Mack's Corner

This Week

The Yellow Camaro

I heard a story about how one guy thought another guy said something, got mad ….etc and remembered something that happened to me several years ago. When I was in college I used to cook at "The Country Place" in Moscow TN. Along with several other guys, I spent most of the summer there. I was the head cook. The Country place is a camp like Pinecrest or Victory Ranch. Church groups come and stay over the weekend or as long as a week.

We had been there all week , 4 of us, and had a camp coming in Saturday morning so we thought we would go to Summerville to see a movie and eat some burgers, just a Friday night to do something different. We went in the movie and sat down. As soon as the lights went down 6 or 8 young kids started throwing candy at us. We told them to stop, they didn't and the manager came. We thought "Good now we can watch the movie!!!" … He looked at us like he had seen us on America's Most Wanted, and kicked us out. OK, no big deal, I think it only cost $2.50 to get in. So we went to the "Gorilla Burger". While we were there 2 girls drove up in a yellow Camaro and started talking to one of the guys and drove off, no big deal… it gets better! …

We went home, the church group showed up Saturday morning and left Sunday afternoon. 2 guys left early and 2 of us packed up about 4pm and drove back to Memphis in 2 cars. My friend Kenny was in the front car and I was in the back. We stopped at the railroad tracks and he yelled back at me that he wanted to show me where the 2 girls in the yellow Camaro live… OK, whatever … He turns down a side street, goes a few streets down, makes a left and stops. He leans out of the car and points at this house and says "That's where she lives" .. At the same time a guy and his wife are getting out of their car in the driveway at this same house. The guy turns around and looks at Kenny and starts walking towards his car. I can see that the guy is mad and I started yelling at Kenny to go on, but Kenny thinks he's coming to ask for directions or something and just sits there with his head hanging out the window with a big smile on his face. As soon as the guy gets to Kenny here comes his fist right at Kenny's head. Kenny laid down in the seat and the guy missed. He yanks open Kenny's door and pulls him out of the car and then grabs his keys.  Ok, I guess I've got to do something? Kenny is just a little guy, dumb, but little, and this guy was pretty big. He was yelling something about his wife and telling her to "Go get my gun" and we were trying to figure out what was going on. He kept yelling at his wife and yelling at Kenny, then he said "I'm going to get my gun", and started walking toward his house, and he still has Kenny's keys. I walked up behind him and said "wait a minute mister" and he turned around and hit me in the jaw as hard as he could, knocked my hat off and everything. I stood there and looked him straight in the eye. At that moment we both had a point of complete communication. We both knew he had just hit me as hard as he could and that I was still standing there looking at him. Just like he had hit the Terminator and realized he had no chance. The fight was over and I didn't have to do anything. He just stood there. About 30 seconds later a police car came, his wife had called them. The policeman got Kenny's keys back and made us follow him back to the police station. We had explained everything to him out in the man's front yard. The first thing he says when we got back to the police station is "Those girls you're looking for, the ones in that yellow Camaro, they live on the next street over". He told us that about 15 times, as if our biggest problem was finding those girls and not the guy who was going to shoot us or that he was crazy? He just wanted to be sure we had our directions right….

God's like that: he has to put up with stuff like that all the time. He's just driving by to see how things are going and we start yelling at him. Something bad happens and we assume he caused it, did it on purpose. But we don't know why he's there, or what his plans are, we're just mad. That's OK, you can be mad at God, he can handle it. But never assume that he's against you, he's always on your side and always wants you to have everything he's planned for you. Sometimes your plans won't be his plans, but you'll just have to figure that out.
I wonder if the Gorilla Burger is still there ….  Maybe I can get a police escort, it's kinda scary out in the country ….


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

Just to give you something totally out in left field, here's a recipe for Bialy Barszcz.. I can't say it either. In English it's White Borscht. That doesn't make it sound any better. Borscht sounds like something you would put down a drain to unstop it or something you might step in, as in "I stepped in a pile of borscht" .. But really it's just potato soup with smoked sausage with a couple of cool flavors added like horseradish and dill…This is supposed to be a sour soup (like buttermilk) but they thankfully left that out. This is easy. The hardest part is going to the grocery store…

Bialy Barszcz (Polish White Borscht)

The recipe for this Polish Easter soup calls for fresh horseradish, but it works just as well with the prepared version.


2 lb. smoked kielbasa or any smoked sausage

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 leeks, trimmed, sliced, white & light green parts only

1 small yellow onion, sliced

2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1? cubes

2 sprigs marjoram (optional)

1 bay leaf (optional)

1 ½ cups sour cream

¼ cup flour

¼ cup freshly grated horseradish (or prepared horseradish)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup roughly chopped dill

2 tbsp. chopped parsley (optional)

4 boiled eggs, cut into wedges (I would soft boil the eggs and leave them whole)

(This is straight out of the magazine. I'll put my comments in ()…)

Boil kielbasa and 8 cups water in a 6-qt. saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook to flavor broth, about 25 minutes. Pour liquid and kielbasa into a bowl; reserve.

(To wash leeks: cut off root end then lengthwise cut down on the white end in half then turn and cut in half again. You will have the white end cut in 4 parts. Holding the green end wash the dirt out of the white end. Then slice across till you get to the green part and stop.)

Return saucepan to medium heat. Add butter, garlic, leeks, and onion; cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add reserved sausage liquid, potatoes, marjoram, and bay leaf; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Discard marjoram and bay leaf.

Purée the soup in a blender or with a submersible/hand blender. Return soup to pot; bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, whisk sour cream and flour in a bowl (this makes a roux/Beurre Manie type of mixture to thicken the soup), add ½ cup soup, and whisk until smooth. Pour mixture into soup; cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes (be sure to cook the soup long enough for it to thicken. Taste it and see if there is a flour taste. If there is cook it 2 more minutes.

Cut kielbasa into ½ inch-thick slices(here I would put the sausage slices in a pan and pan-fry them to get some "brown" on the meat. Northern European people eat a lot of boiled meat which makes it either white or gray with no caramelization/Maillard reaction..i.e. Browning.. I like meat to be brown and have some crust.) ; add to soup along with horseradish, salt, and pepper, dill (be sure to use the dill. I would smash it with the back of a knife or chop it fine. Dill adds a very earthy umami flavor), parsley, and eggs (I would soft boil the eggs which means boil them for 2 1/2 to 3 min and add them whole so that you have a liquid yolk that would flow in to the soup when you break the egg. That would add flavor to the soup. You have to have the eggs for it to be an Easter dish)…. (Before you add the eggs, TASTE, TASTE, TASTE… check for salt and pepper.. If it's bland add a tablespoon of vinegar to the pot..)

There you go. You have several things to lookup for homework: umami, caramelization/ Maillard reaction, roux/Beurre Manie. You too can say cool chef words.. 


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 8:30 AM