Who's watching 'The War'?

Hey, is anybody watching Ken Burns' new 14-hour documentary, The War? So far as I can tell, exactly zero of my film school friends are, even though it's ostensibly the best (or one of the best) works by the best (or one of our best) documentary filmmakers. (That may have something to do with the time commitment involved, but that's what Tivos are for, right?) I'm just one episode behind so far, and am loving it: it's a history of the war from the soldier's perspective, not the generals' or the politicians', and Burns' overarching thesis -- that there are "no good wars, only necessary ones," as one of his interviewees muses -- really shines through.

I'm also probably a little biased: my friend Sarah produced the film, so for a few years now I've been hearing about the tribulations they underwent to get their hands on all this rarely- or never-seen footage: digging deep inside military archives; spending weeks at the Library of Congress; negotiating with German archivists for the use of their war footage (and getting royally overcharged for it).

Needless to say, the result is World War II as you've never seen it, and I can say for my part, at least, that I've come to realize just how alien the concept of "total war" is to me and probably many people my age: to paraphrase one War veteran, it's a profound and lonely feeling you get when, as a soldier coming from a society that emphasizes individual rights and freedoms as ours does, to realize in your icy foxhole in the dark of night, that your life is expendable. How many non-veterans can say they've felt that?

In case you've missed the whole darn thing (the series ends this week but will be re-run forever, I'm sure), here's a 27-minute preview. See if it doesn't hook you right away.

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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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