Mack's Corner

This Week

Where's my underwear?

Did you ever finish tying your shoes and realize you don't have any underwear on? Somewhere between taking a shower (I think I did that because my hair is still wet, but I don't really remember it) and tying my shoes I missed something. You know, when your life gets this way you're either too stressed, too tired, or too focused. Your wife moves the furniture and you fall over it every time you walk through the room. You keep checking your watch to see what day of the week it is. I really thought today was Monday??? What did I do on Monday??? Did we skip Monday???

There's book that's been around for years called "The Soul of a New Machine". It's about a bunch of programmer/ techno nerds creating the Data General Eclipse, a computer that was far ahead of its time 50 years ago. One morning one of the guys is going to work. His wife tells him to be sure to be home by 6:00pm because they have company coming over for dinner. She reminds him several times because she knows he gets focused on his work, building the computer, and tends to forget what time it is. He tells her "no problem, I'll even be home early!" ……He comes home, he checks his watch, 4:00pm, tons of time….. "Honey I'm home!!!"….."See I told you I would be home early…." His wife says "That was 2 days ago!" ………"OH"

The fire alarm people call me about once a month usually between 1 and 4 am (Why is that?) It's the same woman that always calls. We've never had a real fire, it's always a dirty smoke detector or the electricity going on and off resetting something. She says "Mack the fire alarm is going off and the fire department has been called." That's all she says, no "Sorry to wake you up!" no small talk. Just "here's the problem, bye." Like they are timing her or something … Not really a relationship.

God's like that:   A lot of times our relationship with God is like the lady at the fire alarm company, once a month, only in a crisis, simple request for help, then "see ya!" ..  Not really a relationship. To me a relationship is an everyday, several times a day, thing. Some people think that when you talk to God you have to be dressed up, be in a "Holy" place, speak in Ole English, and have some kind of pain in a place you can't quite reach. I think of it the same way I talk to PK (my wife). I have a relationship with her. I roll over in bed, bed head, crinkled up face, half asleep, bad breath, and say "what are you going to do today?" Not "Oh great wife, mother of my children, keeper of my food, has thou a plan?" I talk to her "Normal", so does she. It's a relationship. Do you really have to set aside time to talk to God? Sure you can, it's not a bad thing. But I don't tell PK that I need to talk to her for 5 min at 7:45am, go ahead and put that in your calendar. I talk to her all the time, 5 or 6 times a day, it's a relationship. Why not do God that way?  Are you so focused that's you're missing the good stuff?  If PK is gone, out of town or something, I'm a mess. I depend on her for tons of stuff. If she's gone, I can't find anything, I don't show up at places I'm supposed to be, everything is out of sync, something is missing and I can't figure out what it is till she gets back. Same thing with God, if he's not there, I'm out of sync, something is missing. It's supposed to be a relationship.

I know I put my underwear someplace??? Where's PK?


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

I love pie. If you didn't know, pie is the hottest thing going in the food world right now. You would almost think it was a new idea. I still love it. Breakfast, lunch or dinner. PLUS it's easy!!!  You almost can't screw this up. This is Mario Batali's favorite BlackBerry pie. I'm going to make it easier for you. We're going to call this a "Rustic" pie. Any time you mess up a pie you can call it "Rustic" and everybody will say "That's way cool. I like rustic"  We don't really care what a pie looks like, we just care what it tastes like. You can make this in a pie pan or if you want to be more "Rustic", like I do, make it in an iron skillet.

Mario Batali's favorite "Rustic" BlackBerry pie


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup solid vegetable shortening, cold!! (Crisco.. get the package that has sticks like butter.. use 2 sticks).. This is the same stuff your Grandmother used.

5 tablespoons ice water


2 pints blackberries (1 1/2 pounds)

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Be sure your Crisco is cold from the fridge!! In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and salt. Add the shortening (Crisco)  and, using a pastry cutter or 2 knives or a fork or your hands, cut/rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal (the reason you want to not use your hands is because you want the Crisco to stay cold and the heat from your hands melts it.. so if you use your hands, like I do, be quick!.. Then when you finish put the bowl in the fridge for 10 min so the Crisco cools. Cold Crisco makes flaky crust.)

Add the ice water (ice water keeps the Crisco cold = flaky crust) and stir with a fork until the dough is moistened. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather it into a ball. Knead the dough 2 or 3 times, just until it comes together (that's all!! 2 or 3 times.. be quick.. This is not bread. If you knead it too much it will be tough and you will melt your Crisco.) Flatten into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. (This chills the Crisco and relaxes the dough = light flaky crust.)

You can use a 9-inch pie pan or a spring-form pan or a tart pan or an Iron skillet to do this. Even a cookie sheet works.. anything you can put in the oven.

Spray your pan with Pam so you don't have to tear it up to get it out of the pan..

Preheat the oven to 375°. Let the dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll out the disk of dough to a 16-inch round (really roll it to 1/8 inch thick. Don't worry too much about the size. Put your rolling pin on one side and roll the dough up on to the rolling pin then unroll the dough on top of your pan/skillet. Just lay the whole thing on top of the pan/skillet. (if you are doing this on a cookie sheet, just lay it in the middle, don't worry if it hangs over the side) Then lifting the sides, go around and slide the crust down into the pan/skillet to the bottom. You will have some overhang. Don't stretch the dough, slide it in. You will have wrinkles all around the edge, don't worry about it! You should have a bunch of dough hanging over the edge. Remember this is "Rustic" so you don't have to be neat..

Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir the blackberries with the sugar, flour and lemon juice, lightly mashing a few berries; scrape into the prepared pie crust and sprinkle the butter cubes on top.

(If you are doing this on a cookie sheet put the filling in the middle of the dough and fold the dough over. Got to be quick!)

Now fold the overhanging dough over the berries. Like a big jelly donut. Just flop it over. If it seems kinda flat, don't worry about it. It will be great!

Bake the pie in the center or top of the oven (this is so you don't get super-hot spots on the bottom of your crust from your oven coil going off and back on) for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is bubbling. If necessary, cover the edge with foil for the last few minutes of baking (this will keep the crust from burning if it gets done sooner than the fruit). Let the pie cool for at least 4 hours before serving. The baked pie can stand at room temperature overnight, but the fridge is better.

To serve it, just slide it out of the pan on to a cutting board. If you used a spring-form pan, un-clamp it and slide it out. If it doesn't slide out, especially in an Iron skillet, do this: in one motion flip the skillet upside down and slam it down on to the cutting board. The pie will be upside down on the cutting board. Flip it back over if you want or leave it. This is "Rustic". Looks great doesn't it! .. easy-pesy!

"Rustic" is cool! Looks good, tastes good, forget all that fancy Martha Stewart junk. Let her do all that crimping and egg-washing. I like "Rustic" 


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 9:03 AM