Ari Shapiro

This is a big weekend for matzo ball soup.

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, starts Sunday night, and chef Pati Jinich wants all the matzo-ball makers out there to understand: The soup doesn't care whether you prefer floaters or sinkers.

"It turns out that matzo balls are insanely capricious," Jinich says. "One Friday, they're like, you can have me fluffy. And the other week is like, this is what you'll get."

Sometimes the world can feel a bit uniform: the same department stores in every shopping mall, the same fast food chains on every corner. The website Atlas Obscura will make you reconsider that sense of monotony.

"The world is still this huge, bizarre, vast place filled with astounding stuff," says co-founder Dylan Thuras. "And if you sort of tilt your view a little bit and start looking for it, you start finding it everywhere."

The building rises — bronze and "brooding," in the words of architect David Adjaye — floating in a sea of white marble and limestone on the sprawling National Mall in Washington, D.C.

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Evelyn and Grattan Betancourt bought their "forever" home in 1986. It's two-stories tall, with a brick front and a wide lawn. Some evenings, deer come out of the woods and linger in their yard.

"This was our first, and it'll be our only home," says Evelyn.

The Betancourts live in Fort Washington, Md., located in one of the wealthiest majority-black counties in the United States: Prince George's, just east of Washington, D.C.

In Baton Rouge, La., people are using whatever tools they have to help their community recover from the flood.

That includes cameras.

Four photographers have been creating portraits of those affected. Their project, "Humans of the Water," focuses not on what people lost, but on what they saved.

One of those photographers is Collin Richie. He says documentary photography isn't typically his style. Most of his work involves snapping photos for weddings, magazines and corporate advertisements.

Out on the wide open plains of West Texas, you can see the horizon for 360 degrees, interrupted only by the nodding up and down of pump jacks pulling oil up out of the earth.

There lies the aptly named town of Midland.

To get the hang of the place, you need to start downtown, on a corner near the Chase Bank, where an electric billboard displays the essentials: the temperature, a message — "God Bless Midland" — and a number. On this day, it's 45.94.

What does it mean to be middle class in America? Nearly a century ago, in Detroit — which was then the burning core of the country's middle class — the answer might have looked like a hot dog: a Detroit Coney, to be precise.

At its most basic, a Detroit Coney is a kind of chili dog — "a steamed bun, with a natural-casing hot dog, beef and pork," explains Joe Grimm, author of the book Coney Detroit. "And on top of that hot dog — which should be grilled, not boiled, not deep-fried — goes the sauce, the most important part."

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In a remote corner of eastern India, far in the jungle and hours by boat from any village, there is a camp with a brightly colored shrine to a forest goddess. Behind a tall fence, a statue of Bonbibi wears silks and garlands, with a gold headdress. She shelters a boy from a tiger.

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