Saturday, February 13, 2016

Doing It the Right Way

It is certainly creative!

How does one decide that there is only one right way to do things, which implies all the other ways are wrong? I think that only leads one to believe that someone with that viewpoint is rather narrow-minded. Why would you not just consider all of the other ways just alternative methods to do a task or undertaking? Could you not see that some would be better than others and many would be done to your satisfaction? Maybe one would rise to the top and be considered the best way to do that, but you could hardly just call it the right way of doing that activity.

Let’s look at one particular task in light of this concept. Is there a right way to cook bacon? There are several ways of cooking bacon that will all give good results because anyone who likes bacon knows this to be true. You can cook it in frying pan (some folks insist on a cast iron one), in a microwave (between plain white paper towels on a microwave safe plate is good), in the oven (on a cookie sheet between two sheets of parchment paper or on tinfoil), under the broiler (on a broiling pan to catch the drippings) and on a griddle on the stove or barbecue (similar to the frying pan method). And I’m sure you could come up with even more ways to cook bacon successfully.

So one could say that all is left to resolve is which one or more methods are better suited to your way of doing things or your requirements at that particular point in time. Some approaches are better for larger batches cooked at one time, while others are appropriate for smaller lots (some folks would ask why would you want a small batch of bacon?) and some methods allow you to collect the drippings after cooking while others make that a little more difficult. Some require more clean-up after the fact than others.

So can you honestly say that there is only one right way to cook bacon? I think the simple answer is that there is more than one way to do things right which could imply that the others are just wrong. Jase Robertson would often say “That’s just wrong” but that is just done for television since he is smart enough to accept there is more than one way to catch a frog. He apparently refers to himself as “a frog’s worst nightmare”. Some folks might say they never cook bacon and that is a personal choice. It should be considered that this viewpoint is neither right nor wrong.

And like cooking bacon another question a Canadian like me might ask is there only one right way to shoot a hockey puck? You could use a wood stick (if you can still find one), a laminate stick or a composite stick (if you are wealthy enough to afford those things) and you could shoot it forehand, backhand (if the stick blade doesn’t have too much curve), wrist shot, flick shot, slap shot, snapshot, one-timer, cannonading drive (thank you Danny Gallivan)… And the list can go on for some time. Mostly I shoot the puck poorly and that is one of many reasons I tried to play goal (the major one was a great respect for Johnny Bower and also the reason I hung up the pads).

So is there just one right religion, nationality, political party, hamburger, soft drink, beer, vacation place, sport, music genre, way to hang a roll of toilet paper, hairstyle, acting method, and way to poop? Try googling “right way to” and you will see a whole bunch of listings for narrow-minded folks that insist that the subject matter has a solitary way of being done to qualify as the right way of doing it.

I strongly suggest you avoid folks who insist that there is a right way to do things and find the folks that accept that there are several ways that you can do things and some are possibly considered better than the others just based on their viewpoint. And you could classify that viewpoint as tolerance, open-mindedness, progressiveness, permissiveness and even liberalism. It is interesting that I got most of the synonyms for tolerance here from a thesaurus which is a book based on alternatives.

Some folks have a very small outlook on life and that is sort of wrong really but I guess it works for them. I think it leaves a lot of room up there for air instead of possibilities.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Wisdom Defined by Me

Wisdom taught me to "borrow" from Google and adjust it

Simply stated, it is whatever works best for you and is developed over time as you find out what works and what really doesn’t do so well.

My more recent growth in wisdom has come from the judicial use of Google and sorting out what works for me and what I really don’t think is much help. So if I don’t know what I need to know, I just “google” it to try to find a better solution to my problem (do an Internet search).

Take this Facebook post as an example of someone who will eventually get wisdom.
I broke my phone last week and lost a lot of my contacts, could everyone please send me a text with your name so I can add you back? 
You would think that after a number of times losing this information that one would create a backup in case of some mishap. I know I did this a lot in my working days for contacts since you make a lot of them in the sales and marketing field. And I didn’t have a cell phone since they weren’t available on the open market as yet. So I also carried some spare change to use a payphone in case of some emergency. My contact list was saved on an early days’ computer and was simply a dot matrix printout of that information when I finally got my own computer. Up until then, the sales management groups only wanted everything hand written. They had not developed wisdom in this matter as yet and some never did. They were mostly full of a lot of themselves, and possibly other things. Some did have wisdom and I paid attention to their advice.

Here are some other items that show I developed wisdom and I would like to share them with you now.

I made a butcher block for my various kitchen knives and custom cut it to hold the different blade widths while I assembled it. Now that is not the wisdom I gained here but it was sort of some. I got wisdom when I realized that all blocks at the time stored the knives against the blade edge. Well since I started to hand sharpen all my knives myself, I soon realized that a better way to store the knives is to simply turn them around and let them rest on their spines so the edges stay sharper much longer. The knife companies just marketed another version of the knife block/knife set that had the knives resting on their sides now. They, after all, were in the business of selling more knives.

The best toilet bowl cleaner for my money turns out to be plain old ordinary white vinegar. It disinfects and breaks down lime build up in the bowl and it is so cheap compared to the packaged and over marketed versions in the toilet bowl cleaning section and it seems to work much better. Try a couple of cups and let it sit for a while before you use the brush on the bowl. If that doesn’t work so well try 3-4 cups the next time which is an example of how one develops wisdom.

Why is it that older folks seem to have more wisdom than younger folks? Well that one is really a no-brainer since the older folks have made more mistakes and corrected for them since they have been around a lot longer than younger folks. It is known as experience and not useless information that a younger folk once told me my head was full of (useless information). I think he was full of something else but since I gained wisdom I didn’t say that to him. He was, after all, the owner’s son. 

I learned a lot about wisdom working at a golf course. There are a lot of really bad golfers out there and you only got better if you changed what wasn’t working. It never ceased to amaze me that so many of them just kept on doing the same old thing on just about every shot and their game never improved. I, in my infinite wisdom, decided to take some lessons and so my game immediately showed significant improvement. So I learned that you can gain wisdom from others who have gained their own wisdom.

Just stay away from advice from those that are full of something else. That is wisdom in its purest form.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

World’s Best Meal – According to Me

And it is not something you can get at a fast food joint. That would mean you have to put on socks and shoes and dress better and you have to stand in line to get served. Besides they use a lot of processed stuff in their mix so it really isn’t that healthy either.

I am talking about something you prepare right in your own kitchen and it really doesn’t require a lot of skill or equipment. You will need a sharp knife, microwave, dinner plate, some parchment paper and some food items that you will look in your refrigerator to use up since you didn’t eat them all in one sitting.

So pick a nice plain microwave safe dinner plate and that means no gold trim that will want to arc like crazy in the microwave. Get out the box of parchment paper and tear off a strip about as wide as the dinner plate is round. Then take a sharp cutting tool (I use my Olfa cutter) and cut that down the middle into 2 sections and store the second piece in the drawer where you got the parchment paper.  

You also will need some tortilla chips as the base layer that goes down on parchment paper that is on the microwave safe dinner plate which tends to keep the chips from getting really soggy and limpy. My personal favourite is Tostito’s Multigrain Scoopers. The fact that they are multigrain adds some added flavour and some added food value to this meal. The Scoopers are formed in such a way that they create cups to hold ingredients. So place them nicely in a pattern that covers as much of the plate without overlapping each other. Save all the partial pieces for topping soup or stews.

Now get out a good barbecue sauce and drizzle it over the tortilla chips. My personal favourite is Diana Sauce ( which takes me back to the days of working at the old Eaton’s store in the sporting goods department. We went across Yonge Street and dodged the traffic for coffee breaks because Diana Sweets served quality food and quality coffee as well. The sauce does not list corn starch as an ingredient which might explain why it flows very smoothly unlike the cheaper mass brands do which come out of the bottle in blobs.

Now it is up to you to what you put on as more toppings because it is your creation and sort of like an in house pizza without having to wait for delivery and pay through the nose for over salted food that is delivered by someone with an attitude, if the tip doesn’t meet with their liking. Almost any previously cooked meat works quite well and my ‘fridge always seems to have lots of that around.

Corned beef, roast beef, ham, turkey, chicken, pastrami, kolbassa, and many other packaged slice meats work well. You can also use leftover meats but just cut them up into small pieces to spread out over the chips and sauce. I usually grill extra chicken breasts just for that purpose in warmer weather. Now you can keep going and I at least shred some cheese on top of this as a basic mix and you can season it to taste with stuff like basil, onion powder, garlic powder, etc. Don’t add salt since there is enough in the cheese and meats usually.

But I usually kick it up a notch (out of respect for Emeril) and add more ingredients. Recently I have tried thinly sliced mushrooms, baby spinach or regular spinach, pineapple tidbits, fresh broccoli (sort of shaved into really tiny pieces) and all work well. I have used lettuce as a final topping but only after the mixture was heated. Cut up grape tomatoes would work well in that fashion also.

I plan to try raisins, shredded carrot, cooked bacon, cooked chicken-bacon, canned peach slices (cut up into really small pieces), green onions, red onions, sunflower seeds, and anything else that I have in the fridge (and sometimes in the cupboard) that might taste good and create variety.

You only need to microwave your creation for about 90 seconds to melt the cheese and give the rest of the mixture warmth and bind it all together since it makes a really wonderful finger food. Just let it sit for at least a minute or two after it comes out of the microwave so you don’t cook the inside of your mouth (the process of microwaving continues for a bit after the unit finishes beeping). Always have a cold beverage of some sort to go along with this creation. My personal favourite is some sort of fruit juice to get some more good food value out of this meal.

There is not much to clean up after and usually the plate just needs a quick washing in the sink with the soap pad and rinse. When you are hungry and don’t feel like making a full meal this combination is a really easy one to prepare and you get to use up stuff in your fridge that might go bad in a few days and get a healthy meal to boot. It's a pretty good choice all around but don’t eat it near the computer keyboard. It is a bit of a sticky mess and you will need to wash your hands after it is devoured but that isn’t much work really. None of this was much work and it usually just tastes excellent.

It all seems pretty perfect to me, but I am pretty easy to please.