Hope Pres Logo

A place for you

Mack's Corner

This Week

Want fries with that??????

PK(wife) and I took a vacation a few years back, and ate at a couple of really nice restaurants. When we finished ordering at the first place the waiter stopped and said "Want fries with that?" Even though that doesn't seem like a hard question, it left me totally speechless. I just didn't expect it. This was way too fancy of a restaurant to get fries on the side. He might as well have asked if I wanted my toes painted. It took me 3 or 4 seconds to respond and even after that all I could manage to say was "Sure". After he left, I asked PK, "What did he say?" The food came and it was really good, but the fries were Great!!!! They tasted like the fries you could get at McDonalds back in the 60's when they used real potatoes that they peeled by rolling them around in a potato drum. There was always some skin left and they cooked them in lard. They were as unhealthy as they could be, but they were really good. Really, really, good!

When we walked in the restaurant, I knew what was going to happen, I knew the menu, I knew the questions I wanted to ask, and I knew what the waiter was going to ask me, I knew the whole routine. "Want fries with that?" just wasn't part of the routine. But it turned out to be the best part.

Ever see the movie "About Schmidt" with Jack Nicholson. I think it's supposed to be funny, but it's really kinda depressing. It's about a guy that's retiring and can't think of anything he's ever done in his whole life that made a difference. He's got a nice home, kids are grown, owns a giant Winnebago, and has kept his job for 30 years. But to him those are things he was expected to do, nothing special. He wants to make a difference. He wants to look back on his life and be able to say "I did that and it was important to the world" or "I helped change that person's life and that was important". He wants to know that he didn't just take up space and breathe someone else's air, that there was a reason for his life and that he fulfilled his mission. He knows how to do all of the routine things, he knows what to do and what to say at his retirement party, he thinks he knows more about his old job than anybody,  then he finds out that it was routine too. He knows how to do all of the things that are expected, but he doesn't know how to "Make a difference". So he's watching TV one day and a commercial comes on telling him that for $22 a month he can "adopt" a kid in Africa and pay for his schooling, clothes, and food. Just $22 would change the kid's life (much like Compassion International). He sends in the $22 and gets a letter back telling him who his kid is and how to send the kid a letter and what to write. He starts writing letters telling him everything about his life in America, that he doesn't like his wife, he hates sitting around all day, his kids make him crazy...etc, everything. He figures he can tell a kid in Africa anything because he'll never see him, and his friends will never talk to a 6 year old 5000 miles away. Then at the end of the movie he gets a letter back from the kid written by a nun telling him thanks, that his life is much better because of the $22 he sends. Along with the letter is a picture the kid has drawn with stick figures showing Schmidt and the kid holding hands under a big yellow sun. At that point Schmidt starts to cry and the movie ends.

God's like that: We all try to keep our lives at a routine pace, doing the routine things we love to do, things that are comfortable, things we know how to do. But sometimes we think "Is this it?" You could even be a fighter pilot or a professional roller coaster rider and at some point it becomes routine and you think "There's got to be more to life than this". I think that's what Jesus was talking about when he said "I have come that you might have life, more life than you have ever had before".  You have to step out of the circle you've made for yourself, that defines your life and who you are. You don't have to jump out all at once, just stick your pinky out and see what happens; you can always pull it back in. Pray "God use me today" and see what happens. Maybe you haven't found how God will use you yet.  I'm not asking you to move your family to China, Just Pray and see what he does.

Want fries with that??????


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

One of the ideas of "Living Well" eating is to really think about what you are eating, to let eating be the event. So you're not watching a football game and stuffing non-descript food in yourself, having no idea what you are eating and maybe not remembering that you ate at all. The event is the meal! Appreciate the moment! Appreciate the food! Appreciate each bite! .. This idea reminds me of eating at The French Laundry. Each course is announced. Each course is perfect! You are told what it is, and usually where it came from. It's a small amount of food, usually about 3 or 4 bites. But it is spectacular!  And you have to know that 10 world class chefs have been working all day to make it. Appreciate the moment! Appreciate the food!  Appreciate each bite! …. If you can't do that, don't eat it!

Iron Skillet Salmon & Quick French Laundry onions - (This is all Keto except for the honey. But you have to have the honey. Don't pass up these onions because of the honey. Turst me it's worth it..)

Make the onions & Sauce first. When you take the onions out of the oven, start the fish..

Quick French Laundry Onions & Sauce: (also in an Iron Skillet if you have one)

3 medium size sweet onions - Vidalia's work best, but any sweet onion will work..

Olive oil

About 3 cups of chicken stock/broth (make your own chicken stock or Canned/ box  is OK)


Salt & pepper

3 tbsp unsalted butter cut in to 6 pieces (cut in to 3 across, the half long ways = 6)


Preheat the oven to 325

Trim the onions, and cut in half

Coat the bottom of a pan with oil (this pan will go in the oven, so no rubber handles) big enough to hold the onions in one layer.

Heat the oil and add the onions cut side down. Sear the onions until they are DARK golden brown on the bottom - 3 - 4 minutes. The dark sear adds flavor…

Add 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock (enough to come up about 1 inch all around the onions… more stock = more sauce. But don't put too much). 

Sprinkle with Salt & Pepper

Put a piece of butter on top of each onion

Put a teaspoon of honey on top of each onion

Bring the liquid to a simmer and put the whole thing in the oven. Cook for 45 minutes or until the onions are "Meltingly" tender and starting to turn brown. Stick a paring knife in to see if they are done all the way through. Should be almost no resistance.

Take it out of the oven and leave everything in the skillet while you make the salmon.


Arrange salmon filets, flat side down (skin side down). Pat dry with a paper towel. Season to taste with salt and pepper . Flip them over and do the same thing to the other side.
Heat up your Iron Skillet and add a little oil. Cook salmon until dark golden brown and medium rare, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

(Notes on Salmon: If you bought it with the skin on it, leave it there. It's like Chicken skin, if you get it crispy it's great. Be sure there are no scales. When you take out your salmon feel for bones. There are small white bones all in a line about an inch from the center (if you by a whole side). They will feel like little nubs in the meat.  Just pull them out with your fingers or tweezers. They slide right out.. When you finish, feel for them again all over.  Don't buy Salmon "Steaks". That's where they cut the fish crossways instead of filleting it from head to tail .. you can't get the bones out and it's ugly .. and I don't get why you would ever cut a fish like that (maybe to hide something?). Usually you want salmon to have a little RED in the middle after it's cooked, but feel free to give it a minute longer if you don't like it that way .. Salmon is cooked when it gets to 119 degrees.. If you do have skin on it, cook skin side down first. It will protect the fish and if it sticks to the grill/pan all you lose is the skin. Plus this way the skin cooks longer and gets crispy.. So 3 min on skin side, 2 min on other side, finish back on skin side…. If the skin gets burned, just pull it off and throw it away, your fish is still safe. DON'T OVERCOOK YOUR SALMON!!  .. Last: salmon is cheap compared to other fish, plentiful and loaded with great healthy stuff. You should eat it often..)

To serve: sauce on the plate, fish on top, Onion on the side, (optional Sprinkle with sea salt or Flur de sel…. Taste each bite!!!! Smell the honey? Smell the ocean in the fish? Feel the butter? Taste the cream in it? Can you taste the salt? How about the pepper? Can you taste the brown parts? … Close your eyes and try not to pass out …


How about saving a kid's life!!

When you give Platelets it's like giving St Jude $700 - $1000. If we don't give them, they have to buy them.

Giving Platelets is like giving blood, it just takes longer (1 1/2 hours) and you get all of your blood back (so you can do it every week if you want) . I know it's a long trip to go all the way down to St Jude, but you may be saving a kid's life . plus you get to watch a movie while you're there. Call Kim at 901.595.2024 and she'll setup an appointment and treat you like family. Just tell her you're from Hope.

Directions: From Poplar, turn north on Third Street, then right on Lauderdale/Jackson Ave (first right after you go under the expressway). Enter through the north guard gate (you'll see the Danny Thomas Pavilion. Gold top).

Tell the guard at the gate that you are here to donate blood. The guard will instruct you where to park. You will then enter the hospital by the red side door closest to the blood donor parking lot. The Blood Donor Center is in the southwest corner of the hospital on the ground floor.

Appointment times are generally available Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Except on Tuesdays they start at 9:15am.

See you this weekend. Bring a friend. It's going to be great!!!


Posted by Mack Oates at 2:44 PM