Friday, October 31, 2008

Candidates for Ice Cream, or Ice Cream for Candidates?

Out of curiousity (or boredom? -- I am waiting for the few trick or treaters who actually walk up the large hill of our dead end street...yes, it will be a long night) I did a Google search for "[candidate name] ice cream" and here are some of my favorites.

Back in the early days of the 2008 race for the White House, got us excited for a new flavor idea for Ben & Jerry's, Yes, Pecan!...this name was thought up by Aaron Nathan. Or was it? Rumor (or comments below) suggest this was on the Obama site some while before Aaron's submission, but it seems that Aaron was not aware of this when he came up with the idea in the library. Either way, it's a great name and flavor idea, and we wish B&J would make it! Go here for the rest of the story and some other great Obama ice cream names.

Comedy Central's Indecision 2008 called for entries Photoshopping John McCain...the first entry (and undoubtedly our favorite) involved McCain and a big ice cream cone...if only I could be John McCain in that photo.

Not much of note on Sarah Palin and ice cream. Turns out she is a fan of Moosetracks Ice Cream. According to the LA Times, that's what the Republican VP chose when she, John, and Cindy stopped at an ice cream shop in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Big news on the Sarah Palin/Ice Cream front. To make this banal story a little more interesting, the Denver Latest Word Blog notes a little faux pas made by the Denver Post: Apparently, in a story about a crash into a Baskin Robbins, someone mistakenly inserted Sarah Palin's picture instead of the scene of the crash. Nah, still not much more interesting.

Whatdy'a know Joe? In Biden/ice cream news, the basic story is that Joe Biden has been to a lot of ice cream shops. As the SeattlePi puts it "[Biden] is simply out there visiting ice cream parlors and keeping his famous mouth shut except for a lick or two after a couple of somewhat embarrassing gaffes -- a tendency for which he has been notorious throughout his career." (from "The Disappearing Joe Biden", Dan K. Thomasson, Now there's nothing wrong with that, Joe. We've been known to shove ice cream in our mouths too, instead of risking making inappropriate comments.

If you haven't decided on your candidate yet, maybe your favorite ice cream story can help you shed some light!

"Yes, Pecan" image from and McCain/ice cream photo from

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Scoopalicious Count Down to Election Day

As NPR reminded me every few minutes today, Election Day is in five, count 'em, FIVE days. As with any event, we do have the incredible talent of connecting it to ice cream, so for the next five days and all posts will be connected to the election. And then, for four more years, no more election talk...

OK, to start off the countdown, we want to remind you that if you vote our friend at Ben & Jerry's are giving out free ice cream! All you have to do? Show up at a participating Ben & Jerry's on November 4 between 5 and 8. (Apparently their original plan was to offer free scoops to only the people who voted, but since there seems to be a legal issue in doing so, they changed the event to an "everyone welcome" election day party, which makes it nice too for the under eighteen crowd.) Either way, if you are eighteen or older, I think you should still play by the original rules, show your patriotism, and vote! (This Google map makes it easy to find out where you vote this coming Tuesday, so no "I didn't know where my poling place was" excuses!)

As American as apple pie? We think not. As American as ice cream.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Guest Blog: Beijing Black Sesame

What is the ice cream experience like abroad? We have Japanese Ice Cream and Ice Cream Ireland to tell us something about it, but it's always nice when our traveling friends taste ice cream in different countries and tell of their experiences. Husband was in China last week on business, and he graciously bought ice cream at the Beijing Airport and wrote us a guest posting. If you have international ice cream stories to tell, please do tell -- we'd love to share your story.

I was walking through Beijing International Terminal 2, debating if I had bought enough souvenirs for my awesome, sexy wife when I noticed this:

I didn't have much room in my luggage, but I did have room in my stomach, so I figured I could try bringing back an ice cream post from China. Plus, if I load it up with enough compliments about Bethany and her incredibly smart and talented partner, Tina, they'd post anything.

First off China does a few things right and service is one of them. In the USA, this little stand would have been staffed by one unhappy teenager trying to avoid looking at you. Customers = work, right? This stand had two enthusiastic women scanning the crowds. The guys at the right were just standing around looking at some lights on the wall, my guess is that they were monitoring the delicate ice cream computers. At this point, I've wandered a bit closer so that both women are smiling, waving, and trying to offer me samples. I start scannng the case and they hand me a tasting spoon of coffee ice cream, easily one of my favorite flavors ever that I didn't even see in the case yet. How did they do that? There must be an ancient Chinese art of flavor identification.

The coffee was pretty good, but I could get that anywhere. I kept looking in the case and something else caught my eye in the back corner. Black sesame. Now if any of you know my dazzling wife, you'll know the only type of sesame she ever liked was the street, and even then she would have reminded you how much she doesn't like the seeds. Bethany wasn't here, so I bought the smallest size of black sesame for 25 RMB, thanked them in my nonexistent Chinese and walked away.

Ok, now take some time to look at this picture very closely and you'll see something very unfortunate:

Got it?
That's right.
Seat 44L, which is soon to be one crappy seat in the back corner on a 14-hour flight to Newark.

The ice cream. Now I am notoriously bad at identifying Bethany's archnemesis of seeds, which is probably why I had no idea what this tasted like. It had a great texture, but then this other flavor kicked in and stayed. I think the best part was the blue-grey color, which I hadn't seen since I tried squid ink ice cream with a friend in Hokkaido. That had decidedly more color than taste. This has decidely more taste than color, and I also wasn't too happy with where this taste wanted me to go. It was like my poor little taste buds had just gotten into some sketchy van.

Anyway, the taste let up when I finished the cup, which was good news since it was going to be a while before I'd get on the plane and the food cart would make it all the way back to 44L. The ladies probably knew me better than I did; next time I'll stick with the coffee. All of the other flavors in the case had been pretty common, with some green tea ice cream thrown in to round out the Asian experience. The next time I'm in this terminal I think I'll get one of those other flavors, unless they come up with another color that looks like it shouldn't be ice cream.

Disclaimer: Despite the lovely things said about both Tina and me, we had nothing to do with the content of this posting and, though accurate, we did not edit this piece to make ourselves look better!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ice Cream on a Bag

It's been a while since I have done a product collection and recently I was thinking about ice cream bags. No, not something you can carry your ice cream in (what a mess!) but something printed with an ice cream motif, allowing you to share with the world how much you LOVE ice cream.

Tina picked up an ab fab ice cram bag as a gift for me a while back at Target. It is one of my favorites for numerous reasons: 1. It's from a dear friend, 2. It has ice cream on it, 3. It is adorable and unique, and 4. The fabulous story that goes with it...

Here's the story...I was at Costco one day and saw this girl carrying this adorable ice cream cone bag. I fell in love and just had to have it. Little problem though. I hate to go up to random strangers. So I didn't. I never knew where she got it. A couple of weeks later, I met Tina for lunch. It was around the time of my birthday and she had gotten me a gift (too sweet, Tina! -- no pun intended...) and the gift included adorable ice cream magnets, a great ice cream recipe book, and THE bag!

Target carries some awfully cute stuff, but if you want to be a little more unique, our friends at Etsy have some adorable handmade ice cream bags.

Katie at Tacky Top Hat (or as I first read it, Tacky To Phat based on her esty name, has adorable handpainted ice cream bags for sale at her store. With this little smiling ice cream cone, what could make one happier? Oh, maybe the rainbow striped lining could be the cherry on top...

Aidan of Bubbledog has a chic Soft Serve Ice Cream Trio Tote Bag Purse. When it comes to ice cream, three is never a crowd...This bag has a great polkadot pattern with three (chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, of course) appliqued ice cream cones. It is fully lined and also has a pocket. Oh, and if you are looking for something to carry inside the bag, try Aidan's Neopolitan Ice Cream Inspired Zippered Pouch, also lined with an adorable polkadot print and a steal at only $12.

Fellow Massachusettsian, sohokitten, has totally won my heart with a screenprinted bunny in an ice cream cone bag. Four things close to my heart: ice cream, bags, screenprinting, and bunnies (ok, well, I like bunnies, but I don't know if they belong on the "close to my heart" list normally, but when added to the above equation, I think they count! This machine washable, 10" x 10.5" bag is perfect for carrying around your, wallet, keys, and your list of local ice cream spots.

Sundae lovers rejoice...cones aside, across the sea in the UK, Megan at Mr.PS screenprinted this wonderful Sweet Sundae screenprint shopper tote bag. I love the simplicity of the red on cream. I just love Megan's design aesthetic...from her checkered background in the photo (the bag sits so nicely against the setting -- and it's also just such an appropriate picnic decor) to her simple but classy logo that is sewn to each bag. I do have to wonder about the name, Mr.PS...maybe we can find more out at her website...nope, but I did find her lovely blog.

I've been wanting to include the work of YeeHaw in the blog for a long time. From ice cream prints to bags, I have always been as much of a fan of their work as they seem to be about ice cream. Their cotton ditty bag featuring an pink soft serve cone and tons of character is one of many of their ice cream items that just all don't fit into this post , so look for an upcoming post featuring YeeHaw in the near future. In the meantime, get ready for the presidential election with YeeHaw's fabulous Presidential Heavy Weight Championship Match poster (also available in "Vee Pee," as YeeHaw puts it!)

Want to give one of these bags as a gift? How about putting it into Happy's Strawberry Ice Cream Gift Bag? Or not since this bag seems to work so well on it's own, it could be a gift in itself. At $8.50, this wonderfully embellished felt bag is quite a steal. Not a fan of the flavor? This bag also comes in pink with a vanilla cone.

This last one isn't quite a bag, but can carry the money so you can buy a bag or any other ice cream treats -- and it is just too good to pass up! reVisionDesign, who awesomely uses recycled items in her projects, has a Recycled Stewarts Wallet for sale at her shop. Talk about unique -- a cool concept and absolutely no two are the same.

I hope you "carry" these ideas with you for the next time you need that perfect bag.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's all in the Ice Cream Lick

For me, its in a dish with a spoon. I guess its my OCD tendencies that lead me to the dish for fear I might actually get some ice cream on my face or the fear of not being able to outlick the melting. But apparently ice cream really does taste better licked from a cone instead of spooned out of a dish. Well after these findings I may just have to think twice the next time I direct the scooper to put it in a dish.

According to Kay McMath, a sensory scientist and judge for an international Ice Cream Awards, "Flavour in ice cream is released when it's warmed in the mouth to at least body temperature."

"During licking, the tongue is coated with a thin layer of ice cream where it is more quickly warmed, and the flavour is detected by the large surface area of the taste buds present on the tongue."

"By comparison, the spoon provides insulation to keep the ice cream colder when put into the mouth. Once in the mouth the tongue pushes the ice cream to the roof of the mouth to melt before swallowing. A smaller surface area is therefore involved in warming the ice cream to release the flavours," she said.
Mrs McMath said that when licked from a cone ice cream was eaten in smaller amounts therefore the full flavour release occurred with every lick. So the longer the ice cream licking, the greater the taste and enjoyment.

Sorry to get all scientific on you but that is pretty interesting. There are definitely times when I long for a cone but I'm primarily a dish girl!

Oh and in case you are on the lick side and your wrist hurts from twisting that cone to save the drips then you might want one of these genius motorized cones. It's tagline.... "Takes a licking -- keeps ice cream from dripping!"

(Seriously the cone is the size of her head!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Recipe: Cake Batter Ice Cream

A while back we posted a recipe for a very simple but amazing cake batter recipe. We got feedback from someone who said we should be careful because cake batter is meant to be cooked, and we should be aware of the possibility of Salmonella. Though I probably should be, I am not too worried about Salmonella and I love the original recipe. However, when making ice cream for 30-40 guests, I have to say I am a little more anxious about it, so I made a very good recipe by cooking the base.

For the recipe I used the Vanilla Ice Cream #1 (Pure and Simple) from Bruce Weinstein's The Ultimate Ice Cream Book: Over 500 Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, Drinks, And More as a guide, but I changed it up a bit.

2/3 cup of sugar

2 large eggs

3/4 cup Yellow Cake Mix (though I am sure other flavors would work well too!)
1 cup skim milk
2/3 cup half and half
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Beat the sugar into the eggs until thickened and pale yellow. Add the cake mix.

Bring the milk and half and half to a simmer in a medium sauce pan. Once simmering, remove from stove and pour the milk mixture into the egg, sugar and cake mix and beat until well mixed. Pour the entire mixture back into the sauce pan, and cook over low heat while mixing constantly until the mixture thickens. The mixture may start to "bake" -- if this happens, take it off the stove immediately, and then pour through a strainer into a clean bowl. Allow the mixture to cool for a bit and add the heavy cream.

Cover and refrigerate until cool.

Freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

For an extra treat, I added rainbow sprinkles to the ice cream semi-frozen ice cream (about five minutes before I was ready to remove it from the ice cream maker.) Eat immediately or transfer to another container and freeze.

For another cake batter recipe that looks amazing, visit EB at SpiceDish.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Scream 2008

One guest gives the ice cream table a thumbs up.

Back in August I had my annual ice cream party. Since this is my one big chance to make all the ice cream I want, I usually go a little crazy, and this year was no different (the people voted and next to the winners is their ranking -- as you will notice, there were a lot of ties!):

Ice Creams
  1. adam’s sweet cream kit-kat (4)
  2. arianna’s avocado (from the Food Network)
  3. chitra’s chocolate
  4. craig’s cocoanut chip
  5. desousa’s durian fruit (found here)
  6. ernie’s cookie ‘n’ cream (4)
  7. fragolino rocks
  8. jesse’s fluffernutter (3)
  9. kevin’s peanut butter sink
  10. lambic raspberry (here's a good site)
  11. ‘lexis mahon’s lemonade meringue (2)
  12. lisa’s white chocolate cranberry cookie
  13. mom and dad’s raspberry patch
  14. patrick’s starburst jelly bean vanilla bean
  15. rackle’s vermont hippie crunch
  16. red hot sarah’s cinnamon (here's the kinda recipe from when I made this before)
  17. rosemary peach
  18. sarah and john’s candied bacon (2)
  19. scoopalicious cake batter (2)
  20. shioka’s chocolate guinness
  21. shirley, ashu’s temple
  22. steve’s duck sauce fortune cookie
  23. strawberry rhubarb (1)
  24. vanilla bean (4)
  25. veronica’s coffee cheesecake
  1. meghan and ross’s blueberry and red wine sorbet
  2. shirley, anisha’s temple sorbet
  3. snyder’s strawberry rhubarb sorbet (4)

So yes, I made 25 ice creams and 3 sorbets for a total of 28 flavors. Guests also brought some this time:
  1. dan and ashley’s garlic goodness
  2. carley's chocolatey goodness
  3. liam’s great bowl of ginger (3)
So yes, Baskin Robbins, we caught up! Our own 31 flavors!

Lisa's White Chocolate Cranberry Cookie.
Who is Lisa and what kind of name is that?

Here's what you might be wondering...the names. How were they named? There were two ways. If a guest suggested the flavor (or even better, made it themself) it was named after them. Aternatively, if a guest's name had good aliteration with a flavor, then that was grounds for personalization as well. (By the way, Lisa is a dear friend I went to college with, but I didn't really get know her until we remet on the elevator at Houghton Mifflin. She loves these cookies by King Arthur Flour, so I made it into an ice cream for her.)

Gosh, where to begin about this? My favorites? Well, I loved loved loved Snyder's Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet that I only made by accident and I don't ever ever choose sorbet over ice cream. How did I make it by accident? Well, I had to have a certain amount of pulp for the ice cream. Mine was too much and too watery, so I drained out two cups of liquid. Now WHAT am I going to do with two cups of strawberry liquid? A-ha! A lightbulb went off...sorbet! I am a sucker for Fluffernutter, Oreo and Cake Batter ice creams, so Jesse's Fluffernutter, Ernie's Oreo, and Scoopalicious Cake Batter were winners in my book.

What was I most proud of this year? Scoopalicious Cake Batter, Veronica's Coffee Cheesecake, and Rackle's Vermont Hippie Crunch. Why? Well, Veronica's Coffee Cheesecake and Rackle's Vermont Hippie Crunch I was proud of because I really had no idea where to begin with either of them, but looking through some books and combining some recipes, I was able to come up with some pretty good ice creams. If I can remember how I made them, I will be sure to post the directions. And the Cake Batter impressed me because a while back Tina made a really good Cake Batter Ice Cream but then there was some speculation from a reader about the possibility of Salmonella because of the uncooked cake batter. So I cooked it. And it still came out really well. I will for sure post this recipe because I did actually write it down! Cake Batter without the Salmonella -- who wouldn't want to remember that recipe?

Here my parents taste some ice cream.
Meghan is enjoying some in the background as well.

Surprises? I hate ginger in general, but I actually liked Liam's Ginger Ice Cream. And Sarah and John's Candied, really good! Who knew?! Thanks David Lebowitz! Not a surprise? Didn't really like DeSousa Durian Ice Cream or Ashley and Dan's Garlic Ice Cream, but I do have to shout out to cousin Dan and his girlfriend Ashley because they put in quite an effort making that ice cream knowing it might not be a big hit!

Oh, and another surprise, we went through about 700 of the 3,000 tasting spoons! I thought we'd never go through them -- at this rate it will only take about four years!

A group enjoys ice cream and conversation,
while my brother-in-law scoops away.

Whew! Guess that's the scoop. Going to try to post some of the recipes but please let me know if there are particulars you would like to see -- we'll see if I can find them, direct you to the book they were from (if I remember) or post it!

Images courtesy of Rachel Distler, Rachel Distler Photography. For more images of the ice cream soiree, please visit here.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

We've Been Featured!

We are so excited to be featured on the fabulous! They emailed us a while back, asking for an interview and finally we got our act together and answered. This is really the only "behind the scenes" look at the Scoopalicious team, so if you are interested in history, you can find your answers here! Can't believe we never thought to ask ourselves these questions to share with our lovely readers...but alas, has, so enjoy!

Here is the full interview.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Taste Testing Part II: Popsicle Shots/Breyers Free Double Churn

Unfortunately my husband isn't as creative as Bethany's with the dry ice but regardless I thought I'd take a shot and have some fun too and then dig right into the treats that Josh over at Unilever was so generous to send us. Check out Barbie...she's waiting for her prince in shining armour to come save her from the ice cream monsters.

Faced with the tough decision of what product to try I thought I'd choose one that was fun, Popsicle Shots, and the other that suited a low cal option, Breyers Free Ice Cream. I don't know about you but after way too many ice cream cones this summer (& margaritas!) I've been leaning towards the calorie conscious options lately. Not by choice really but by the forcing of the button on my jeans. Not pretty, really.

So as you saw in a past post, Bethany and I decided we'd each get a different flavor of the Popsicle Ice Cream Shots to see what these cool treats were all about. I opted for the Cookie Dough flavor and here's what they were like. Well ya know when you break a stuffed animal apart or your dog chews it open and all little foam pebbles fall out....well that's what these shots look like. Very interesting..and cool and airy. They are definitely different and not something I would spoon up if I am craving a rich scoop but something I would get for the kids or a party. I actually used them like sprinkles on my daughter's ice cream and she thought it was so fun and loved them. As Bethany stated too, they were a bit frozen so the flavor didn't come through as I had time I will let them sit for a few minutes as you should do with any ice cream. All in all...they are okay but a Mom is not the target audience for these so I think its okay they are not at the top of my list..because my three year old sure got a kick out of them.

Next in the icebox, Breyers Free Double Churn Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. So I generally will not go for a light option for the fact of if I am going to eat ice cream then go for it. But as I stated, one too many cocktails and cones this summer has led me to the low cal options(won't last long believe me). I will admit I was very skeptical about an ice cream that was Fat Free and Sugar Free. BUT wow this ice cream is super creamy and has great flavor....of course, its Breyers. Yes, it does have a little bit of that fake sweetener after taste but honestly if I hadn't seen the package I wouldn't have ever known. I would definitely buy this again. The texture of the chocolate ice cream is creamy and smooth and it offered chunks of brownie throughout that had wonderful flavor. I'll keep this one on the grocery list.

Thanks again Josh and Unilever...its was great to try new frozen treats and something I'd go back for.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

We Have A Winner!

Congratulations to EB of SpiceDish! She was chosen at random to win some Scoopalicous treats as a celebration of our hundredth post! And Happy Blogiversary to EB!

Photo by Petr Kovar on stock.xchng.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Presidential Ice Cream Debate goes on

First it was the cone vs. the dish and now its Flavor Debate 2008.

Looks like our friends over at Baskin-Robbins are jumping on the presidential trail and are offering up a couple special flavors in honor of the 08 elections and they want you to help decide who wins. Are you up for a Whirl of Change or are you more about Straight Talk Crunch? First there's Team Obama's Whirl of Change...Peanut-Nougat ice cream whirled with chunks of chocolate-covered peanut brittle and a caramel ribbon. OMG...this one got me on the first word, peanut, who doesn't love peanut butter with a caramel bonus?. And then there's Team McCain's Straight Talk Crunch....Caramel ribbon, chocolate pieces, candy red states and crunchy mixed nuts swirled into White Chocolate ice cream. Looks like trouble...caramel and chocolate.

Before the debates on Friday night, Bethany got in the
spirit by heading to her nearest Baskin-Robbins in Belmont and tried a scoop of each -- as did her friend from out of town who was visiting. Husband apparently is an ex-Pat because he didn't even try the presidental flavors and opted for Jamoca Almond Fudge. On the car ride home Friend and Bethany's conversation sounded like this: "Oh...yum! Hm, I think I like Obama better...mmm, no, I really like this McCain...mmm, maybe Obama is better...or is it McCain?..." Clearly we had a hard time deciding. In the end, it was a draw. Friend-who-shall-remain-nameless voted for McCain's Straight Talk Crunch, while Bethany had to say the peanut brittle in Obama's Whirl of Change won her over.

Cast your vote now for the next great flavor and check back in November to see if your flavor choice makes a true match. And according to Baskin-Robbins rep, Sara (thanks Sara for the treats!), the two flavors are available at all locations so you don't have to make this a blind vote...go try em out first.

And on Nov 4th make an even more important decision and Rock the vote for the next president. Because every vote counts and if you don't vote you can't make a difference.

, and P.S. If you do want to show your support on a tee for ice cream and Obama (remember, he's a hard ice cream in a cone kind of guy) can do so here...Requests for McCain? We can do that too...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Our first guest blogger says "Scream All"

Who doesn't have fond memories of that jingle coming from the ice cream truck down the street? Or the begging Mom for one more quarter (aging ourselves I know!)? We're excited to have our first guest blogger, and dear friend, share his colorful memories and the fact that he was nicknamed'd appreciate that if you knew him! Got memories? Feel free to share and thanks Steve.

I'm a baby boomer. Today when I hear the ice cream truck approaching the neighborhood I am instantly taken back to a simpler time. My childhood in the inner city.

Like Richard Pryor's classic routine, my friends would be whipped into a full blown frenzy at the sound of the bells, and start shouting at the top of our lungs. That's why my dad called the stuff "scream all."

It could be the bottom of the ninth on the sandlot, tie score, winning run on third and two out. When we heard those bells we'd drop everything and make a crazed dash for the truck. My best pal Marc nickname Meatball (I was Spaghetti) once fell and broke his arm while pursuing the Good Humor man. He got up, and in a state of euphoria continued running, bought his treat, savored it, and only then did he allow his mother to take him to the emergency room. The cast was his badge of honor that summer.

The other neighborhood truck was Uncle Sam's Ice Cream. While the Good Humor truck glistened, the driver was starched and friendly, and his ice cream fresh, Uncle Sam's was a different story. He drove a battered relic, smelt of bad whiskey, and was the Soup Nazi of scream all. His fare was covered with freezer burn. We didn't care. On one occasion a push pop from him caused me to swell up like a dirigible.

My third option was the local Carvel stand. On Mondays their summertime special was fruit salad sundaes for 99 cents. I'd plan my day around them. One at 3, another after dinner, and a third before closing.

Ice cream is like a delicious Rorschach Test. For me it will always trigger sweet memories.

Steve Steinberg, aka Spaghetti, (at left) is a Senior Vice President of Marketing at Jones Lang LaSalle, as well as an ice cream connoisseur and all around good guy.

Image of Spaghetti and Meatball courtesy of Steve Steinberg. Image of ice cream truck treats by Kevin Rosseel on MorgueFile.


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