Mack's Corner

This Week

This week 10-13-15

Want to learn to think? Want to learn to learn?

I get 3 different newspapers, The Commercial Appeal, The New York Times and The Washington Post. I love reading the paper. Even when I'm on vacation out of town, the first thing I do in the morning is fine a local newspaper. There's just something great and American about eating breakfast and reading the paper. I have all three of my papers on my tablet, but I really love to have a real folding-up, black ink, news paper. Reading news on a computer or watching CNN is ok, but real printed paper is better. I like to fold the paper to read the story. So if it starts on the first page I'll fold that in half. Then when it continues on page 5 I'll fold the paper back to page 5, the fold the paper in half to where the story is and then fold it in half again sideways. The Commercial Appeal has this stupid habit of making Section "A" in to 2 different folded sections. So if a story is continued on page 7, it's actually on the next folded section. That just makes me mad. Pay attention guys, here's how you fold a paper: Section "A" is all folded together. Then behind that is section "B" which is all together, then "C", then "D" etc. The  classifieds are last. Each section is folded behind the section before it..  They sometimes get it right.. Sometimes. They also have this thing about putting the classified section on top, with the front page under it .. I don't get that, it's supposed to be about the news.. I love the New York Times and the Washington Post because they have real writers. In the Thursday paper they might have a 5 column story on architecture in a small town in Kentucky. Or once they had a full page story about a place in North Carolina that used to be a country gas station but now cooks 8 to 10 whole hogs every day. It was like reading Faulkner. Or in the science section they might explain how the "Smart power grid" works. Or there might be a story explaining in depth a case before the Supreme Court. I love stuff like that. I can learn from stuff like that.... There's all kinds of interesting things in the south but I have to read about them in the New York Times.. Most papers have Journalist, not writers. They report the news like our attention span is less than 10 seconds. I can't tell if they have a 6th grade education or if they think we do. It's ok to use big words, I can look them up.. In the old days people read the stories in the paper based on who wrote them. It could be a story about a crime or a court case or a son coming home from war, didn't matter. If it was written by somebody who wrote good stories, it was worth reading. People would ask "Did you read (writers name here) this morning?" Ring Lardner, a great American author, started off as a sports writer… Ernest Hemingway started off working for The Kansas City Star, then later The Toronto Star .. Want to read a great story? Here's 3.

"A last argument, and a long wait" by Monica Hesse

Or how about "Progressives are wrong about the essence of the Constitution" by George Will .. it's a really interesting Idea.

Or how about "A Florida Republican pushing to overhaul the food stamp system toils to win over a divided Congress" by Eli Saslow (this story won him a Pulitzer)

It's not important that you agree with the writer, it's only important that you are pulled in to the story and the ideas.

I love stories that pull me up, draw me in.. 

God's like that: He doesn't treat us like we're stupid. He doesn't talk down to us. He always pulls us up, he always expects us to be better. He's not looking for perfect, he doesn't have a set of rules, but he does have expectations. He's looking for depth, he's looking for character, and he doesn't really care how long it takes. He's got big ideas and big plans for you! Pay attention!   

Maybe I could be a Newspaper folding consultant? Do you think they have those?  I'm pretty good at it ….


Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes:

If you ask any chef where to get the best piece of chicken over the last 20 years they will say The Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. Judy Rodgers (who died 2 years ago) was the chef there. She invented great, simple, local cooking. It's not a new idea!  Here's her famous chicken recipe.

Zuni Cafe Chicken

 One small chicken, 2 3/4 to 3 1/2 pounds
4 sprigs fresh thyme, marjoram, rosemary or sage
 Sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Season the chicken 1 to 3 days before serving (for 3 1/4- to 3 1/2-pound chickens, at least 2 days): Remove and discard the lump of fat inside the chicken. Rinse the chicken and pat very dry (a wet chicken will spend too much time steaming before it begins to turn golden brown).

Slide a finger under the skin of each of the breasts, making 2 little pockets, then use a fingertip to gently loosen a pocket of skin on the outside of the thickest section of each thigh. Push an herb sprig into each of the 4 pockets.

Using about 3/4 teaspoon sea salt per pound of chicken and pepper to taste, season the chicken liberally all over with salt and the pepper. Sprinkle a little of the salt just inside the cavity and on the backbone. Twist and tuck the wing tips behind the shoulders. Cover loosely and refrigerate.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, heat the oven to 475 degrees. Depending on your oven and the size of your bird, you may need to adjust the heat to as high as 500 degrees or as low as 450 degrees during roasting to brown the chicken properly.

Choose a shallow flameproof roasting pan or dish barely larger than the chicken, or use a 10-inch skillet with an all-metal handle. Preheat the pan over medium heat. Wipe the chicken dry and set it breast side up in the pan. It should sizzle.

Place in the center of the oven and watch for it to start sizzling and browning within 20 minutes. If it doesn’t, raise the temperature progressively until it does. The skin should blister, but if the chicken begins to char, or the fat is smoking, reduce the temperature by 25 degrees. After about 30 minutes, turn the bird over (drying the bird and preheating the pan should keep the skin from sticking). Roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on size, then flip back over to re-crisp the breast skin, another 5 to 10 minutes. Total oven time will be 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove the chicken from the roasting pan and set on a plate. Pour the clear fat from the pan, leaving the drippings. Add about a tablespoon of water to the hot pan and swirl. Slash the stretched skin between the thighs and breasts of the chicken, then tilt the bird and plate over the roasting pan to drain the juice into the drippings. As the chicken rests, tilt the roasting pan and skim the last of the fat. Place over medium-low heat, add any juice that has collected under the chicken, and bring to a simmer. Stir and scrape.

Cut the chicken into pieces and pour the pan drippings over the chicken.


Posted by Mack Oates at 10:40 AM