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This Week

Maybe Airlines

I was trying to fly to Chicago a few years ago, booked on a flight to leave Sunday night at 7:20pm. I was going to a conference on how to save energy. It was all day Monday and all day Tuesday. The conference started at 8am Monday so I thought I needed to get there Sunday night. When I booked the flight I was trying to be a good Memphian and fly on the airline that had a hub in Memphis. The name of the airline starts with a "D" and has five letters, I'll let you figure it out. About 4 pm I started getting ready to leave to go to the airport when I got an email saying the flight had been delayed till 9:20pm. I didn't think much of it, just meant I would be in Chicago at 11pm instead of 9pm, no big deal. It got to be 7pm and we headed for the airport. Got through the security check, put my shoes back on, got a cup of coffee, opened up the Sunday paper and settled in to wait for the plane. At 8pm they announced that the plane had been delayed again and was now going to leave at 10:09pm, it was coming from Boston. Ok, I can go 45 more minutes, still no big deal. There were maybe 40 people waiting there with me, some of them were starting to get a little tired. We waited as some of the people started telling stories about other problems they had had with this same airline.  At 9:30pm they announced that the flight had been canceled. Why?  Was it not coming at all?  No, it was still coming.  Was there a mechanical problem?  Nope, no mechanical problems.  Well why was it canceled?   "The pilots had run out of hours."  ..We heard it on the airline guy's radio and then the man told us that. The pilots can only fly so many hours and then they have to stop, safety first. So I guess they were going to be half way to Chicago and run out. As they were telling us this, the plane pulled up to the terminal. I was getting tired too but I thought "Ok, they'll call 2 more pilots and schedule the flight for 2am or something like that."   They told everybody to line up and they would issue new tickets. The first guy swiped his old ticket and a new one popped up. The airline guy said "There you go sir, 7:30 tomorrow". The guy said "7:30 tomorrow morning?" and the airline guy said "No 7:30 tomorrow night." The place went nuts! One woman said she had already lost one day of vacation when they did this on her flight down from Chicago and now she was going to miss a day of work on the flight back. One man had his 91 year old grandmother with him who needed to take her prescription the next morning, which was in Chicago. On and on, story after story… They offered hotel vouchers and meal vouchers, but that didn't really make anybody happy. I just sat down and waited, it was going to be a while getting all these people re-booked. All I could think was "That's the best you've got? You're going to give up that easy? You're content to make 40 people mad? And all you can say is "Oh Well, we'll try to get you out tomorrow, maybe!" … That's the best you got??" Remember Memphis was a hub for this airline. This was home base. They don't have 2 more pilots at home base? Maybe there was no time to get 2 more pilots? Really? Remember what time they sent me the email saying the plane would be late? 4pm! .. Is 6 hours enough time to get 2 pilots there? ….. They finally figured out how to get most of us out by 2:20pm the next day.. I went back home. The next day I was real close to canceling the whole thing, I was already going to miss half of the conference but I thought "Just because the airline doesn't hold up their part of the deal doesn't mean that I don't hold up my part". I had people counting on me, I had told people I would be there. I wasn't going to let somebody else's failure or lack of commitment, determine mine. … I was going get there or die trying..

God's like that: I can see him yelling at me like an old football coach "Mack, is that all you've got? You're going to give up already? That's the best you got?" .. Knowing he has to push me to do my best, he has to yell at me when I give up, he has to hold me up when I lose my grip … Don't give up, even if God has to yell at you to get your attention. Never give up, God is right there with you ..

I wonder if "Maybe Airlines" cares if next time I fly on "Real Airlines"? .. Maybe?   

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

Cooking at Home Continued …

This is from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen, one of the greatest cookbooks ever written…

Oaxacan Seared Cheese with Tomato & Green Chile

1 pound plum tomatoes
1 thick slice of white onion
2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 large Poblano Chili
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp salt
Several sprigs of cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp veg oil
1 pound Mexican queso fresco cheese, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slabs.
You can get this cheese at Whole Foods ..

For the sauce:
Put your skillet over medium heat and place a piece of foil over most of the surface and place the tomatoes and onion on the foil (the foil protects the tomatoes from sticking to the hot pan). Put the garlic in the pan, off the foil. Roast everything turning occasionally until tomatoes and onion and garlic are soft with a few black spots, about 15 min. Roast the Chili directly over the open flame until blackened all over, about 5 min.  Cool everything until you can handle it.. peel the tomatoes, chili, garlic. Pull out the stem pod from the chili and wash out the seeds. Slice in 1/8 inch strips. In a food processor make a course puree from the onions and garlic. Then add the tomatoes and process to a thick course sauce. Transfer to a bowl and add the chili strips, broth, salt and chopped cilantro…

To finish:
Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it is very hot lay the cheese slices in a single layer, leave room to move around. Brown the cheese on both sides for a minute or two..this goes fast!!! If you got the right cheese it will sear and get crispy, but not melt. Remove and keep warm..

Immediately add the sauce to the skillet and cook quickly for 2 - 3 min. Taste, season with salt, spoon over the cheese. Garnish with more cilantro leaves .. server it now! …

After you get the hang of it, this is really easy…




Posted by Mack Oates at 09:31