It’s Friday. Looking for something to switch up your weekend, or to give you an excuse to relax a little? That’s what the Weekend Reset is for. Each week we’ll pull together five things to get your weekend started. Could be something to read or watch, something to eat or listen to, or even something to do. Enjoy the weekend fellas.
For years, I found dried beans intimidating. Soaking! Salting! Simmering! Farting!* But recently, I discovered this recipe, and it changed my life. You want creamy, flavorful, delicious beans? Carla’s got you. A few notes/modifications:
- Carla cooks her beans in their soaking water. I don’t. I find pouring out the soak water and adding in fresh water or broth helps with the farts.
- I love me some fat, but a 1 inch fat cap is ridiculous. I shoot for maybe a quarter inch?
- The salt she’s dumping in there by the pound is Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, the least salty salt by volume. If you’re using table salt? Use a LOT less.
- I generally tie my herbs up with butcher’s twine before throwing them in, so that I don’t have to pick them out of the broth at the end.
- The older the bean, the longer the cook time — year-old beans might take a couple of hours to soften.
*One fringe benefit of spending a lot of time at home means… maybe the farting’s not such a big deal?
If Better Call Saul (featured last week) was a show that started out as a comedy but evolved into a tragedy — Succession is its inverse. The trailer suggested a weighty, serious, capital-H HBO drama. Instead? Think of Succession as King Lear in the key of Arrested Development — a wry, pitch-perfect, dark-as-hell comedy about a gaggle of awful rich sociopaths who you still, somehow, inexplicably, root for. Family intrigue! Backstabbings! Betrayals! And the most expertly crafted insults on TV — this is a show that has a little something for everyone.
READ: Child of God
Speaking of sociopaths. Cormac McCarthy’s third novel tells the story of Lester Ballard, a violent sociopath who roams the hills of Appalachia, preying on the locals. Not a lot of plot here, but it doesn’t matter — because HOT DAMN can McCarthy craft a sentence. This is a twisted, knotty, dark novel, but unlike some of his other work, it’s not relentlessly bleak — lots of weird, black-as-midnight, Elmore Leonard style comedy to be found here. And since it clocks in at less than 200 pages, it’s a great introduction to one of America’s most treasured living authors.
EXPLODE: Kittens, in Exploding Kittens*
Exploding Kittens was a huge hit when it launched on Kickstarter five years ago, and it’s easy to see why. The game’s super simple gameplay mechanics, hilarious and wonderfully illustrated cards, and quick rounds make it a perfect entry point into our recent board game renaissance. Though the box suggests something akin to Cards Against Humanity, this is a VERY different game — much more like a weird version of hot potato, where you’re constantly scheming to screw over everyone else. You can learn how to play in under five minutes, and a full game lasts fifteen minutes max. The perfect game to bust out with your partner/roommate/kids on a Saturday evening.
PLAY: Final Fantasy VII Remake
Final Fantasy VII was an era-defining classic — a sweeping epic told with humor and heart that featured close to a hundred hours of gameplay. So ever since Square announced in 2015 that they were working on a FFVII remake, excitement has been at a fever pitch. The truth is, they could have slapped the Final Fantasy VII name onto just about anything and sales would have been gangbusters. But instead of churning out a quick cash grab, they dug deep into the original game’s story and mechanics, and made something that feels both modern and classic. Final Fantasy VII Remake takes the original game’s sprawling story and brings it down to earth, grounding it in the real human consequences of characters’ choices. A remake done right.
About the author: Michael Robin is an LA-based television writer. When he’s not working away on his latest pilot script, you can find him scuba diving, hosting Shabbat dinners, or goofing off with his goldendoodle, Biggie Lebowski.