Mack's Corner

This Week

Pearl Jam

I started my freshman year in college at Vanderbilt University in 1972. In the spring of 1973 they announced that a major concert was coming and that it would be free for all students. They said they had sent out a survey to all of the students asking them "If you could have any band in the world come to Vanderbilt, who would it be?"… This was 3 years after Woodstock, Richie Havens, John Sebastian, Creedence Clearwater, Sly & The Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby - Stills - Nash & Young, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Jeff Beck, Led Zeppelin, The Byrds, The Rolling Stones (Mick Jagger was 28), even Al Green was around. Who did they pick?  The Grateful Dead .. I only knew one song of their's "Truckin'"… that's it! I didn't know a single person who owned a Grateful Dead album, not one! I was stunned. The "Dead" didn't really have songs, they mostly just played music or they would play somebody else's songs (mostly Bob Dylan) and use that for the main part and then play all around it. There was no such thing as singing along because you had no idea where they were going. The weird thing about the band was that they had all of these followers who called themselves the "DeadHeads"(still do). They traveled everywhere with the band, hundreds of people who showed up at every concert. On the day of the concert I packed up some cokes and sandwiches and a blanket and walked over to this big field where the stage was set. I didn't go early because I wasn't really very interested, but these guys were famous and it was free, so I went. There was plenty of room, I was about 30 yards from the stage. There were maybe 200 students (out of 7000) and about 400 "Deadheads". I sat there for an hour or so and fell asleep. When I woke up I promise they were still playing the same song. There was no song, it was just non-stop, non-descript music. Like white noise. Most of the time the guys on stage didn't even face the audience or acknowledge that we were there. I went back to the dorm to do some work for a few hours and walked back through the concert on my way to dinner. They were still playing, who cares? .. I think it was the same song. The most boring concert I've ever been to…

Several years ago some of my friends wanted me to go to a Pearl Jam concert with them. Like the Dead, I only knew one of their songs and I was pretty un-interested. Also like the Dead they had followers who went to every concert. My friends were all excited so I went. We walked in to the indoor arena and it was packed, 20,000 people, with several thousand standing in the middle on the floor. As soon as the band appeared everybody stood and they did that the whole concert. The band played several songs, people cheered, some sang along.. standard concert, but It was good, I really liked it … On the stage they had this big light tower, about 30 feet high, that was a big metal box outline over and around the band, like a big frame. It was loaded with moving lights. During the first songs the lights changed colors, and moved from place to place, lighting up performers, just what you would expect. Then it happened!!! … While people were still cheering and yelling from the last song, Eddie Vedder, the lead singer, walked to the center of the stage, and with the band totally quiet, started playing the tune to "Better Man" on his acoustic guitar. The whole place suddenly got still as he sung the first verse. People were leaning forward and standing on their chairs. They were race horses waiting to burst out of the gate. I didn't know what was about to happen. Hearts were beating, hands were flexing, people were on their toes. Then the chorus: all of a sudden the lights flip over and point to the audience and 20,000 people sing the chorus as loud as they can, fists in the air, lunging forward, singing the anthem like it the last song they will ever sing. Then the lights flip back and the room is quiet and Vedder sings the second verse… The lights flip again and the 20,000 erupt in one voice, this time almost angry, shouting the words… "She lies and says she's in love with him, can't find a better man.. She dreams in color, she dreams in red, can't find a better man …can't find a better man …can't find a better man"  People screaming the words, almost in tears, hugging each other, arms around each other's shoulders as they sing, like some kind of battle has been won…. One of the most amazing things in my life ….

God's like that: He didn't put us here to just go through the motions, take a nap, live 80 years and die. He put us here for a reason. He put us here to be the person who sits in a hospital with a friend. He put us here to be the person who shows up with food when a friend needs help. He put us here to be the person who prays. He put us here to be the person who never leaves, never gives up, never stops being a friend no matter what the other person does or thinks or says. He put us here to be one voice to the person sitting next to you…. "The Lord has promised good to me … His word my hope secures … He will my shield and portion be .. as long as life endures. (Amazing Grace 4th verse)"

Maybe I'll go to the next Pearl Jam concert ..


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

This is from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc cookbook, a great cookbook for anybody, especially beginners. As usual with his cookbooks it is a really good idea to simply read the book. There are a lot of things to learn even if you never cook a single recipe. Michael Ruhlman actually wrote it, so the writing is really good.

Here's his Blueberry cobbler:

For the Topping:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder (Clabber Girl, Calumet)

1/2 tsp baking soda (Arm & Hammer)

6 tbsp unsalted butter at room temp (take it out of the fridge 45 min before you need it)

3/4 C sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 C buttermilk

For the Filling:

4 pints (8 cups) of blueberries … this could be any fresh berry or sliced peaches, apples, figs, plums. Anything you would put in a fruit pie. If the berries are in season, they should be cheap. If not use something else.

1/4 C sugar

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tbsp grated lemon zest (go to the grocery store and buy a "zester/Microplane grater" (amazon $12) or use a vegetable peeler and peel off the zest, then chop it very, very fine.

For the Cinnamon Sugar:

1 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350

For the Topping:

Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda and set aside.

Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with a paddle attachment till light and creamy. Scrape the sides down and beat in the eggs one at a time. Then add the flour mixture in 3 batches while adding half the buttermilk after each batch. Scrape down the sides and mix again till all ingredients are combined.

For the filling:

Put the berries in a large bowl and toss with the sugar, flour, zest. Then spread the berry mixture in an 11 inch or 9 by 13 inch baking dish/pan.

Spoon mounds of the batter over the berries leaving space between the mounds (in an 11 inch square pan you would have 3 rows of 3 mounds).

Combine the "Cinnamon sugar" and sprinkle over the top.

Bake for about 40 min, or until the juices are bubbling and the topping is golden brown and cooked through. If the top becomes too brown before the berries are cooked, lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top..

Let Cobbler stand for at least 10 min before serving. It will be very hot!!!

Really easy, really good, really cheap, really healthy.. and my biggest rule for any dessert = it's great for breakfast. Put some of this in a bowl, pour a little cream on top and you've got breakfast for kings..



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 9:45 AM