Mack's Corner

This Week

The Story

I listen to a lot of audio books. You may not like Stephen King but if you listen to many of his books you'll know that he is at least one of the top 5 best writers / story tellers in the world and what you may not know is that he is also one of the best readers. To me a great book is one that tells the story as fast as it can, completely. There's no filler or going back and telling some other story, just the one. There's one guy on the NY Times best seller list that makes me crazy, he'll have 6 different people tell how something happened and they all tell the same thing, he could cut 100 pages if he would tell it one time. Then there are several who use "He said … she said" all through any speaking parts of the book. "He said .. She said".. back and forth, back and forth..   And the ones that really kill me are the ones that are illogical. There was one where a guy had developed and special encryption method that could never be broken because the encryption key was always changing, that was hard enough to believe. Then the whole story was about trying to find a person that had stolen the key and had it written down on the inside of a ring. How can that be? If you can write it down, then it's not changing…. Right? It got dumber as it went on…One thing you might not know is that there is now a favorite word that every writer uses: Bougainvillea … it's a plant. Pronounced Boo -gan-veal-ya  … sounds cool I guess. It seems to grow everywhere in the world. Paris, South America, New York, San Francisco. Where ever the story is, there's Bougainvillea growing …  Most of these writers are just not very good story tellers. They've got 30 pages of story and 300 pages to fill.. Then you get to Stephen King, or Dean Koontz or John Grisham and you know how good these guys are. I end up sitting in my motorcycle in the garage at home just waiting to hear what's going to happen next.  There is so much to tell and the story is so intense that there's almost not enough space to get it in the book. Every single word is important …   Then there's the readers … Some readers try to act out the story using different voices but the best ones just read. It's like reading a book and then watching the movie of the same book, it's never as good because you don't have to use your imagination. The less the reader acts out the book the more imagination you have to have. Of course with Stephen King the more you let your imagination go, the better.

God's like that. He just tells us the story. People try to make it hard, but it's really simple: God Loves you more than you can ever imagine….  You can imagine it however you want, but you still need to think bigger. The cool thing is that you're part it. You're part of the story....

Maybe I'll have dinner in my garage tonight. Leave the story going. Sometimes it's hard to leave ….


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

The Wednesday New York Times has the best food/restaurant page in the country. Here's a recipe from David Tanis.. I never think about beans as the base for a salad. But they can be used like pasta, or rice. Black beans, wax beans, green beans, all work great. Here's one with Cannellini beans..

Cannellini Bean Salad With Shaved Spring Vegetables


3 tablespoons lemon juice, or as needed

Finely grated zest of half a lemon

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed (Penzeys) (optional)

4 to 6 anchovy fillets, rinsed and chopped (optional)

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


2 cups cooked cannellini beans, drained

Salt and pepper

Pinch red pepper flakes

6 to 8 large, fat asparagus spears, snapped and peeled

6 radishes

1 small fennel bulb, trimmed

1 small sweet spring onion, or a few scallions, finely chopped

Chopped parsley, basil or dill, for garnish.

To cook the beans, rinse a pound of beans and put them in a pot. Cover with cold water and add a few aromatics - half an onion, a peeled carrot, a bay leaf, a clove, a few fennel seeds. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to the barest simmer. Add a large spoonful of olive oil and a small spoonful of salt. Let the beans simmer, uncovered, for an hour or so, checking on them occasionally. Depending on their age and other variables, they may take up to 30 minutes more. When they are truly tender, turn off the heat and let them cool completely in their broth before refrigerating. A pound of beans will give you twice enough for the recipe below, so plan on a bean dish once more this week.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. Adjust lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble the salad, place the beans in a large bowl. Pour half the vinaigrette over the beans and toss lightly. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Using a sharp mandolin - and a hand guard - (Better: use a vegetable peeler or just cut them lengthwise with a knife. A mandolin and asparagus sounds dangerous) carefully slice the asparagus spears lengthwise to about the thickness of a penny. Slice the radishes and fennel to the same thickness. Lay the shaved vegetables and chopped onion or scallions in a shallow bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and dress them very lightly with a few spoonfuls of vinaigrette, turning gently to coat.

Spoon the beans onto a serving platter or individual plates, then cover the beans with the shaved vegetables. Add a little more vinaigrette over the top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, basil or dill… The dill and basil really make this great, don't leave it out…

4 to 6 servings.


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 11:07 AM