Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped veggies and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

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100 Years Ago, Maillard Taught Us Why Our Food Tastes Better Cooked

Oct 11, 2012
Originally published on November 23, 2015 3:19 pm

A few hundred scientists gathered in the small French city of Nancy recently to present scientific papers related to a chemical reaction. Now that may seem a bit humdrum and hardly worth mentioning in The Salt, but in this case, it isn't.

The conference was held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of one of the most important discoveries ever: the chemical reaction that explains why cooked food is so darn good. Naturally, there were profiteroles.

The Maillard Reaction, named after Louis-Camille Maillard, occurs every time you heat a mixture of sugars and amino acids. Before Maillard, people just made educated guesses about how cooking works.

In 1912, Maillard suspected there was a specific reaction responsible for the way raw ingredients changed color and produced carbon dioxide when heated, but "he thought it would be important for medicine and diabetes," says Vincent Monnier of Case Western Reserve University. This was before insulin was discovered. "He didn't immediately recognize it would be important for food," says Monnier.

It's pretty important to food because companies who want to reproduce those smells, textures and flavors and preserve them in a processed product with a shelf life have to know how to do it.

Now, Monnier's own research focuses on a Maillard reaction that occurs inside the body. In this case, the result of the reaction is not so savory. Proteins undergo a process called glycation, and over time this can lead to atherosclerosis.

There's a downside to the Maillard reaction in cooking, too. In certain circumstances, the reaction produces cancer-causing substances, like acrylamide and furans.

Even though Maillard discovered the reaction, he never really knew how it worked. A chemist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture named John E. Hodge sorted out the chemistry in a paper published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry back in 1953.

According to Chemical and Engineering News, Hodge's model divides the Maillard reaction into three stages, which you can read about in the full article, or check out the video below to see a demonstration.

The organizers of the Nancy conference went to great lengths to make the occasion special. There was a conference party at the town's ornate city hall, where they served "impossibly good profiteroles," says Sarah Everts, the Chemical and Engineering News reporter who was there. But that was just one of the events.

"The whole conference was driven to Maillard's hometown, Pont-a-Mousson, about 30 kilometers from Nancy," Everts tells us. There we went to an old monastery that's been converted to a museum/hotel with lots of curious pop art as contrast for the classic context ... and had a gala dinner in the former church cathedral with a French jazz group playing in the background. Totally opulent. Plus curious appetizers held together with mini clothespins."

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