Maize Dishes – Grits

February 22, 2015 at 6:25 AM | Posted in Maize Dishes | Leave a comment
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Grits

Grits

Grits refers to a ground-corn food of Native American origin that is common in the Southern United States and eaten mainly at breakfast. Modern grits are commonly made of alkali-treated corn known as hominy.

Grits are similar to other thick maize-based porridges from around the world such as polenta. “Instant grits” have been processed to speed cooking.

The word “grits” derives from the Old English word “grytt,” meaning coarse meal. This word originally referred to wheat and other porridges now known as groats in parts of the UK. Maize, unknown in Europe in the Middle Ages, is a food derived from corn. (In U.S. English, corn is a specific New World plant; however, “corn” is used generically to describe cereal grains in the U.K. and in many European regions.) “Grits” may be either singular or plural. Historically, in the American South the word was invariably singular notwithstanding its plural form (cf. food names such as “spaghetti” or “linguine”, also plural in form).

 

 

 

Grits with cheese, bacon, green onion and poached egg

Grits with cheese, bacon, green onion and poached egg

Grits have their origin in Native American corn preparation. Traditionally, the hominy for grits was ground on a stone mill. The ground hominy is then passed through screens, the finer sifted material used as grit meal, and the coarser as grits. Many American communities used a gristmill until the mid-twentieth century, farmers bringing their corn to be ground, and the miller keeping a portion as his fee. State law in South Carolina, requires grits and corn meal to be enriched, similar to the requirement for flour, unless the grits are made from the corn a miller kept as his fee.

Three-quarters of grits sold in the U.S. are bought in the South, in an area stretching from Texas to Virginia that is sometimes called the “grits belt”. The state of Georgia declared grits its official prepared food in 2002. Similar bills have been introduced in South Carolina, with one declaring:

Whereas, throughout its history, the South has relished its grits, making them a symbol of its diet, its customs, its humor, and its hospitality, and whereas, every community in the State of South Carolina used to be the site of a grits mill and every local economy in the State used to be dependent on its product; and whereas, grits has been a part of the life of every South Carolinian of whatever race, background, gender, and income; and whereas, grits could very well play a vital role in the future of not only this State, but also the world, if as Charleston’s The Post and Courier proclaimed in 1952, “An inexpensive, simple, and thoroughly digestible food, grits should be made popular throughout the world. Given enough of it, the inhabitants of planet Earth would have nothing to fight about. A man full of grits is a man of peace.”

In the South Carolina Low Country, the uncooked ground corn is known as “grist”, and the cooked dish is “hominy”. This is distinct from the usual use of the term hominy.

 

 

 

 

Grits are either yellow or white, depending on the color of corn. The most common version in supermarkets is “quick” grits, which have the germ and hull removed. Whole kernel grits are sometimes called “Speckled”. Grits are prepared by boiling the ground kernels into a porridge until enough water has been absorbed or vaporized to leave it semi-solid.

 

 

 
Whole kernel grits are prepared by adding five or six parts boiling water (seasoned with salt – 1/4 tsp for each cup of water) to one part grits and cooking for 20 to 30 minutes. Grits expand when cooked and need periodic stirring to prevent sticking and lumps forming. Grits are most typically served seasoned with salt and pepper, as well as generous amounts of butter. On occasion they are served with grated cheese, sausage, bacon, or red-eye gravy. Grits may also be seasoned with butter and sugar, and a small amount of salt, giving them a salty-sweet flavor similar to kettlecorn.

 

 

 

 

Prepared grits

Prepared grits

Although usually eaten with eggs and bacon, grits may also accompany fried catfish or salmon croquettes.

Shrimp and grits is a traditional dish in the Low Country of coastal Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. It is a traditional breakfast dish.

“Charleston-style grits” are boiled in milk instead of water, giving them a creamy consistency.

Solidified cooked grits may be sliced and fried directly in vegetable oil, butter, or bacon grease, or they may first be breaded in beaten egg and bread crumbs.

 

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Maize Dishes – Cornbread

February 15, 2015 at 6:27 AM | Posted in Maize Dishes | Leave a comment
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Skillet cornbread

Skillet cornbread

Native Americans were using ground corn (maize) for food thousands of years before European explorers arrived in the New World. European settlers, especially those who resided in the southern English colonies, learned the original recipes and processes for corn dishes from the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek, and soon they devised recipes for using cornmeal in breads similar to those made of grains available in Europe. Cornbread has been called a “cornerstone” of Southern United States cuisine. Cornmeal is produced by grinding dry raw corn grains. A coarser meal (compare flour) made from corn is grits. Grits are produced by soaking raw corn grains in hot water containing calcium hydroxide (the alkaline salt), which loosens the grain hulls (bran) and increases the nutritional value of the product (by increasing available niacin and available amino acids). These are separated by washing and flotation in water, and the now softened slightly swelled grains are called hominy. Hominy, posole in Spanish, also is ground into masa harina for tamales and tortillas). This ancient Native American technology has been named nixtamalization. Besides cornbread, Native Americans used corn to make numerous other dishes from the familiar hominy grits to alcoholic beverages (such as Andean chicha). Cornbread was popular during the American Civil War because it was very cheap and could be made in many different forms—high-rising, fluffy loaves or simply fried (as unleavened pone, corn fritters, hoecakes, etc.)

 

 

Types of cornbread

Cornbread, prepared as a muffin

Cornbread, prepared as a muffin

Cornbread is a popular item in soul food enjoyed by many people for its texture and aroma. Cornbread can be baked, fried or, rarely, steamed. Steamed cornbread is mushy, chewier and more like cornmeal pudding than what most consider to be traditional cornbread. Cornbread can also be baked into corn cakes.

Baked cornbread
Cornbread is a common bread in United States cuisine, particularly associated with the South and Southwest, as well as being a traditional staple for populations where wheat flour was more expensive. In some parts of the South it is crumbled into a glass of cold milk or buttermilk and eaten with a spoon, and it is also widely eaten with barbecue and chili con carne. In parts of the southern and southwestern United States, cornbread, accompanied by pinto beans, has been a common lunch for many people. It is still a common side dish, often served with homemade butter, chunks of onion or scallions. Cornbread crumbs are also used in some poultry stuffings; cornbread stuffing is particularly associated with Thanksgiving turkeys.

In the United States, northern and southern cornbread are different because they generally use different types of corn meal and varying degrees of sugar and eggs. Southern cornbread has traditionally been made with little or no sugar and smaller amounts flour or no flour, with northern cornbread being sweeter and more cakelike. Southern cornbread traditionally used white cornmeal and buttermilk. Other ingredients such as pork rinds are sometimes used. Cornbread is occasionally crumbled and served with cold milk or clabber (buttermilk), similar to cold cereal. In Texas, the Mexican influence has spawned a hearty cornbread made with fresh or creamed corn kernels and jalapeño peppers and topped with shredded cheese.

Skillet-fried or skillet-baked cornbread (often simply called skillet bread or hoecake depending on the container in which it is cooked) is a traditional staple in the rural United States, especially in the South. This involves heating bacon drippings, lard or other oil in a heavy, well-seasoned cast iron skillet in an oven, and then pouring a batter made from cornmeal, egg, and milk directly into the hot grease. The mixture is returned to the oven to bake into a large, crumbly and sometimes very moist cake with a crunchy crust. This bread tends to be dense and is usually served as an accompaniment rather than as a bread served as a regular course. In addition to the skillet method, such cornbread also may be made in sticks, muffins, or loaves.

A slightly different variety, cooked in a simple baking dish, is associated with northern U.S. cuisine; it tends to be sweeter and lighter than southern-style cornbread; the batter for northern-style cornbread is very similar to and sometimes interchangeable with that of a corn muffin. A typical contemporary northern U.S. cornbread recipe contains half wheat flour, half cornmeal, milk or buttermilk, eggs, leavening agent, salt, and usually sugar, resulting in a bread that is somewhat lighter and sweeter than the traditional southern version. In the border states and parts of the Upper South, a cross between the two traditions is known as “light cornbread.”

Unlike fried variants of cornbread, baked cornbread is a quick bread that is dependent on an egg-based protein matrix for its structure (though the addition of wheat flour adds gluten to increase its cohesiveness). The baking process gelatinizes the starch in the cornmeal, but still often leaves some hard starch to give the finished product a distinctive sandiness not typical of breads made from other grains.
Corn pone
Corn pone (sometimes referred to as “Indian pone”) is a type of cornbread made from a thick, malleable cornmeal dough (which is usually egg-less and milk-less) and baked in a specific type of iron pan over an open fire (such as a frontiersman would use), using butter, margarine, Crisco (shortening), or cooking oil. Corn pones have been a staple of Southern U.S. cuisine, and have been discussed by many American writers, including Mark Twain.

In the Appalachian Mountains, cornbread baked in a round iron skillet, or in a cake pan of any shape, is still referred to as a “pone” of cornbread (as opposed to “hoe cakes,” the term for cornbread fried in pancake style); and when biscuit dough (i.e., “biscuits” in the American sense of the word) is occasionally baked in one large cake rather than as separate biscuits, this is called a “biscuit pone.”

The term “corn pone” is sometimes used derogatorily to refer to one who possesses certain rural, unsophisticated peculiarities (“he’s a corn pone”), or as an adjective to describe particular rural, folksy or “hick” characteristics (e.g., “corn pone” humor). This pejorative term often is directed at persons from rural areas of the southern and midwestern US. A character in the Lil’ Abner comic strip, General Jubilation T Cornpone, was a mythical Civil War general from Dogpatch known for his retreats and imputed cowardice. President John F. Kennedy’s staffers, who were mostly Northeastern Ivy League elites, openly mocked Texan Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson’s rural speech patterns, referring to Johnson behind his back as ‘Uncle Cornpone’ or ‘Rufus Cornpone’.

Home baked cornbread made with blue cornmeal

Home baked cornbread made with blue cornmeal

Hot water cornbread
Cooked on a rangetop, one frying method involves pouring a small amount of liquid batter made with boiling water and self-rising cornmeal (cornmeal with soda or some other chemical leavener added) into a skillet of hot oil, and allowing the crust to turn golden and crunchy while the center of the batter cooks into a crumbly, mushy bread. These small (3-4″ diameter) fried breads are soft and very rich. Sometimes, to ensure the consistency of the bread, a small amount of wheat flour is added to the batter. This type of cornbread is often known as “hot water” or “scald meal” cornbread and is unique to the American South.

Johnnycakes
Pouring a batter similar to that of skillet-fried cornbread, but slightly thinner, into hot grease atop a griddle or a skillet produces a pancake-like bread called a johnnycake. This type of cornbread is prevalent in New England, particularly in Rhode Island, and also in the American Midwest and the American South. It is reminiscent of the term hoecake, used in the American South for fried cornbread pancakes, which may date back to stories about some people on the frontier making cornbread patties on the blade of a hoe.

Hushpuppies
A thicker buttermilk-based batter that is deep-fried rather than pan-fried, forms the hushpuppy, a common accompaniment to fried fish and other seafood in the South. Hushpuppy recipes vary from state to state, some including onion seasoning, chopped onions, beer, or jalapeños. Fried properly, the hushpuppy will be moist and yellow or white on the inside, while crunchy and light to medium-dark golden brown on the outside.

 

Maize Dishes – Corn Soup

February 8, 2015 at 6:41 AM | Posted in Maize Dishes | Leave a comment
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Corn soup

Corn soup

Corn soup is a soup traditionally made of corn (typically sweetcorn) It was normally made in corn-producing areas of the world, but is now widespread because of greater corn distribution. The basic recipe is some type of soup base with corn added followed by whatever ingredients give it its distinct style. Typically ingredients are corn cut from the cob, water, butter, some flour, an egg, with salt and pepper for seasoning — this varies by region.

 
Corn, being a staple crop for many Native American tribes has led to corn soup being a primary food among them. M. R. Harrington reported that 1908 hulled-corn soup onno’kwǎ’ was the most popular dish for the Seneca Indians. He also stated, “seldom do the Indians, pagan or Christian, meet for any function … without a kettle of onno’kwǎ’, hot and savory, to regale the crowd”. The soup was served at religious events, the people getting a laddle full every time they encircled the kettle.
Several types of soups are prepared using corn as a primary ingredient.

 

* Cream of corn soup and creamed corn soup
* Sweet corn soup
* Corn crab soup
* Chinese sweet corn soup (yumigeng or sumigeng)
* Dried (Indian) corn soup
* Mexican corn soup
* Tibetan style corn soup (Ashom Tang)

 

Maize Dishes – Corn Dogs

February 1, 2015 at 6:40 AM | Posted in Maize Dishes | 2 Comments
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A corn dog is a hot dog sausage coated in a thick layer of cornmeal batter.

Corn dog on stick

Corn dog on stick

Corn dogs are often served as street food or as fast food. Some vendors or restaurateurs dip and fry their dogs just before serving. Corn dogs can also be found at almost any supermarket in North America as frozen food that can be heated and served. Some corn dog purveyors sell these premade frozen corn dogs which have been thawed and then fried again or browned in an oven. Premade frozen corn dogs can also be heated in a microwave oven, but the cornbread coating will lack texture. Corn dogs may be eaten plain or with a variety of condiments, with mustard being the most popular.

 

A variation is prepared with either melted cheese between the hot dog and the breading or the hot dog is replaced with a cheese-filled hot dog.

Another version is the “cornbrat” (or “corn brat”), which is a corn dog made with bratwurst instead of a wiener or hot dog. They are also sold in varieties of different hot dogs such as pork and turkey.

 

Small corn dogs, known as “corn puppies,” “mini corn dogs,” or “corn dog nuggets,” are a variation served in some

restaurants, generally on the children’s menu or at fast food establishments. A serving includes multiple pieces, usually 10. In contrast to their larger counterparts, corn puppies are normally served stickless as finger food.

A breakfast version features a breakfast sausage in place of the hot dog, and pancake batter in place of the cornmeal. This variation is commonly called a “pancake on a stick”. It was formerly served by drive-in restaurant Sonic®, but now is made by companies like Jimmy Dean®.

 

Corn dog with mustard

Corn dog with mustard

Both vegetarian corn dogs and corn dog nuggets are made as meatless alternatives by many of the same companies that produce vegetarian hot dogs.

 

National Corndog Day is a celebration of the corn dog, tater tots, and American beer that occurs on the first Saturday of March of every year.

 

Maize Dishes – Champurrado and Corn Crab Soup

January 25, 2015 at 6:31 AM | Posted in Maize Dishes | Leave a comment
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Champurrado

Hot bowl of champurrado as served at a Mexican breakfast

Hot bowl of champurrado as served at a Mexican breakfast

Champurrado is a chocolate-based atole, a warm and thick Mexican drink, prepared with either masa de maíz (lime-treated-corn dough), masa harina (a dried version of this dough), or corn flour (simply very finely ground dried corn, especially local varieties grown for atole); panela; water or milk; and occasionally containing cinnamon, anise seed and or vanilla. Ground nuts, orange zest, and egg can also be employed to thicken and enrich the drink. Atole drinks are whipped up using a wooden whisk called a molinillo (or, a blender). The whisk is rolled between the palms of the hands, then moved back and forth in the mixture until it is aerated and frothy.

Champurrado is traditionally served with churros in the morning as a simple breakfast or as a late afternoon snack. Champurrado is also very popular during Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead in Spanish) and at Las Posadas (the Christmas Season) where it is served alongside tamales. An instant mix for champurrado is available in Mexican grocery stores. Champurrado may also be made with alcohol.

 

Crab Soup

Corn crab soup

Corn crab soup

Corn crab soup is a dish found in Chinese cuisine, American Chinese cuisine, and Canadian Chinese cuisine. The soup is actually cream of corn soup with egg white and crab meat or imitation crab meat added. It is most likely of southern Chinese origin.
The soup may also be called crab meat and corn soup, sweet corn soup with crab meat, corn soup with crab meat, crab meat with sweet corn soup, or crab meat cream corn soup.

 
This soup is found in Chinese restaurants in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and some Southeast Asian nations such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. It is particularly popular in Hakka-speaking regions of southern China and Taiwan. It is also popular in Chinese takeout restaurants in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. In the Philippines it is called sopang mais.

The soup may be derived from tofu-crab soup, a soup also found in restaurants in North America.

 

Maize Dishes – Battered Sausage and Cachapa

January 18, 2015 at 6:42 AM | Posted in Maize Dishes | Leave a comment
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1 – Battered Sausage

A battered sausage, sliced in half after cooking

A battered sausage, sliced in half after cooking

Battered sausages are a type of cuisine, found all across the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, They are similar in concept to a corn dog (a hot dog sausage coated in a thick layer of cornmeal batter) but normally are not served on a stick. In Australia, it may be referred to as a sav in batter (savaloy is a type of sausage). This may also have given rise to the local expression “fair suck of the sav”. In New Zealand, they can be found either with or without a stick inserted (similar to a corn dog). If served with the stick, it is referred to as a hot dog and usually dipped in a generous amount of tomato sauce and consumed immediately. In Australia, this variant may also be referred to as a Pluto Pop or a Dagwood Dog. They consist of a pork sausage dipped in batter (usually the same batter used to batter fish, as they are primarily sold from fish and chip shops), and usually served with chips.

There are 750 calories in a typical battered sausage and chips, but this varies greatly.

 

2 – Cachapa

Cachapa

Cachapa

Cachapas are a traditional Venezuelan and Colombian dish made from corn. Like arepas, they are popular at roadside stands. They can be made like pancakes of fresh corn dough, or wrapped in dry corn leaves and boiled (cachapa de hoja). The most common varieties are made with fresh ground corn mixed into a thick batter and cooked on a budare, like pancakes; the cachapa is slightly thicker and lumpier because of the pieces from corn kernels.

Cachapas are traditionally eaten with Queso de Mano (hand[made] cheese), a soft, mozzarella-like cheese, and occasionally with fried pork chicharrón on the side. Cachapas can be very elaborate, some including different kinds of cheese, milky cream, or jam. They can be prepared as an appetizer, generally with margarine, or as a full breakfast with hand cheese and fried pork.

In Costa Rica, chorreadas are similar.

 

Maize Dishes

January 4, 2015 at 8:03 AM | Posted in Maize Dishes | Leave a comment
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I came across a section on WIKI that has a listing of maize dishes, in which maize (also known as corn) is used as a primary ingredient. Additionally, some foods and beverages that are prepared with maize are listed. I had no clue that there was so many maize dishes. So in the upcoming weeks and months I’ll be posting all the various dishes. There are quite a few I’ve never heard of which makes it even more interesting, so I hope you enjoy them!

 

 

 

Maize Dishe – Arepa

Cheese-filled arepa

Cheese-filled arepa

Arepa (Spanish pronunciation: [aˈɾepa]) is a flatbread made of ground maize dough or cooked flour prominent in the cuisine of Colombia and Venezuela. It is eaten daily in those countries and can be served with various accompaniments such as cheese (cuajada), avocado, or (especially in Venezuela) split and used to make sandwiches. Various sizes, maize types, and added ingredients are used to vary its preparation. It is similar in shape to the Mexican gordita and the Salvadoran pupusa. Arepas can also be found in Panama, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the Canary Islands.

 

 

 

The arepa is a flat, round, unleavened patty made of soaked, ground kernels of maize, or—more frequently nowadays—maizemeal or maize flour which can be grilled, baked, fried, boiled or steamed, etc. The characteristics vary by color, flavor, size, and the food with which it may be stuffed, depending on the region. Arepa is a native sort of bread made of ground maize (or flour), water, and salt which is fried or grilled into a thick bread. It can be topped or filled with meat, eggs, tomatoes, salad, cheese, shrimp, or fish depending on the meal. Breakfast egg or cheese are the most common arepa fillings. There are several recipes for fillings.

 

 

 

The dough can be prepared two ways. The traditional, labor-intensive method requires the maize grains to be soaked, then peeled and ground in a large mortar known as a pilón. The pounding removes the pericarp and the seed germ, as only the endosperm of the maize seed is used to make the dough. The resulting mixture, known as mortared maize, or maíz pilado, was normally sold as dry grain to be boiled and ground into dough.

The most popular method today is to buy cooked arepa maizemeal or flour. The flour is mixed with water and salt, and occasionally oil, butter, eggs, and/or milk. Because the flour is already cooked, the blend forms into patties easily. After being kneaded and formed, the patties are fried, grilled, or baked. This production of maize is unusual for not using the nixtamalization, or alkali cooking process, to remove the pericarp of the maize kernels. Arepa flour is lower in nutritive value than nixtamal, with its niacin value reduced by half.

 

 

Tostyarepa

Tostyarepa

 

Arepa flour is specially prepared (cooked in water, then dried) for making arepas and other maize dough-based dishes, such as hallacas, bollos, tamales, empanadas and chicha. The most popular brand names of maize flour are Harina PAN in Venezuela and Areparina in Colombia. Arepa flour is usually made from white maize, but yellow maize varieties are available. Arepa flour was first developed and produced by Empresas Polar of Venezuela, owner of the PAN brand and the primary distributor in the country.

 

 

 

In Venezuela, various kitchen appliance companies sell appliances such as the Tostyarepa and Miallegro’s MiArepa, similar to a waffle iron, which cook arepas using two hot metallic surfaces clamped with the raw dough inside. In Venezuela, the arepa is traditionally grilled on a budare, which is a flat, originally nonmetallic surface which may or may not have a handle. Nowadays, it is common to follow the grilling process that forms a crust, known as a concha, with 20 to 25 minutes of cooking at high heat in an oven. Electric arepa makers reduce cooking time from 15 to 25 minutes per side to seven minutes or less.

 

 

 

The predecessor of the arepa was a staple of the Timoto-cuicas, an Amerindian group that lived in the northern Andes of Venezuela. Other Amerindian tribes in the region, such as the Arawaks and the Caribs, widely consumed a form known as casabe made from cassava (yuca). With the colonization by the Spanish, the food that would become the arepa was diffused into the rest of the region, known then as Viceroyalty of New Granada and later became La Gran Colombia (Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama) at the time of Independence.

The term arepa comes from the word “erepa” which means corn bread in the language of the Indigenous people of Venezuela and Colombia.

Venezuelans view the arepa as a traditional national food with diverse local recipes.

 

 

Colombian arepas: choclo (front) and quesito (back)

Colombian arepas: choclo (front) and quesito (back)

In Colombia, the arepuela is similar to the traditional arepa. It is made with wheat flour and sometimes anise, and when fried, the layers expand and the arepuela inflates, similar to miniature tortillas or pancakes. This is very common in the interior of Colombia. In the north, bollos are popular for breakfast and made with the same dough as an arepa, but boiled rather than fried, giving them a texture similar to matzo balls or Czech bread dumplings.

In Costa Rica, Arepas can be made from batter, and may be similar to pancakes. There are at least two sorts, the “pancake” arepa, which is made with baking powder, and the “big flat” arepa, which is made without baking powder. These big flat arepas are, in size, like the big tortillas one finds in Guanacaste (northern Costa Rica), (i.e. some twelve inches in diameter) and are made of white flour and are sugary. Once perfectly cooked, they should resemble a “giraffe skin”, or a “jaguar skin” (i.e., white/yellowish with brown spots).

In Mexico, Gorditas are a similar fried dish, but are different from tortillas.

In Puerto Rico, arepas are made with maize meal, coconut milk, lard, butter, flour, and baking powder. Preparation and cooking varies according to city and family tradition.

In El Salvador, Pupusas are similar flat cakes, but the most important difference is the traditional dough is made from nixtamal. It is also filled before it is cooked, usually some pork, white cheese or black beans. Other stypes of pupusas are now made from rice dough, particularly in the town called Olocuilta in the department of La Paz. There are also some newer versions of the dish based on plantain dough.

 

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