History of the World: A History of Playing Cards

cardWe can't say for sure exactly where playing cards came from, but lost of historians think the Chinese probably came up with them. How they spread from China to Europe and the rest of the world is another mystery - one theory says Marco Polo brought them back in the 13th century from the court of Kublai Khan. Others think they were brought back from India or the Middle East by Crusaders or maybe even gypsies.
What we do know for sure is that they used to be a really big deal. The first decks were hand-painted and quite pricey. By the 14th century, woodcut techniques developed and it was easier to mass-produce decks of cards, making them more accessible to people who weren't wealthy merchants or members of royal courts. Decks from the Mamelukes of Egypt were adorned with swords, polo sticks, cups and coins (sounds a lot like tarot cards). The French gave us the suites we typically use today - hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds. Americans added the joker to the deck in the 18th century.

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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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