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Reviews Written by
JK "johnrktx@sbcglobal.net" RSS Feed (Lake Jackson, Texas USA)

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Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy
Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $13.70

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A real disappointment., October 6, 2014
I am a Protestant converted to Roman Catholic. Having said this, I certainly don't have a pro- or anti-Catholic bias when it comes to the history of the Church. Unfortunately, as with our 'fair and balanced' cable network which is neither, it is obvious from the first pages that this writer lacks objectivity concerning both the Roman Catholic Church and Christianity. As such, his writing nullifies any worth it might have had because of his obsession with looking at history through some rather distorted personal issues. A real disappointment.


Hawkings Bigboy Aluminium Pressure Cooker
Hawkings Bigboy Aluminium Pressure Cooker
Offered by Gandhi Appliances
Price: $79.99
6 used & new from $49.14

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The delight with it, February 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I already owned the 14 litre, so the 18 litre wasn't a total surprise. The delight with it, over the 14, is that it's wider. Not so much that it takes up more than one burner on my gas range, but wider. It has provided the expected benefit: a much larger opening at the top, which is the still the safest possible design for a pressure cooker. The 14 litre, which I'll still enjoy, can take an entire chicken, for example, for cooking, but this cooker can take the same chicken horizontally, or even a small turkey. When I cook such things, I don't just dump the bird in the pot and start. I place them in foil, in a dish elevated above the water used to create the steam pressure. The birds come out moist, but not waterlogged at all, and their delicious juices are caught in the inner cooking dish to be used for rice or broth. The 18 litre makes it just that much easier to do. These are quite heavy, and heavy-duty, aluminum in construction, as they are designed for commercial kitchen use. Those handles on the sides are terrific for lifting. There truly is no comparison between this level of cooker and the small ones or any brand design for home--and I own several of them in that smaller size, also. This is superb for cooking a large pot of brown rice, again in a separate bowl inside the cooker, separate from the water used to create the steam pressure. That is the value of a very large cooker. The fact that it's also quite attractive is just a free benefit!


Cooking with Sunshine: The Complete Guide to Solar Cuisine with 150 Easy Sun-Cooked Recipes
Cooking with Sunshine: The Complete Guide to Solar Cuisine with 150 Easy Sun-Cooked Recipes
by Lorraine Anderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.32
84 used & new from $8.12

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Older-, August 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is not a bad book, but it was published nearly 20 years ago; there have been advancements in solar ovens and solar cooking. I should've paid more attention to that fact before purchasing. It is well-written for what it does cover, and someone who knows absolutely nothing about solar cooking would learn from it. The '150 easy sun-cooked recipes' are completely unnecessary if the reader already knows how to cook. Additionally, the characteristics of the reader's sun oven cooking will vary according to geography. I live in the Houston area where sunshine is so intense that most of the time any oven will do fine even without reflectors.

With the resources of the web and YouTube, this book is quite unnecessary and irrelevant until it's updated.


No Title Available

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does The Job, August 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
What can be said about this hose? Without it, one can't use the jar sealer accessory for the Foodsaver. In the opinion of many of us, the jar sealer is the best reason to own a Foodsaver. After all, the bags aren't suitable for long-term storage; they lose their vacuum seal. Done properly, the jar sealer will hold indefinitely. The hose looks like standard aquarium-type hose in case one had to replace it, but the adapters are necessary to do the jar sealing also. And by the way, Amazon sells a hand vacuum pump made for auto work that can easily be adapted to do jar sealing by hand without the Foodsaver--see my reviews for the link to it. Works perfectly for that also!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 23, 2013 11:53 PM PST


Ball® Secure-Grip Jar Lifter (by Jarden Home Brands)
Ball® Secure-Grip Jar Lifter (by Jarden Home Brands)
Price: $9.07
40 used & new from $7.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much Better than the Standard-, August 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this lifter, sight unseen, out of curiosity. I have a couple of the standard $3 ones that are available at the 'Mart' store. While I've never dropped any jars with them, they don't feel very secure lifting heavy quart jars out of the pressure canner. I discovered immediately with this lifter that the 'grip' area is much larger and more secure, and therefore safer. I'm a strong guy so there was never any question that I couldn't grip hard enough to lift out quart jars with the old ones, but they are also already wearing on the contact surfaces after about a year (I've been canning 30+ years, have always had the cheapies). This one shows no wear yet. The handles are spring-loaded to split apart when not in use, but only lightly, so I see no benefit with that. However, I'm delighted I bought these, and am trying to use them all the time. Well worth the extra money.


All American pressure cooker steam guage.
All American pressure cooker steam guage.
Offered by P Coast Partners
Price: $20.72
2 used & new from $19.04

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good as Gauges Go-, August 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased this gauge as a backup--I own two AA canners. I suppose it does a fairly good job, though the two canners I've got, both less than 2 years old, register different pressures on their gauges. Fortunately, All American switched a couple of years ago from just the traditional flip petcock on the other side of the lid to a weighted gauge for 5, 10 and 15 pounds, rather like their old Mirro cookers/canners had. This weighted gauge is much more reliable than these geared gauges, and in fact, AA says in the owners manuals now that we should follow the indications of the weighted gauge. I can say that a real drawback of these is that they're not waterproofed in any way. Water/steam can easily get under the glass on the gauge, particularly when cleaning the lid. While it hasn't caused either of my gauges to quit on my canners in dozes of uses, I can't help but think that it couldn't be good for the mechanism, either. I just bought an older AA canner on EBay with an older gauge and will probably use this newer one to replace it. And no, my county extension service doesn't do these conveniently any more. However, I do love my AA canners so this is really no drawback now; just a holdout from the old days for people like me at sea level.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 19, 2014 10:08 PM PDT


All American pressure cooker vent pipe for regulator.
All American pressure cooker vent pipe for regulator.
Offered by Goodman's
Price: $11.34

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Easy Conversion, August 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I already owned two All American canners produced in the last couple of years, and purchased a third on EBay for a great price. However, it was several years old. What's the difference? The newest series of AA canners has not only the geared dial gauge on one side of the lid, but it also has the vent pipe shown that is made to hold a weighted gauge--a 'jiggler'--adjustable for 5, 10 and 15 pounds. This is much more convenient and reliable than depending on a gauge that can easily go out of calibration. The older AA canners for decades simply had a flip petcock on the lid across from the dial gauge; one would open it for the requisite 10 minutes of steam/air evacuation, then flip it down and start watching the gauge. With the 'jiggler' weighted gauge, one doesn't have to watch the canner at all; one just listens in earshot for the jiggling of the gauge a couple of times per minute.

Fortunately, when my 'new' AA canner arrived, I quickly learned that it was a matter of a crescent wrench taking off the old petcock, replacing it with this new vent pipe, and now it's working exactly the same as my newest canner! I already had an extra weighted gauge, so I was able to start using it immediately. I'd heartily recommend that anyone with an older AA canner swap over to the newer system. It works better and it's more reliable, and not expensive, or hard, to do.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 23, 2013 10:26 AM PDT


GIRL GROUPS The Story of a Sound
GIRL GROUPS The Story of a Sound

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Documentary on Girl Groups-, August 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I owned this documentary years ago on VHS, and actually had it in DVD before but it got lost in a loan. What makes this film great for me is the interviews with some of the principals from that time. There's no way to cover all the women who gave us all such enjoyment back then, but there is a great sampling of them. The tragedy of that time of the 'Brill Building Sound' is that so many of the young women, particularly the black women, saw so little financial gain from their work. As was stated at least once in the documentary, often the record producers owned the names to the groups, and they would simply move girls in and out of them. It was quite easy because, other than the Shirelles and the Supremes, and maybe the Vandellas, white people certainly didn't know any of the members anyway! Regardless, that time gave us amazing, fun music, only magnifying the sad state of songwriting and music production now. I'm delighted to have been a kid in that time, and very satisfied with this effort to document it.


Actron CP7830 Hand Vacuum Pump
Actron CP7830 Hand Vacuum Pump
Price: $40.04
8 used & new from $39.99

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Foodsaver!, August 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have no idea how this works in an automotive situation. I bought this pump because there was a video on YouTube about converting one of these into a jar sealer for long-term food storage. As some may know, most Foodsavers have a port on them where, instead of vacuum sealing their proprietary bags, one can use an accessory to suck the air out of standard canning jars/lids, thereby enabling long-term storage of such things as rice and beans. However, what to do if the Foodsaver isn't available, or breaks, or there's no electricity? This pump is the perfect solution.

There is one difference between this pump and the identical pump on YouTube: this pump comes with a whole lot of adapters and a nice rubber hose. The guy who made the video used an aquarium hose and sort of manhandled it into the top of the jar sealer. I discovered that the black rubber hose included here plugs perfectly into one end of the Foodsaver clear accessory hose, thereby enabling a nice long hose with the two combined.

The other part I really enjoy about this setup is that there is an attached gauge with vacuum pressure showing. For canning jars one takes it up to about 20/Hg, which takes about a half minute of pumping. Once that it reached, a simple touch of the release button under the gauge equalizes the pressure and the jar sealer accessory can be taken off.

My Foodsaver is in the kitchen, but it's on a shelf and not convenient necessarily to pull down to seal one thing. This handy appliance will fit in a drawer and take care of that now. Well worth the money for me!


All American 75 cleaning rod for vent pipe.
All American 75 cleaning rod for vent pipe.
Offered by Goodman's
Price: $6.14

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Appliance, August 16, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
What can be said on this review? This is a wire specifically made to insert in the vent pipe on AA canners to clean it. I had no idea until recently this existed. However, I have clogged my vent pipes before on my three AA canners and then had to look all over the kitchen for something to clean them! This hole is too small for a pipecleaner or a Q-Tip, and I just don't keep wire sitting around. I ordered this accessory at the same time I ordered a spare wing nut for the canners. Fits perfectly in the vent pipe. I haven't needed it yet, but I'm sure I will!


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