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 TIPS of THE DAY - Updated Jan 17, 2010

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Contents:   (Please click at each line to read the details)

1. What typical questions are asked at interviews to Med School?
2. How to make banana bread
3. How to prepare Bn B H
4. How to clean a greasy cooking hood
How to stop squeaky doors
6. How to use disposable razors (shavers) for a long, long time
7. How to keep your refrigerator running efficiently and lasting longer

1. What typical questions are asked at interviews to Med School?

What strengths and limitations (personal and academic) do you bring to your medical education?
Why do you want to pursue a career in medicine? What have you done to test and nurture your decision? Why not research, Pharm etc?
Aside from a medical career, is there another powerful driving force in you life?
What problems do you foresee in medical school? How do you plan to deal with them?
What drawbacks do you see in a medicine career? How will you deal with these?
What problems do you see facing medicine/healthcare today: social, economic, political & moral areas?
Can you see other careers in which you could achieve your goals or satisfy personal needs?
How do you divide your time priorities among school, family, and friends?
What skills, or subjects have you learned outside from a formal classroom setting? How did you proceed in this learning process?
What hobbies or avocations occupy your time outside of school or work?
If a course does not meet your expectations, what do you do about it?
Tell me about the happiest and most enjoyable time of your life. 
Tell me about the most difficult time of your life. How did you deal with that difficult period?
How do you cope with stress? Can you give me an example of a stressful situation in your life and how you dealt with it?
What kind of first impression do you make? How do you think other people assess your worth?
What experiences have you had which required you to work with a team of individuals? 
What difficulties did you have while working with a team and how did you resolve those difficulties? How has that prepared you for a career in medicine?
What types of jobs have you had that involved interaction with people?
Give an example of a social situation in which problems have arisen and you have had to compromise some of your beliefs.
In what situations have you worked or attended school with people of different ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds?
What type of people do you enjoy being with? What types of people irritate you the most?
What is the most rewarding experience you have had and why?
What are you most proud of in your life?
What has been your biggest accomplishment?
How do you see yourself in ten or fifteen years from now? What do you hope to contribute to the practice of medicine?
(In recounting biographical situations, [difficulties, stress, teamwork etc] relate that back to why you are right for medicine/how that has impacted your decision.)
How do you know you will be happy here? As a physician?
Talk about your clinical experiences. What did you learn?
Talk about your basic science research experience. What did you learn?
What do you look for and aspire to in the character of a physician?
What will you do if you dont get in this year?
What stresses you out? How do you deal with it?
What are your closest friends like?
What are you doing with your time now? How has that impacted your life? (especially your decision to go into medicine)
What is the most important thing you feel I should know about you?
(from an MD/interviewer)

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2. How to make banana bread

Mix (using A mixer)

1/2 cup margarine
2 cups sugar
1 tea spoon cinnamon (optional),

Add and beat  2 eggs

3 cups flour, sift with 1 1/2 tea spoons baking soda
3/4 cup sour milk (milk & vinegar) - Mix,

3 bananas
1/2 to 1 cup nuts (optional) - Mix again,

Pour into 2 rectangular bread baking trays (only 1/3 full) - make two loaves,

Bake at 350 F for 40-45 min. or until done. Check with a skewer. Enjoy!

(In memory of our friend Betty. - T&Q)

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3. How to prepare Bn B H?

Beef shanks, sold in pairs, a small piece attached to a large one,
2 pig front legs, cut into pieces (gio heo) (not essential),
A piece of pork blood, boiled separately in water (It blackens the soup if cooked with the meat - I often omit this because my children are squeamish about blood),
Sa tuoi (lemon grass) 2 bundles (washed, smash each stalk, tied in 4-bundles),
Hanh huong (shallots) the small purple kind is more fragrant, sliced thinly for frying,
Yellow onions two large ones (one peeled with roots left on to stew with the soup, the other sliced thinly for garnishing),
Rau răm sliced thinly,
Scallions sliced thinly,
Chinese parsley, chopped,
Fresh Thai chilis, sliced,
Fresh limes, cut into pieces,
Black pepper, freshly ground if possible,
Rice noodles (Bn Qu' lm hay Giang ty loai ln), cooked in a lot of boiling water, and drained,
One large tablespoon of chili powder (t m).

Preparation details:
Cut the beef into large pieces (the small muscle in two, the large in four), wash well.
Wash/clean the pig's feet.
Bring a stock pot (12 quarts or larger) of water to boil, add salt.
Put beef and gi heo in boiling water. Wait for the water to boil again and the scum to surface, then dump everything out, re-wash all the meat to remove the scum. Wash the stock pot, refill with cold water, put the meat and gi heo back in and cook over high heat until boiling. Turn down the heat, add in the whole peeled onion and the lemon grass bundles. Add salt and fish sauce to taste and let simmer for 90 minutes. Check on the gi heo often because it gets done in about 60 minutes, and needs to be taken out, while the beef takes longer. The soup should be clear, may get a light green tint from the lemon grass, remove any scum. When you remove the gi heo, start taking out the beef chunks and slicing them and put the sliced beef back into the soup. Soup is ready when sliced beef is tender to taste.

Using fresh oil, fry the sliced shallots over low heat until golden, drain excess oil from the pan and add one large table spoon of t m and toss with the fried shallots (pan should still be hot). Add the content of the pan to the soup, using a ladle add hot soup to the pan to de-glaze and pour back into the soup pot. This procedure creates the red flagrant oil sheen at the surface of the soup, with bits of floating fried shallots, typical of Bun Bo Hue. Some cooks add more dried red pepper flakes to this procedure to make the soup more spicy, but I prefer to make the soup mild and let people add fresh sliced Thai chili pepper at the end as a garnish. Some people add MSG to the soup, or a little sugar in lieu of MSG. I usually do not find this necessary for home cooking, because the meat to soup proportion is quite high so the soup is rich enough, plus the fish sauce also adds to the richness. Other cooks may add pork bones to strengthen the broth. I found this makes the broth not beefy enough, but rather porky, which detracts from the authenticity of the broth, which must taste robustly beefy, with strong lemony taste and fragrant with the fried shallots. I believe the five essential ingredients to Bn b H are beef shanks, lemon grass, fried shallots, chili powder and rau răm.

To serve:
In a large bowl, mix the sliced onion, sliced rau răm, chopped Chinese parsley and sliced scallion to create garnish. Put cooked rice noodles in medium bowl, arrange sliced beef, pig feet piece, square of boiled pork blood, add garnish, pour boiling soup stock into bowl and serve. Lime and sliced chili pepper and ground black pepper added to taste.

This is my mother's authentic recipe. Enjoy!
by Ni.m-Nhi.

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4. How to clean a greasy cooking hood:

Cooking hoods sometimes become greasy and covered with lint and dust. Cleaning it with soap and water does not usually work. If you scrub too hard, the paint would come off. The best way is to use car wax. Make sure you put away or cover all food stuff when you do this. Just apply and wipe away as if you would wax your car (use as much car wax as needed to remove the cooking grease and dust). I found it works amazingly well on any painted or baked-enamel surfaces (oven doors, for example). <TD>

5. How to stop squeaky doors:

For squeaky doors, WD40 usually works but it does not last long. You would have to keep squirting it into the hinges every so often and it would end up looking messy. In stead, sewing machine oil works very well. You need only a couple of drops every ten years or so.

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6. How to use disposable razors (shavers) for a long, long time:

The so called "disposable" razor is normally used once then thrown away. What a waste! You should be able to re-use a disposable razor again and again if you employ the following trick to keep it properly clean and dry. And it is very easy to do. 
a) Before using your razor, run water onto it, then shave normally.
b) After a few strokes, run water onto it so that hair, dead skin and oil won't plug it up too much. Repeat this until you finish shaving.
c) After the shave, clean your razor by running water spray onto the razor blade(s). The stronger the water pressure the better. Use a finger to restrict the water flowing out of the faucet to increase the water pressure spraying onto the blade(s) if necessary. Make sure hair, dead skin and oil are washed away from the blade(s).
d) Dry your razor by shaking off the water from its blade(s) and save it away for next use. Do not dry the blade(s) by wiping, and be careful not to touch the blades. Enjoy! The environmentalists will love you too!

7. How to keep your refrigerator running efficiently and lasting longer:

The back of your refrigerator is usually where dust collects; so much dust that it can look like a blanket covering the tubing grill, the compressor, and condenser.  It keeps the heat from dissipating into the air. This would make your refrigerator run harder and less efficient. In some cases, this may shorten its life.  Cleaning by vacuuming the dust away twice a year would help your refrigerator a great deal. Most refrigerators now-a-day have casters that make it easy for you pull them forward, so you can get in the back for cleaning. Just be careful so not to cause any damage to the components while you are doing this. More care should be taken for those refrigerators that have an ice-maker with water supply tubing attached. The vacuuming job can be done with the refrigerator running and power cord plugged in if you are careful. Else, you can turn the unit off and unplug its power cord before performing this procedure. You will also reduce your utility bill by doing this.  If you are not familiar with this task, ask someone to help.  <Tran N. Phuc>

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