Mack's Corner

This Week

The Panic Button

Several years ago I got to be part of granting a wish to a "Make-A-Wish" kid. They talked about it on the radio, I even got interviewed on the radio. The girl was 10 (maybe) and had asked for a Club House as her 1st wish, but she knew that was a little over the top and didn't really expect that. Her 2nd choice was a Big Screen TV and 3rd was a computer. The Make-A-Wish people started asking around about how they could make the club house happen. They found some money to pay for it, and a builder who got all excited and carried away, and a bunch of donations of wood and stuff to build this little house.  Then everybody got crazy. They built a 200 square foot palace complete with heat, AC, a small kitchen, den, TV, VCR, fridge. It was way better than the house my wife and I lived in the first 10 years we were married.  They had it down at the bottom of a small hill about 50 yards away all covered up. When they uncovered it, she ran down the hill into the house, then around the house, then back in, back out, back in, she was excited to say the least. If she had smiled any bigger we would have had to put her in traction. She couldn't believe it, her mom couldn't believe it, half the people there couldn't believe it. I'm sure she slept in it the first night, maybe the first week, it did have a bed.

Later that same day, that night, I let a guy use my truck to go do something. He had to be back by 6:15pm. At 6pm he was still half way to town. When he got to here, instead of parking on the sidewalk or someplace close, he parked in the back of the lot and ran in from there (he's young). He got here in time, everything was OK. I got my keys and didn't think anything about it. At the end of the night I finished locking up, everybody was gone, I walked out to go home, no truck.  He never told me where he parked it. So I thought "Where would I park it?" I walked over behind the chapel, no truck, down by the children's building, no truck, up in the top parking lot, no truck. Now I'm worried, and it's dark, 8:45pm. So I started walking around the church and about every 100 feet I would push the "Panic" button on my remote lock thing, hoping that I would see lights flashing. I walked around the whole church and I'm in the very back lot 1/4 mile from the church and its nowhere. What did he do with it??? OK I'll push the Panic button one more time, after that I guess I'm spending the night, maybe I can order a pizza and the pizza guy will help me find it. All of sudden I see head lights coming at me, a horn honking like crazy. Was I on the express way? Had I stumbled out in the street? Nobody would find me for days!! What would I tell my wife? "Sorry I couldn't find my truck, I don't know why I was looking for it on the expressway"  Then I realized it wasn't moving and there was nobody inside. It was my truck. I had pushed the panic button a hundred times and it worked. I about scared my own self to death!!!! I got in the truck, sat for a while, then drove home. Just another day.

God's like that. We're running around in the dark, pushing the panic button, thinking God has left us, thinking nobody cares. And when he shows us how close he is, it scares us and we want to dive out of the way.  The best part is that even though we never believed he would really take care of us, he gives us far more than we ever wanted. Why didn't I believe him?? God is good all the time and God is with us all the time, sometimes it's just hard to see.

Maybe someday they'll make a truck that comes to you like the Lone Ranger's horse. Who knew he was so futuristic?

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

There is no such thing as too many recipes for banana pudding. Some people make it with custard (crème anglaise) and some with pastry cream. The difference is adding some type of starch to make pastry cream. Either way works great but the crème anglaise is tricky. You have to get the mixture to 170 degrees but not above 180 or else you end up with sweet scrambles eggs. With pastry cream you add a starch which keeps you from getting scrambled eggs. You actually bring the mixture to a boil for maximum thickness and to cook out the starch taste. So its way easier and much harder to screw up. Most restaurants do it with pastry cream for this very reason. Plus who doesn't like pastry cream. This one uses pastry cream = Easy!!!  You could serve this cold with the warm crumble like the recipe says OR you could make the crumble first and serve the whole thing hot (winter banana pudding?) This does not have to get cold to be thick, it's thick right out of the pan.. ooooooooh

5 large egg yolks (crack an egg in your hands and let the white slip through your fingers.. keep the yolk)

1/4 cup cornstarch.. (This makes it be pastry cream)

1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar


2 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter 

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup vanilla wafer cookies (about 15), coarsely ground (pulse in a food processor about 4 times)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon(optional if you're a purist)

1 tablespoon melted butter

2 bananas, coarsely chopped

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the cornstarch, the 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.

Gradually whisk the milk into the egg yolks until smooth.

Transfer the pudding mixture to the saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, whisking, until the pudding is thick, about 4 minutes. (actually bring it to a boil and then cook for 2 min longer … don't burn it.. stir, stir, stir, stir .. turn the heat down)

Scrape the pudding into a bowl and whisk in the cold butter and vanilla. (Taste it now!! ITS HOT!  DON'T BURN YOURSELF!!!... Is that good or what?.... whew buddy!!!!.. this is chef's privilege!! Put a banana slice on a vanillia wafer and a spoonfull on top... Ya baby!! Normal people don't get to do this.) Cover with plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours. (be sure the plastic touches the pastry cream. Push it down right on top of the cream, edge to edge, no air bubbles below the plastic. This will keep the pastry cream from forming a crust on top.

Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the wafers, cinnamon, the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar and a pinch of salt. Stir in the melted butter. Spread the crumble on the prepared baking sheet; bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool.

Spoon the chopped bananas into bowls. Top with the pudding, sprinkle with the crumble and serve right away (before you eat it all!!! .. yummmmm)


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 9:14 AM