Orphaned cats and their perplexing toys

I'm going to go ahead and use of my personal quota (1) of cat posts. First off, this post is much indebted to Higgins' classic borrowed cat post. Secondly, I'm not a cat person. Cats are far too human, i.e. moody, for me to pursue them in addition to human companions. Cats sense this about me, and thus we tolerate each other; perhaps occasionally (some stormy night after a glass too many of Chambord), you'll find us curled up on the couch together: me guilty, watchful, the cat practically rolling its eyes. So that's my deal with cats.

That said, last spring my roommate and I offered to take in, for a brief though unspecified amount of time, the very personable cat of some friends who were moving cross-country. It's not that we never heard from them again, exactly, but let's just say they were veritably reabsorbed into the happy, protean world of pre-cat-ownership.

I saw them once, months later, in their new city, and when I broached the "so um when are you going to be picking up your cat?" question, one of them went mute and began strumming his guitar, and the other hyperventilated through choked-back tears. We just want what's best for...[redacted]. They wanted what's best for the cat.

ewNeedless to say, he's still with us. It'll be a year this spring. So to make the best of it, my roommate and I sometimes construct a little Feline Six Flags for him, and sometimes we just place him in appetizer bowls (pictured).

He tolerates and even indulges most efforts to engage him in folly, but what he loves most of all is a good combat session with a NAIL FILE. Yes, a nail file. The bigger the better. He greets nail files the way humans greet a nice fat IRS refund. He cannot get enough of the thing--he'd at once like to be filed by it, demolish it, make love to it, devour it, and in any other way experience & exploit its essence. So that's my cat post. And now, ineluctably, I'm going to ask you fine people: is he deranged? is he special? was he a nail technician in a past life? Do your cats eschew all the goodly toys of the manufactured-just-for-cats world and obsess over human vanity tools? (And alternately, you know, have people ever left you--as in, really left you--with their pets?)

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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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