The Sobol Award

If you haven't heard of it, that's about to change. Arguably the hottest news event in the literary world, the Sobol Award, like other literary awards, will be given out to a bunch of different authors this year "“ the difference here being that unlike the Pulitzer Prize or the National Book Award, the winners of the Sobol Award will be unpublished novelists who will have coughed up $85 big ones (gasp) to enter a contest (double-gasp).

Part of the reason why this award/contest is being discussed all over the web right now is because the literary agency that is sponsoring it doesn't seem to have much of a track record. Many see this as a quick way for them to not only get a lot of attention, but also rake it in (some have estimated that the firm stands to net several million dollars, even after paying out the cash prizes -- top prize is $100,000).

Of course on the other side of the page is this: you probably spend more than $85 a month on your cable TV package, so why not take the chance and submit that novel you've had sitting on the shelf forever, even if it means missing a few episodes of Lost? Heck, I know people who spend more than $85 a month on lotto tickets!

So if you're interested in entering, or just plain old curious, contest information can be found at SobolAward.com. And for some of the nastier (yet funny!) responses to this contest, check out all the comments on MissSnark.com, a literary agent's website.

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The Simple Way to Reheat Your French Fries and Not Have Them Turn Into a Soggy Mess
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Some restaurant dishes are made to be doggy-bagged and reheated in the microwave the next day. Not French fries: The more crispy and delectable they are when they first arrive on your table, the more of a soggy disappointment they’ll be when you try to revive them at home. But as The Kitchn recently shared, there’s a secret to making leftover fries you’ll actually enjoy eating.

The key is to avoid the microwave altogether. Much of the appeal of fries comes from their crunchy, golden-brown exterior and their creamy potato center. This texture contrast is achieved by deep-frying, and all it takes is a few rotations around a microwave to melt it away. As the fries heat up, they create moisture, transforming all those lovely crispy parts into a flabby mess.

If you want your fries to maintain their crunch, you need to recreate the conditions they were cooked in initially. Set a large pan filled with about 2 tablespoons of oil for every 1 cup of fries you want to cook over medium-high heat. When you see the oil start to shimmer, add the fries in a single layer. After about a minute, flip them over and allow them to cook for half a minute to a minute longer.

By heating up fries with oil in a skillet, you produce something called the Maillard Reaction: This happens when high heat transforms proteins and sugars in food, creating the browning effect that gives fried foods their sought-after color, texture, and taste.

After your fries are nice and crisp, pull them out of the pan with tongs or a spatula, set them on a paper towel to absorb excess oil, and sprinkle them with salt. Now all you need is a perfect burger to feel like you’re eating a restaurant-quality meal at home.

[h/t The Kitchn]

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Bone Collector
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