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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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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Excuse Me, Is That Bacon In Your Cocktail?

Oct 19, 2012
Originally published on October 24, 2012 1:03 pm

The practice of imparting the flavor of something heavy into a lighter liquid is centuries old. Ancient Indian healers did it with botanicals; early Christian monks did it with bitters. But the process is getting new attention as part of the craze to put all things food into all things drink.

Enter the bacon-flavored cocktail, as explored by Josh Berner, the bar manager at Ripple in Washington, D.C., and other au courant mixologist types in cities like New Orleans and New York.

Unlike the potentially dangerous liquid nitrogen drink, the fat-infused cocktail is actually something you can pull off at home. "Even my girlfriend, who doesn't cook, can pull it off," Berner says. (Sorry, girlfriend.)

What it takes to pull off a bacon-flavored mescal for your cocktail base — or an olive oil-flavored vodka or a sesame oil infused gin, for that matter, is pretty simple, as Berner shows us in the slide show above: a basic pot, a low heat, a steady stirring arm, a freezer, and some time and glassware. And yes, he does offer cocktail classes if you need to see it up close.

So how does it work? The magic happens when you heat the fat, says Kantha Shelke, food chemist and spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists. Fat contains lots of flavor molecules, but it takes a bit of prodding to release them. Remember that old Maillard reaction? "Heat volatilizes the aromatic compounds — warms them up and releases the fat matrix," she says.

Those flavor molecules dissolve into the alcohol when they're heated and stirred together, she says.

Once the fat is mixed with the alcohol, let it cool a bit, then pour it into a freezerproof container. Freeze overnight, and the fat will rise to the surface, effectively trapping those volatile flavor compounds in the alcohol, Shelke says. Strain off the fat in the morning, and you've got your flavor-infused base.

The process gives the cocktail a slightly meaty taste and mouth feel called umami — a flavor intense enough that a little bit will go a long way toward satisfaction, scientifically speaking.

So once you master your base, try your hand at mixing the alcohol with some other flavors that Berner is featuring on his menu right now.

United Colors of Basilton

1 ounce purple basil syrup (2 parts water, 1 part sugar, handful of purple basil, heated, then cooled to room temperature)

1 ounce light white wine

1/4 ounce Green Chartreuse

1 1/2 ounces olive oil-washed vodka

Combine ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Stir, strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with a candied lemon.

Chile Manteca y Dulce

5-10 drops citric acid solution

1 1/2 ounces of cayenne pepper toasted pecan syrup

1 1/2 ounces bacon-washed mescal (Berner uses Beneva)

Combine ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake, strain into chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a pecan.

Play It Sam

1 ounce date reduction (poach dates in water with a little sugar, reduce)

1/4 ounce aquavit

1 1/2 ounces sesame-washed gin

Combine ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake, strain into rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.