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Mack's Corner

This Week


When I was in college I had a Young Life Club at Kingsbury High School. Most of the kids road around in pickup trucks and chewed tobacco and spent all night driving through McDonalds. There were nights when it was like walking in to some kind of time warp that took you back to the fifties, a Back To The Future kind of experience. I could go sit in McDonalds any day, any time and see at least 15 of my kids there. One of them would say "Hey Mack, want to go for a ride?" and we would ride in his car up and down Summer Ave 4 or 5 times only to return to McDonalds. I knew just about every kid in the school, every teacher, every coach, every principal, every assistant principal… and a few parents. I had 4 guys that were my boys. Bill, John, Billy, and Marty. We did lots of stuff together. One day I finally got them to agree to come to a Friday morning bible study. It was a hard sell, but Bill's parents were so excited about the idea that his mom said we could have it at their house every time and that she would make breakfast for us. And not just any breakfast, It was bacon and eggs and homemade biscuits, even bacon cream gravy and coffee and fresh orange juice… It was great. The trick was getting the other 3 guys there. We had to start at 6am because they had to be at school by 7:30am. Even with the breakfast it was still hard to get three 17 year old guys out of bed at 5:30 in the morning. I knew I was going to have to call each one of them every week… So there I was, the first time we were supposed to meet, sitting by the phone, 5:30am and I'm getting ready to call somebody's house… Am I going to wake up the whole family? Is his Dad going to yell at me over the phone? Am I going to scare his mom?... You don't just call people at 5:30 in the morning.. but I did. I called Marty, his dad answered "Hey Mack, ready for me to go wake up Marty?" .. "Ya, Thanks" … "No problem, I'll get him out of here." …. I called Billy, his dad answered "Good morning! This must be Mack. I woke him up 30 minutes ago. He'll be there." … Then I called John. His dad answered and started laughing. "Hey Mack, this is great. I can't wait to go wake him up!" Then he started laughing again. Over the next 2 years I became good friends with all their dads. Sometimes we would talk for 5 or 10 minutes. They were always awake, always waiting for me.  The funny thing is that I never saw any of them face to face. I have no idea what any of them look like, but I know their voice….

God's like that: He's always awake, always waiting, always excited to talk to you… 

I've got an easy way to pray. Every time I wake up, I pray for all my friends. There's about 30 people on the list (really about 6 get most of the prayers). If I get sleepy, I go back to sleep, no big deal. If I wake up at 2am I run through the list again. Sometimes I find myself just talking to God and not really praying for anything, just talking. I'm not sure how that all works or if I ever change his mind by asking for things. But he says I do.… I've got too many people I love, not to ask…..


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

One of my best friends gave me an old Le Bonheur Club cookbook. The best thing about a cookbook like this is that it's filled with somebody's favorite recipes, usually family recipes that they make over and over. It's one of those things where you've got people sitting around a table and one says to the other "You should put your carrot cake recipe in there, I love that!" .. Then the other person says "That's a great idea, let me write it down right now before I forget." She's made it a thousand times.. So you know 2 things: It's got to be good and it's got to be easy…. Here's one I thought would be great on a cold night with a good movie… (I changed it a little so the ingredients were easy to find and you're not wasting stuff)

Fireside Corn Chowder

1/2 cup bacon diced (about 4 - 6 slices of your favorite bacon)

1 bell pepper diced (see below)

1 medium onion diced (see below)

1 head of celery diced (see below)

3 tbsp flour

2 cups of chicken stock (homemade is best, but canned or in a box will work just fine)

1 cup water

1 medium potato diced (see below)

1/4 tsp dried thyme (Penzey's or fresh works fine too)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 15oz can of whole kernel corn, drained (2 cups of frozen corn would work well too. Probably about as much as in a small bag. If you use frozen put it in a pan of boiling water for 2 min and drain or follw the directions to microwave it)

2 cups of milk

1 cup of heavy cream (if you want to skip the cream, just add another cup of milk)

2 tbsp parsley (fresh only… This is optional. If you don't have fresh, skip it)

Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (optional... you could add your favorite cheese)

Tabasco sauce or Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Fresh bread (optional)

A Blanket, a Big dog, a fireplace with a fire, an old movie (optional)

To dice a bell pepper first cut it in half from top to bottom. Pull out the seed cluster and wash. Then with the skin side down cut it into slices. Then turn the slices 90 degrees and cut across to dice..  Anytime you cut a vegetable that has a slick outer skin, cut it in half first, then slice it with the skin side down. This will keep your knife from sliding off and cutting you.

To dice celery first cut off the top ends, then the root end and wash. Nowt using the tip of your knife, lay 1 stalk on your cutting board with the flat side down (rounded side up). Then cut it in to ribs long ways so that you have 4 or 5 long skinny ribs of celery. Then with your fingers holding down the celery and thumb back out of the way, cut across the ribs to make a dice..

To dice a potato first peel it (unless you want to leave it on) then cut it in half lengthways. Take one of the halves and lay it on your cutting board flat side down. (Always try to create a flat side so it won't roll on you) Then cut it into strips lengthways. Holding it together with your fingers (thumb back out of the way) cut across the strips to make a dice.

To dice an onion first cut it in half from top to bottom leaving root end. Peel off the outer layer. The root end will hold the onion together while you cut. Make slices starting just above the root to the top. Then cut across the slices to make a dice. Trash the root..

To dice bacon first: leave it frozen. Cut it into 2 inch lengths. Then cut each length into strips, then across to a dice.    

Ok, all the prep work is done. After you practice a little you'll be able to do that in 5 min.

For the soup:

Cook the bacon on low heat, don't burn it. Remove the bacon from the pan, leave the grease.

Sprinkle the flour on to the grease and whisk in over medium heat. Cook for 2 min, DON'T LET IT BURN!!!. (This is a roux. It will thicken the soup. This is how a thousand Cajun recipes start: "oil and flour to make a roux, then add diced onion, bell pepper, and celery")

Now add the bell peppers, onion, celery to the pan and sauté until the onion is translucent about 4 min. Whisking constantly! (The vegetables will stop the roux from cooking).

Add the potatoes and cook 2 more min

Slowly Add the water and stock while you whisk it into the roux. Bring it to a boil. (Anything that thickens a sauce or soup like a roux or cornstarch has to be brought to a boil once to get it to maximum thickness. After that there is no need to ever boil it again.)

Add the thyme, salt, pepper and corn and simmer (not boil) until potatoes are tender.

Stir in the milk, then add enough cream to give it the right texture and creamy taste that you want.. Taste! Taste! Taste! .. Re-season with salt and pepper.. Stir in chopped parsley

(At this point another thing you could do is pour all of this into a food processor and puree it into a thick soup. Return it to the pan and re-season. Add more cream if you want. This will blend the flavors and make it look cool and make it easy to take to work because you can put it in a cup and drink it.)

Add the bacon back in.. Don't puree the bacon.

To serve: ladle into a bowl and grate fresh parmesan cheese over the top with a dash of Tabasco or Worcestershire and a big hunk of fresh bread…

One pan, 20 min and now you're really good with your knife.. This recipe will work with lots of different vegetables besides corn: butternut squash, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, beets…. etc


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 11:33 AM