Mack's Corner

This Week


Years ago I used to take kids to Young Life camp. We would get on a bus at midnight and drive 11 hours, eat breakfast and lunch and get to camp about 2pm the next day. I did that for years but never figured out how to sleep on a bus, so I usually sat on the "Don't go past this line" step, right next to the driver and talked to him all night, plus I kinda wanted him to stay awake. By the time we got to camp I was toast, brain didn't work, legs felt like jelly, kept running in to things. When it got time to go to bed I slept right in front of the door so my guys didn't go out terrorizing the rest of the camp. But the truth is they could have dragged me out of the cabin and rolled me down the hill and I would have still been asleep. One year I drove a van load of kids to camp, I had all the windows open, the radio up full blast, singing as loud as I could, drinking Cokes, chewing beef jerky, smoking cheap cigars… anything to stay awake. The kids were all sound asleep... The first day of camp was always "family feud" day where they split the camp up into 4 different families (about 100 kids on a team) and they had races and games all week to decide which family won. One of the races was a mile run up a mountain and back. It just kills you to do it. If you've ever seen the movie "The Last of the Mohicans" at the very beginning where Daniel Day-Lewis (Hawkeye) is running up the side of a mountain chasing a deer, that's in North Carolina and that's what it like...  I told my team that one of my kids was going to be our runner, his name was Wallace. Wallace looked like one of those runners from Kenya that you see in the Olympics, skinny legs, skinny arms, skinny neck, bald head, big smile. He probably weighed 90 pounds, maybe. The hard part wasn't convincing Wallace to do it, the hard part was convincing everybody else. The other teams had some real athletes, they were big and strong, one guy was the state champion in the 440 yard dash, tall good looking kid. Two guys were football players, big and athletic and then there was little Wallace. The other 3 guys were worried about each other, Wallace just smiled. Rudy Howard and Eli were the camp directors. I walked up there with Wallace and Rudy says "That's your runner?, you got to be kidding, against those guys" … "that's him, we're ready .. he'll be fine" … "OK.. if you say so" …. Rudy shot the starters pistol and off they went, Wallace way in the back. We moved some things around to make a clear area for the finish line, got some kids to hold a rope for the runners to break through and then Rudy said "I'm going to go get a glass of tea, this will take a while." I told him, you better wait or you miss the finish. Then from behind us, here came Wallace, big smile and all, ran right past Rudy. My team cheered, Wallace smiled, went through the finish line and looked up at me as if to say "Want me to go again?" I'm pretty sure he could have gone again and come in First and second…. The other 3  guys finished about 10 - 15 minutes later. Everybody had already left by the time they got back, I guess everything happened a little too quick.

God's like that: He seems kinda small because he's hard to see. The other options look much bigger and more promising. But trust me, he'll be here in just a minute, don't leave or you'll miss it …

That bus ride story makes me long for some bus fumes… Maybe I'll go down to the Greyhound station hang out a while …


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

One of the easiest ways to get great recipes is to sign up on or or at This is all FREE!  So are their web pages. Here's one from .

Fish 101: 1. Smell the fish! Tell the guy behind the counter that you want to smell the fish. If it smells fishy, it's old, don't buy it. If it smells like ammonia, it's really old, don't buy it! It should smell sweet and fresh and like the ocean.  2. Ask when their fish comes in.  Some will tell you every Tuesday and Thursday, some Monday - Wednesday..etc buy on those days (but still smell it and ask when it came in!!.. if it all smells fishy and like ammonia, buy a steak!).  3. If it's been previously frozen, ask how long it's been un-frozen. "Yesterday" is a bad answer. "A few hours ago" is a good answer…  You don't owe the store any favors, if they have bad fish, let them keep it. You don't buy spoiled milk or cracked eggs, why buy bad fish? Especially $12 - $16 per pound for bad fish??

Salmon Glazed with Rosemary- and Lemon-Infused Honey


1 cup honey

¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

4  (6-oz.) skinless boneless salmon filets

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tbsp. olive oil


1. Put honey into a small pot and cook over medium heat until slightly thinned and just hot, about 3 minutes. Add rosemary and lemon zest and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let infuse for 15 minutes. Pour honey through a fine sieve (any strainer will work - or pour it through a kitchen towel, just be sure it's nice and hot if you do) into a small bowl and let cool completely. Discard solids.

2. Arrange salmon filets, flat side down (skin side down), in a shallow dish in a single layer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 tbsp. of the infused honey (reserve remaining honey for another use). Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (or if you're in a hurry, 15 min out of the fridge will work fine).

(They are doing this on a grill. The problem is that there is Honey on the fish = sugar. Any time you cook something with sugar or tomatoes on a grill you have to be careful not to burn it. The sugar/tomato will burn but the meat/fish won't get done. So don't put BBQ sauce on your chicken and the grill it. Grill the chicken first, then put the BBQ sauce on. That way your chicken will get done and you won't die of food poisoning.)… (You could of course do this in an Iron skillet too on yoiur stove. That's what I would do. )  

3. Preheat grill to medium-low and rub grates generously with olive oil. Place salmon on grill, rounded side down, and cook, rotating to create crosshatched markings and turning once, until dark golden brown and medium rare, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

(This is another one of my rants.. Don't intentionally put grill marks on your food. This is a sign of a cheap restaurant. Perfect grill marks means they were put on the food by a machine before it was cooked.. yuk!! IF you cook the food right it will look great. Don't worry about the stupid grill marks) … 

Notes on Salmon: If you bought it with the skin on it, leave it there(Be sure to scale it. Don't eat skin with scales. they will choke you). It's like Chicken skin, if you get it crispy it's great. 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. 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 at 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 = fish is 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..

Divide salmon between 4 plates and drizzle with lemon juice. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Add a nice salad and this is as healthy as you can get.. I could eat this every night ..  This is too easy!


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 8:40 AM