Friday, December 11, 2015

Don't Mess With Floridians

Florida guard dog
Photo courtesy of Ianaré Sévi
Where I live, in the not-takin'-nuthin'-offa'-nobody (that's our official motto, I think) state of Texas, we think we're pretty tough. It's not just the people, either; the whole place is hostile to its inhabitants. The wildlife is plain angry, bugs are huge, especially the stinging ones, and the weather tries to kill us all the time.

To stand a chance the citizens have developed a larger-than-life hostility of their own. Nobody but nobody transgresses on a Texan's property, and if they do they're quite likely to meet a herd of huge of dogs who are as angry as the rest of the animals.

But as it turns out, we're small potatoes compared to Florida. They guard their homes with alligators. Hungry ones.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Cavemen Ate Their Oats

Quaker and
Archaeologists have long fretted that ancient cave persons concerned about their cholesterol had few options. A steady diet of Mammoth steaks no doubt clogged their arteries quickly, leading to an early death.

But now comes news of a stunning paleolithic health breakthrough that, together with exercise and a healthy diet, was guaranteed to increase lifespan by decades -- not to mention helping with annoying irregularity!

Just like their modern counterparts, especially in Scotland, good little cave girls and boys sat down every morning to a hearty, steaming hollowed out rock of oatmeal.  Thus fortified they hopped on the  bronto-bus and headed off for a full day at hunting and gathering school.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

When Beeches Stop for Lunch

"Serves 'im right! Bloody humans... "
The trees of Ireland are evidently quite hungry. One was recently found to have eaten a corpse from the Middle Ages.  As if it wasn't enough to be beaten to death somehow, the poor fellow had to endure several hundred years of slowly passing through the alimentary canal (or whatever they have) of a beech tree. 

Life can truly be unfair sometimes.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

You (Almost Certainly) Missed It

If you happened to be in Namibia or the South Pole 8 hours ago as I write, and looked up, you would you would have seen a partial solar eclipse. But since you probably didn't, here's an artist's recreation:

Saturday, September 12, 2015

How to make a Waffle House Omelet

Since it's Saturday and who doesn't like a delectable omelet on the weekend, after all, I decided to reprint one of my most popular posts today:  Benefits From an Old Job.  It's all about my adventures as a Waffle House cook and (the most important part) how to make one of their world renowned Cheese Omelets, with hints on doing it even if you don't own an industrial strength milk shake mixer like they use. I hope  you like it!

*          *          *

Back when I was trying to save up money for college, I spent a year working 10-hour night shifts at the Waffle House in Columbus, Mississippi. Waffle House is something of an institution down south. As a transplanted Yankee I had never heard of the place until I was applying for jobs all up and down Highway 45.

There were several attractions to working there. For one, during your breaks they let you eat as much as you wanted of everything they had, making it the perfect job for a bottomless teenager.

When I started at Waffle House "everything" included steak, and I took full advantage of that rule, sometimes eating 3 or 4 steaks at a sitting. Sadly, after a while they changed this policy to exclude free steak. I have no direct proof, but I've always harbored the suspicion that somehow I was responsible.

In addition to the steak, we were open 24 hours a day (except from 3 to 4, when we washed the place out with a garden hose), and this gave me the chance to see every slice of life there was in a medium-sized Mississippi town. After 1 a.m. the patrons of Cricket's Disco wandered in after their favorite establishment closed for the night. This may have been their wisest choice since we had coffee and they often had put away too much Cricket party beverages.

When dawn broke the Cricket's people were gone but a regular set of farmers, factory workers, and other hard laborers had taken their place, patiently waiting on their coffee, eggs, and grits. And all through the night, truckers pulled in and out, eating steaks and burgers, swilling down our coffee, and telling about where they just were and where they were headed.

Omelet Ambrosia
And then there were the omelets. Even though they are called the Waffle House, they are probably even better known for their delicious, fluffy omelets. It's amazing that simple eggs and cheese can taste so darned good!

Now, my hot, arduous, but filling time as a Waffle House cook is yielding extra dividends. In my neverending quest to get paid for writing stuff I am currently marketing my services to a company that produces, among other things, how-to's and useful information. Rather than submitting an older sample of my work I decided to put something new together over the weekend. As I cast about for an idea while making my Saturday breakfast, the idea struck me to tell the world how they to can make these heavenly omelets.

A little research revealed that Waffle House had actually released their secret recipe on the Web, so I was able to have a check on the accuracy of my egg making memory.

The results can be found below. Enjoy your next breakfast!


How to Make a Fluffy Waffle House-style Cheese Omelet

With over 1600 restaurants, the Waffle House chain is a fixture throughout the southern United States, and one menu item they are particularly known for is their cheese omelet. Many people say it’s the best omelet they’ve ever tasted. Fortunately, I once cooked for Waffle House and they are not stingy with their omelet formula. In this article I will show you how to make a Waffle House-style omelet right in your kitchen.

First, assemble your supplies. You will need:

3 large Grade A eggs
2 slices of American cheese
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
A 9 inch, light weight, non-stick pan
A whisk, fork, or blender

A medium-sized bowl
A small metal spatula

The key to creating a fluffy omelet is whipping the eggs until the mixture becomes foamy. Waffle House cooks do this using an industrial-strength milk shake mixer, but you can accomplish the same thing at home with standard kitchen implements.

Break the 3 eggs into a bowl large enough to keep them from spilling out while you whip them. Using a whisk or fork, beat the eggs vigorously for a full minute until they become frothy. If you prefer using a blender, mix your eggs on a medium setting for one minute. Unlike some omelet recipes, no milk or other ingredients should be added. The mixture is made up entirely of beaten eggs.

Slowly pour 2 tablespoons of oil into your pan over high heat. Let the oil warm until you see small ripples on the surface, then add the whipped eggs.

It is important to let the eggs set with as much frothiness as possible. The preferred method for doing this is to hold the pan over the heat and slowly rotate it in a circular motion so the outer edges of the omelet move toward the center. However, you can get the same result by gently pushing the solid edges toward the liquid middle with a small metal spatula.

Once the eggs become firm it is time to turn them over. Waffle House cooks are trained to flip them gracefully in the pan. Although this is the most effective method it takes practice and can result in painful grease burns on your hand and wrist. Unless you are a pro, you may want to simply use your spatula to flip the omelet over.

After it has been flipped, allow the omelet to cook for about 30 seconds. It is crucial not to disturb it too much during this phase. Otherwise the omelet can “fall,” just like a souffle, and you will loose all the fluffiness you’ve been laboring so hard for. Very slowly rotating the eggs is all you need to do at this point. Then, after 30 seconds, flip your omelet back.

You are almost there. Let the eggs cook for 30 more seconds. While you wait, take 2 slices of American cheese and place them on the omelet in a double diamond formation. When 30 seconds is up, fold the omelet so that the cheese is covered and slide it onto a plate.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Mike the Wonder Chicken

Once there was a chicken named Mike who got along quite well without his head. No, really! Well then, watch this PBS video if you don't believe me.

 Geeze! Skeptics.

Now that you're a believer and will never doubt me again, be sure to drop by Fruita, Colorado if you're in the vicinity next May and take part in the bacchanalian revel they put on yearly in honor of our favorite headless chicken. His decapitated ghost will thank you for it!