Mack's Corner

This Week

She Smelled like bacon

The things I remember most are smells. The "Old book" smell in my grandmother's house, the hospital smell where my son was born and spent 3 months with the best nurses in the world. The smell of Aqua Velva aftershave that my dad wore every day. The smell of a broken bottle of Geritol that was always there in the wholesale drug company I worked in every summer. Breathe it in and youth returns…

I got a new cookbook. The first recipe was BBQ Chicken, mashed potatoes, greens, cornbread, and strawberry shortcake. The idea of Greens and Cornbread reminded me of those summers I worked at McKesson and Robbins, the wholesale drug company that smelled like Geritol. Inside the building (corner of 2nd and Gayoso) everything smelled like Geritol and boxes. But outside around 10am it smelled like cornbread and greens. The Tennessee Hotel was across the street on 2nd and on the side of the building was a little restaurant that served lunch every day. They had the usual stuff, meatloaf, fried chicken, pot roast, mac and cheese, but the best thing they had and the thing the cook was most proud of was greens and cornbread. I had it every day. I think the deal on the vegetable plate was 4 vegetables for $1.50. Tea was extra and cornbread was on the table. It seems like the cooks name was Birdie or Berty … something like that. She was a very large woman who always wore a hairnet, an apron and those calf high stockings rolled down just a little. She smelled like bacon and called me "Honey" or "Hun" for short. She was as sweet as she could be. I didn't even have to order when I walked in, I just sat down and food appeared… 2 servings of greens, corn, mashed potatoes, cornbread, tea, and a bottle of maple syrup.. hot sauce was on the table. The Maple syrup was for dessert. You put 4 pieces of cornbread on your plate and pour maple syrup on it, no charge, one of the best things I've ever eaten. Sometimes she would stand there at the table and talk while I ate, tell me about her family or gossip around the hotel. But I think that was just an excuse so she could watch me eat her food. I told her everyday how good it was and she always gave me one of those "Scary Aunt Ethel, pull your face in to her neck" kind of hugs and I always smelled like bacon when I got back to work…

God's like that: He loves to watch us enjoy the things he gives us, our kids, a family meal, maple syrup, a close friend. All of those things are just for us, he made them just for us. And the smells help us remember …

Maybe I'll get some Aunt Jemima Corn Meal and maple syrup on the way home, the cornbread recipe is on the back. I need to feel 18 again ..

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

First: Penzeys spices is open again!!!  418 Perkins Extended 440-8377 across the street from Booksellers(formerly Davis Kidd book store) by Cook and Love Shoes.. Yaaaaaay Go shop, keep them open in Memphis.

Wings Continued

Here's my second Wing recipe from my favorite Thai cookbook "True Thai" by Victor Sodsook.

BBQ Chicken Chiang Mai Style

15 - 20 Chicken Wings

1 small bunch of Cilantro

1 large Orange

3 1/2 tbsp of roughly chopped garlic

1 tbsp black pepper

1/2 tbsp salt

1 bottle/can of beer (12oz), allowed to go flat … i.e. open it an hour before you make this.


Sweet and Spicy dipping Sauce:

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp Chinese-style Chili-garlic sauce, preferably Lee Kum Kee Brand (also at Asian market on Ridgeway… this is by far the best!!)

For the chicken:

Cut off the roots of the cilantro and chop, stems and all. You should have about 3/4 cup. Trim the ends off the orange and slice in to 1/2 inch slices. Remove any seeds. Stack the slices and cut in to small cubes (skin and all). Combine the cilantro, orange, garlic, pepper, and salt in a food processor and puree to a rough-textured paste. With the motor still running pour in the beer through the feed tube. Process till smooth.

Put the wings in a large Ziplock bag and pour the marinade in on top. Marinate in the fridge over night. Turn occasionally…

Remove the chicken and discard the marinade. You can grill the wings or you can roast them in a 425 degree oven on a baking sheet for about 40 minutes, then put them under the broiler to crisp the skin.. (Don't leave if you put them under the broiler, they will burn quickly. Watch!)

For the Sweet and Spicy dipping Sauce:

Put the vinegar, Sugar, salt, Chili-garlic sauce in a pan and bring to a boil for 2 min. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes. Let it cool and serve at room temp. This will keep for several weeks. You can double this easy. This is great stuff and works on almost anything. I keep some in the fridge all the time …

This also works with any chicken parts, even whole chickens, just cut them up first.



Posted by Mack Oates at 10:51 AM