Mack's Corner

This Week

399 Screws plus 1

I was putting lockers in a few years ago. When I ordered the lockers the girl said I could pay $100 to have them assembled and then  spend more money on the shipping fee or I could put them together myself. How hard could it be? Right? . She said it was easy, like she had just put some together that morning. When they got here I opened the box and knew I was in trouble. On the top was a bag of 400 screws. This was going to be like putting that bike together at midnight on Christmas. Or the Space Shuttle!!! I thought I should look through the instructions that came with it, maybe see what size socket wrench I needed, get the big picture. Here's all the instructions: "Assemble the lockers section at a time. See Fig 1." ... That's it? Fig 1 was a picture of the assembled lockers!!! 400 screws! .. So I started. The first thing I noticed was that all of the screws were smooth on top, no slot, not phillips, no star, smooth. So there was no way to get the screws tight or back out if I messed up . The parts were pretty simple, a bunch of shelves, top/bottoms, sides, backs, fronts and a lot of screw holes. follow the instructions: section at a time .. 1 back, 2 sides, 5 shelves, 1 top, 1 bottom, 1 front = 1 section.. At first I didn't want to tighten anything just to be sure things fit together, but then I had to, to hold it together. Somehow the last piece to go on was a front that went the whole length of the lockers and it was in the middle. I knew I was screwing up when I left the middle piece for last because it had to get screwed on from both sides, but that's the way it goes. I screwed in one side and of course the holes on the other side didn't match. I'm in the brute force school of machine repair, so if something doesn't fit, I just need a bigger hammer. About 8 whacks and most of the holes lined up. I got every screw in except the last one. For some reason none of the 3 holes that were supposed to line up for that last screw were even close. How could that be if all the other holes lined up? Who Knows? I thought about drilling out the hole, but I was never going to get a drill in there, so I left it. It occurred to me that the reason that the people who made the lockers were not worried about the smooth head screws getting real tight was that there were 400 screws in it. It didn't matter if it was tight or if I left the last screw out, there 399 other screws in there holding it together that were mostly tight. That's probably 300 more than it really needed. Not a single one had to be perfect, because there were so many. There was no way it was coming apart, ever!

God's like that: We have something go wrong in our lives and we worry over and over about that one thing and we wonder why God hasn't fixed it. God knows that there a 399 other things that are just as important and 399 other ways that he's taking care of us. The Bible says nothing can separate us from the love of God. Maybe we're connected and loved 399 ways .. You don't need to be perfect, just connected .

I think I'm going to add "locker Installer" to my resume. If I could do it 2 more times I might not even need a hammer ..  


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

Most people think that great Chefs always do complicated dishes. One of the things that made Joel Robuchon famous is "Puree De Pommes De Terre" = Mashed potatoes.. You may wonder why a great chef would have a recipe for something as simple as mashed potatoes in his cookbook? I don't know. But Gordon Ramsay has one and so does Thomas Keller, so I guess they are trying to say even something simple can be something great... But you have to do it right, no skipping steps. (Notice the RED. That's really part of the actual recipe. This is the stuff that makes them great!)

Here's Joel Robuchon's "Puree De Pommes De Terre"

2 lb baking potatoes (Russets)

1 1/4 cups of milk

16 tbsp butter (1 cup) unsalted, cut in to 16 pieces

Salt to taste

Scrub the potatoes, don't peel them. Put them in a pan and cover them with salted water (1 tbsp salt per quart of water) by at least an inch. Simmer uncovered fork tender, about 30 minutes. Drain as soon as they are cooked, don't let them sit in the water.

In another pan bring the milk to a simmer and set aside.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and pass them through the finest grid of a food mill OR get a potato ricer (Target $17) OR put them in a food processor and run it on high for several minutes. Put them in a pan over low heat and stir with a wooden spoon for 4 - 5 minutes to dry them out. Now add 12 Tbsp of butter, one piece at a time, being sure each piece is incorporated before you add the next. It should be fluffy and light. Then slowly add the about 3/4 of the milk in a thin stream, stirring vigorously to keep the milk incorporated in to the potatoes as you go. Pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve (this part is optional, but it really helps refine the potatoes.). Stir.. if the potatoes seem too stiff or heavy add some more butter & milk, stirring at the same time, like before. Taste for salt .. The idea here is to have very "potatoey" potatoes and very smooth refined potatoes . The food-mill/ricer and stirring the potatoes over heat to get the moisture out is what makes the big difference . World class Mashed Potatoes .. Simple




Posted by Mack Oates at 11:45 AM