Is Latin dead?

For many of us -- especially those sporting liberal arts degrees of some kind -- studying Latin is a fond, if sometimes painful, memory. The same can't be said for the language itself, unfortunately; despite my semester spent in the Latinate trenches just six years ago, I can only remember the barest bits of phrases (like the cheeky "Semper ubi sub ubi," which translates to "Always where under where.") For our grandparents, Latin was often a requirement. For ourselves, it was perhaps a dalliance. For the current and up-and-coming generations, according to Father Reginald Foster, one of the leading Latin scholars and the Vatican's senior Latinist, the language is in its last throes.

Even in European schools, the language isn't usually required. The major exception is Italy, of course, which mandates about four hours of Latin instruction per child per week. (That's enough to be equipped to make silly puns, like the above, but that's about it.) Important Papal announcements, like a Bishop's appointment, have for a thousand years been written in Latin on parchment -- but now those Bishops are starting to ask for translations. Father Foster believes that without Latin we miss out on important elements of history. "St Augustine thought in Latin, you can't read his text in English, it's like listening to Mozart through a jukebox," he says.

Pope Benedict is concerned, naturally -- but not concerned enough to restore the once-traditional Latin Mass. He has a better plan: Benedict plans to forgo his usual afternoon siestas and study Latin during that time, instead. Let's hope the world pays attention to his Holy schedule!

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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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