I thought it wasn't juicy enough until I finally had one that was cooked to medium doneness.

Darwin343 , stu_spivack Report

Robin Roper
Community Member
1 month ago

In the not too distant past, there was a real danger in eating undercooked pork - Trichinosis, the food-borne disease caused by a microscopic parasite Trichinella. Most pork was raised in conditions where the parasite thrived and was common in fresh pork. To kill it, the meat had to be cooked to 145°F/63°C. Now, pork sold in grocery stores is not raised in these conditions and because there is no parasite, the meat so doesn't have to be cooked to death.

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#23

Bacon. I assumed it was the solid food equivalent of coffee when I was a kid - smells amazing, tastes like bitter, burnt ashes. My parents err on the side of burnt, and sometimes they err hard. When I was 12 my buddy made us some for breakfast after a sleepover and pulled it off the heat almost still pink and my mind was blown.

zenswashbuckler Report

Lisa Hewes
Community Member
1 month ago

To be fair, bacon can go from pinkish to burnt REALLY quick.

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#24

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread You can't drink milk while eating anything with lemon or it will *curdle in your stomach* and make you *severely* sick!

FourCatsAndCounting , ~Pawsitive~Candie_N Report

Ray Ceeya (RayCeeYa)
Community Member
1 month ago

There's a really nasty prank you can play on a friend. Order a drink called a Cement Mixer. It's a shot with Bailey's Irish Cream with lemon or lime juice floated on top. It curdles instantly in your mouth and makes the shot almost impossible to swallow.

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#25

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread My mom is a great cook. People offer to buy her stuff all the time. And when my friends come over, they leave at least 5lbs heavier. HOWEVER, there is one thing that she does that hella bothers me- she leaves soups and stews on the stove top for a couple days. She boils it every day and claims it removes the bacteria. Luckily, no one has gotten food poisoning yet. It still freaks me out. And I’ll only eat it when it’s freshly made or from the fridge.

curryp4n , Uwe Conrad Report

Dave Van Beurden
Community Member
1 month ago

The 'no one has gotten food poisoning yet' part kinda proves she's right....

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#26

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread When baking, stir everything clock wise or it will be bad.

pumpkabooooo , Klaus Nielsen Report

Robin Roper
Community Member
1 month ago

That is beyond stupid

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#27

My parents always had their big meal in the evening. Only as an adult living in Germany did I learn that a big lunch and a light supper are much healthier (for me at least). Much better sleep for one thing.

Tom__mm Report

Mosheh Wolf
Community Member
1 month ago

Sorry people, but there is no specific tame of day for the big meal. Having a big meal soon before going to sleep can cause heartburn in some people, but having dinner at 7 and going to sleep at 11 is fine. Also, the whole "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" was invented by breakfast food companies.

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#28

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread Eggs are bad for you.... That was before we heard about cholesterol. Then butter, here use this congealed artery spackle instead

Later they got into the whole low fat thing

blkhatwhtdog , Ben Kolde Report

Emily M
Community Member
1 month ago

"Congealed artery spackle" is my new favorite way to describe this

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#29

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread Spinach is desgusting. Its NOT. I eat it every day as an adult. But they ALWAYS bought Canned Spinach which is... not good. Really bad. Green, slightly grass tasting slime. Fresh Spinach? Crunchy! No Slime! Good. They came up poor and lived on an island so I don't think they quite understood that, one we had moved west, they now lived with 500 km of 1000 farms and didn't need to buy it in a can anymore...

bobo76565657 , miguel Report

Brenda
Community Member
1 month ago

Cooked right with some bacon grease, top with just a little vinegar on plate. Delicious

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#30

30 Of The Worst Beliefs About Cooking People Have Been Taught By Their Parents, As Shared On This Online Thread A pinch of salt = only a few grains

Breakfastchocolate , Bank Phrom Report

Fenel F.
Community Member
1 month ago

That's depends, being a matter of taste. The goal is for you to enjoy your own dish, not to win Hell's Kitchen.

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