Mack's Corner

This Week

Sleeping past 50

One thing you'll find out when you get past the age of 50 is that it's easy to go to sleep, but sometimes it hard to stay asleep. I wake up at 2:25am about every other morning. Usually it's just a matter of looking at the clock and turning over and going back to sleep. But sometimes I wake up thinking it's 5am (I can't sleep past 5am to save my life) I'm ready to get up and I look at the clock and it says 2:25. To some people that would be great, but if I'm thinking its 5 and it's really 2:25 then I've got 2 ½ hours to kill, wide awake, and I really haven't gotten much sleep, so I'll be tired all day. I've got friends that do the same thing, one gets up and cleans her house, you should see her house. Another friend painted her daughter's bedroom. Some read, several plan out the next day… that's what I do, get my phone and start putting things on the calendar .. totally wired, wishing I could go back to sleep. One morning I finally got back to sleep somewhere between 4:30 and 5. Then about 5:15 Macky (my son) comes in, puts his face so close that our noses are touching and says "Hi Daddy!". "Hi Macky, what are you doing up?" .. "I'm sleepy Daddy" .. So in the bed he comes. Sleeping with Macky is like sleeping with a big dog that's had way too much coffee. He moves around to get in just the right place, then he's gone, sound asleep snoring in 2 seconds. 10 minutes later he's up again, whacking the pillow, down again, 2 seconds, sound asleep snoring. 15 minutes later he's back up pulling the covers up higher over his head, bounces back down, looks over at me with a big smile, puts his head down, gone, sound asleep snoring in 2 seconds. Meanwhile my wife on the other side hasn't moved the whole time and I'm lying there in bed wide awake wondering where I'm going to take a nap after I get to work. Macky pops his head up and looks at me with a big smile "Nite nite Daddy". How could it get better than that?

God's like that: He's like that big dog that's had too much coffee. He keeps telling us that he's got a great life planned for us but we'll have to change a little to make it work. He moves things around and then it's quiet for a while. Then he's back up again, wants to know why you're still doing the same thing. He changes things around, then quiet … over and over..   We say "I can't change, I've done it this way for years, it's who I am!". That always reminds me of a picture my father had in his office when I was growing up. It was a picture of a chimp in a tux carrying brief case and under the picture it said "There's no reason for it it's just our policy". Everybody can change, god's working on you right now. He'll be back up in just a second..

Do you think anybody would notice if I took a sleeping bag to work?


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

When I was growing up my grandfather and mother made corned beef hash. It was the most awful stuff you have ever seen, smelled or tasted. I think it was some kind of family penance. The thing they did wrong was use corned beef out of a can, yuk! It smelled and tasted like dog food. If they had used real corned beef it would have been great. The main idea behind hash is to use up left-overs. But the other great idea behind hash is to get several things you like and put them together in one meal. Like my breakfast this morning: English muffin, smoked pork, maple syrup .. it was great!! I've still got most of that pork left, so this will be breakfast tomorrow…

Country Pork and Apple Hash From Seersucker in Brooklyn NY (Serves 4 - 5)

3 large potatoes, peeled and diced


2 tbsp butter

1 large red apple, peeled and diced

1 onion peeled and diced

1 lb leftover smoked pork, chopped

1/4 cup chicken stock or water

2 thyme sprigs, leaves only

4 poached or sunny side up eggs

In a large pot cover the potatoes with cold salted water. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender .. i.e. pick a piece up and smash it between your fingers. It should be soft but not mush. If you cook it too long, don't worry about it, it won't change the taste one bit. You'll just have mashed potato hash instead.. Drain the potatoes.

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the apples and onions and cook stirring for about 10 min, until slightly browned. Add the pork and stock/water.

Cook over medium high heat for 5 min. Most of the stock/water will cook out. Add the potatoes and thyme. Stir and then press the whole mixture in to a pancake form and let it brown on one side. Then flip the whole thing or at least big chunks over. The idea is to have it get crisp and brown on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside like hashed browns ..

While the hash is cooking, cook your eggs.

Taste, Taste, Taste .. season the hash with salt and pepper.

To serve: put serving of hash on a plate and top with one of the eggs.

To really make this great add some Tabasco to the hash and serve with toast and jelly = Hot and sweet, crisp and creamy ..

To make this into Dinner skip the toast & jelly and serve a salad with a sweet dressing…

Feel free to add some of your favorite things to the hash: Cheese, maple syrup, sliced avocados, sliced peaches, smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomatoes, BBQ sauce, corn, corn flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, salsa, figs…. There are no rules!

If you're a food snob like me and think hash is beneath you, I've got something for you next week. Thomas Keller's Sweet Potato Hash with Bacon and melted onions…. Good food is good food, especially with an egg on top …



Posted by Mack Oates at 9:49 AM