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|254||St. Stephen I begins his reign as catholic pope.|
|1588||King Henry III flees Paris after Henry of Guise triumphantly enters the city.|
|1641||The chief advisor to Charles I, Thomas Wentworth, is beheaded in the Tower of London|
|1851||The Tule River War ends.|
|1863||With a victory at the Battle of Raymond, Mississippi, Union General Ulysses S. Grant closes in on Vicksburg.|
|1864||Union General Benjamin Butler attacks Drewry’s Bluff on the James River.|
|1865||The last land battle of the Civil war occurs at Palmito Ranch, Texas. It is a Confederate victory.|
|1881||Tunisia, in North Africa becomes a French protectorate.|
|1885||In the Battle of Batoche, French Canadians rebel against the Canadian government.|
|1926||The Airship Norge becomes the first vessel to fly over the North Pole.|
|1932||The body of Charles Lindbergh’s baby is found.|
|1935||Alcoholics Anonymous is founded in Akron, Ohio by “Bill W.,” a stockbroker, and “Dr. Bob S.,” a heart surgeon.|
|1940||The Nazi conquest of France begins with the crossing Musee River.|
|1942||The Soviet Army launches its first major offensive of the war, taking Kharkov in the eastern Ukraine.|
|1943||Axis forces in North Africa surrender.|
|1949||The Berlin Blockade ends.|
|1969||Viet Cong sappers try unsuccessfully to overrun Landing Zone Snoopy in Vietnam.|
|1975||The U.S. merchant ship Mayaguez is seized by Cambodian forces.|
The magic of cooking at 350 degrees isn’t magic at all, but chemistry. It is, for example, the level associated with the Maillard Reaction, the chemical process that gives so many foods a complex flavor profile—and an appealing golden-brown hue—when sugar and protein are heated together just so.Well, it turns out that oven temperatures weren't nearly as precise before they had degrees on the dial, and it hardly mattered. They aren't even that precise now. Cooks from bygone eras pretty much learned what worked by experience. If your oven was hotter or cooler, you just adjusted your baking time. An article at the Atlantic tells us about how precise oven temperatures came about, and why recipe publishers chose the settings they did. I use 400 degrees more often these days, since I'm putting something frozen in the oven.
“Without Maillard chemistry we would not have a dark bread crust or golden brown turkey,” wrote the authors of a Royal Society of Chemistry book about the reaction, “our cakes and pastries would be pale and anemic, and we would lose the distinctive color of French onion soup.” The Maillard Reaction—which actually entails a series of reactions—isn’t all toasty goodness, however. It’s also responsible for making apples turn brown, which many people find unappetizing “despite negligible effect on flavor,” the authors write.
Price’s attempt at a magical ritual atop the Brocken came about thanks in part to the writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe famously had an interest in the occult, and visited the Brocken peak, hiking a path that is still memorialized as the Goethe Way. Inspired by the mysterious atmosphere of the Harz region, Goethe set portions of his most famous play, Faust, there, including the surreal walpurgisnacht scene where the devil Mephistopheles leads Faust around the Brocken, observing witches and even a gorgon. “Paganism died hard in the Harz country,” Price would later write.In 1932, the region was celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Goethe’s death, and that's why Price went to the Brocken, along with fellow philosopher C.E.M. Joad, to perform a magic ritual that was supposed to change a goat into a boy. He had to take a fair maiden and a goat, too, along with a bunch of journalists and spectators. Read the story of that ritual and how it turned out at Atlas Obscura.