Mack's Corner

This Week

Dr. Wong

I had a professor at Memphis State, Dr. Wong, who turned out to be a good friend. When I switched major's from math to secondary education I had to take first year algebra as a requirement. As a math major for 2 years I had already taken 3 semesters of calculus and numerical analysis along with computer programming in both classes and several other things. But it was required. So there I was in a class with 30 girls who were going to be elementary school teachers and were also taking first year algebra as a requirement. I was going to make an easy "A" and be in a class with 30 girls.. How could that be bad? .. Then it got better! Dr. Wong handed out index cards and asked everybody to write down every math class we had ever taken starting with 9th grade math. Most everybody wrote one line "9th grade Math" … I filled out both sides of the card. As he was looking through the cards at his desk he stopped, looked up and said "Where is Mr. Oates?".. I raised my hand. Then he said "Why are you in this class?" .. I said "Secondary ed requirement." .. he nodded and continued looking through the cards while  we watched. Then he quickly stood up and walked to the middle of the room pointed to his left and said "Everybody on this side of the room, if you have a problem, you ask me." Then pointed to the right.. "Everybody on this side of the room , if you have a problem, you ask Mr. Oates." .. I had just been made a full professor.  I was team teaching first year algebra with Dr. Wong. Not only was I going to make an "A", but the girls were going to ask me to come to them .. it was great fun …. He later taught me Probability, not as much fun. The first 2 weeks I was all over it, I knew everything. Then it got hard. I understood it OK, but it never really clicked. When he started really talking about how it worked and why you would solve one problem one way and another differently he could get over my head really fast. I had to ask lots of questions and stay after class and ask more questions. We spent a lot of time together to get through that class. The good part was that I didn't really have to understand probability for Dr. Wong to be my friend.

God's like that. Just when you think you've got him all figured out he gets bigger, more complex. I used to think I knew everything I needed to know about God, I could answer any question you had. That was when I was young and had no sense. I've quit trying to understand God. I don't read the Bible for facts anymore, I read it to listen to God talk and hope that he will say something to me. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. The point is that sometimes he does. Prayer works, sometimes it's slow, sometimes overnight.… I get panic emails from people wanting me to pray for something. I wonder if they think God won't show up unless we call him up and tell him where he needs to be.  I doubt he needs much direction from me. So why does prayer work? Why is it that there are times that God does what we ask? Because it gives us hope, and it gives us a relationship with God. We want God to be efficient at solving problems: "Here's what I need…thanks …see ya." God doesn't want to be efficient, he wants us to be in a relationship, one that is so close that we tell him our problems even if we don't expect him to fix them. Like a best friend that sits up with you all night talking on the phone, talking about all the things that make you happy, all the things that make you hurt, all the things that make you change. When I tell my wife PK things that make me hurt, I don't always expect her to fix it, but I do always expect her to care. Why is God different?

I think I can still do 9th grade math .. maybe?


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

I love breakfast especially from Great chefs. Jean-Georges Vongerichten is one of America's great chefs. His restaurants are mostly in New York.  Here's his simple "Poached Eggs with Parmesan and Smoked Salmon Toasts" … anybody can make this … what I want you to see is that breakfast doesn't have to be bacon and eggs with toast and jelly. Have some imagination .. Eggs and tomatoes are great. How about an omelet with leftover pork chops from last night's dinner or pan fry last night's spinach salad and add that to your omelet. If you've got leftover tomato sauce, put it in a small skillet, break 2 eggs on top and put the whole thing in the oven till the eggs are set. Sprinkle with cheese and eat it right out of the skillet …  Here's Jean-Georges recipe: 

Poached Eggs with Parmesan and Smoked Salmon Toasts

Four 1/2-inch-thick slices of sourdough bread, each slice cut into four 4-by-1/2-inch rectangles

Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

2 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into 8 long strips

4 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 425°.

Fill a medium skillet with water and bring to a boil.

Put the bread on a baking sheet and brush all over with olive oil. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until crisp. Reserve 8 toasts.

Push the remaining 8 toasts on the baking sheet close together and sprinkle the Parmesan on top in a thick layer. Bake for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Wrap the smoked salmon around the remaining 8 toasts.

Reduce the heat under the skillet to moderately low so the water simmers. One at a time, break the eggs into a small bowl and pour them into the simmering water. Cook until the whites are just firm and the yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to paper towels and gently blot dry.

Put each egg in a small, warmed bowl. Serve immediately with the Parmesan and smoked salmon toasts.


This one is from Neal Fraser. His restaurant is Grace Restaurant in Los Angeles.. This is a standard omelet .. add anything you like.. 

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Omelets

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thickly sliced

1 small shallot, very finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 large eggs

1 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

In a skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 7 minutes.

Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Crack eggs into a medium bowl, season with salt and pepper and beat with a whisk.

In a nonstick or iron skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Whisk the eggs again and add them to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat, lifting the edges with a spatula to allow the uncooked eggs to seep underneath, until the bottom of the omelet is golden and the top is nearly set, about 4 minutes.

Spoon the filling down the center of the omelet and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Using a rubber spatula, fold the sides over the filling to enclose it completely. Slide the omelet onto a large plate and cut it in half; serve immediately.


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 10:56 AM