Change Recipe For Success or Failure?

75021_309877622466116_686390596_nChange is it good or is it bad? I was reflecting on this, after a fine Sunday dinner with my friend Derrell’s parents and some excellent conversation. It occurred to me on the drive home, after a trip to Wally World ( that will get the old wheels spinning) When it, Wally World first started it was a good company or at least to my eye’s, at that time in life, it seemed so. However is it, still as good today as it was then? And I believe if we stop and ask ourselves some serious questions, about our daily dealings, we would more than likely be able to file said answers under the heading, ” Things that make you go Hmm” Because I have noticed that lately most 12 volt product’s I’ve bought don’t last 30 day’s much less, 6 Months. Hell, some items have been worthless when I got them home and it wasn’t worth the time or effort to take it back! I haven’t worked in over 15 yrs because I’m a Disabled Vet. and even the quality of care I get there has gone down hill,  I have a friend who I used to work with when I cooked and we are both disgusted, with upper managements apparent lack of concern. And the way the employee’s are lackadaisical at best. It’s like no one has pride in what they do any more! From what I see and hear. It’s from top all the way down to that bottom, dude or dudett ( female dude), all anyone seems to be concerned with is, what time do I get off and how much do I make.

In my short 55 years I have seen many things change some good, some not so good! We have gone from the day’s of three TV channels to Hundreds of cable channels and there still ain’t Shit on most the time, things are smaller and cost more, cheaper and you get less stuff, less quality, technology we paid for long distance the majority of my life now its free. What and no reimbursement for all I spent on it! What I’m asking is, do you think it’s better? Because I sure don’t we have progressed to the point of even the simplest items now cost out the nose! I was privy to a conversation about water shortages in California, and someone said we need to charge for it that way we can regulate it! Damn wake up people we keep asking our over burdened and over spending Government to regulate more shit, because we can’t do it ourselves, anymore. Because we are working our asses off to pay for all this worthless stuff that we are told 24 hrs. a day by the boob tube, radio and the media that we have to have, we are inundated with advertisements at every direction and all hours of the day and night.

We can’t raise our own kid’s we have generations, raised by the likes of Barney, Sponge Bob Square Pants. And our kid’s watch things like Ed, Ed, and Eddie or Stupid dog or better yet good quality stuff like South Park or Ren and Stimpy. The X- Box, well lets just say it this way, One of my Boy’s called here awhile back and was like, “Dad, you never taught me how to work on cars!”  “I’m Like yes, Son I tried but every time I said Son would you come help me work on the truck or car. You were busy play Warcraft!” He said oh right thanks Dad! Don’t get me wrong I’m proud of my kid’s. But as a former employer I not at all impressed with the work ethic or the drive of the youth today! Frankly we, with the governments help have abandoned our kids they, smoke spice they are killing them selves at the highest rate ever in the history of our once great country, depression, drug addiction are at they highest rates ever amongst our youth and WE yes WE have created this mess by not being present the way we should be, and by giving them the things we didn’t have, a generation of entitled youth. that because we weren’t home to raise them. We have more homelessness in this once great country than ever in our history, We are trying to teach the rest of the world how to live and we have our own heads so far up our asses that we can’t see the forest for the trees. Most People are rude self-centered egotistical assholes myself included because somewhere along the way we have for gotten how to be civilized. When I was a kid we traveled quite a bit my folks had CB’s and they used to talk to the truckers and they were friendly. Once in a blue moon you can raise one on the CB now. I’m not saying everything is bad but we really shouldn’t be out trying to fix the world when our own back yard is so messed up. I believe people used to look up to us. But not anymore. Hell I had a thought just today that I’m a victim of a race war. And I don’t even participate in it. In some places I could get really messed up by people of a differ color because the media has them convened that I hate them and suppress them. Hell I don’t even know them. And isn’t hating me because they assume I hate them racism? So again are we really changing for the better?

I remember watching the movies about going out and discovering the west. The freedom that image, conjured up for my young mind. Those things are still there but we are not free not by any stretch of our imaginations. We pay taxes on the money we make. We pay taxes on the things we buy. We pay taxes on the things we own. We work all our lives paying into Soc Sec, and then have to be denied 3 times before they give us what we paid in. Then they spend the rest of your life trying to get it from you at every turn. My own Mother, ( may she rest in peace) worked all her life and then at 73 she was living in a house that she was renting for 300.00 a month, getting commodities from the state and the woman collected 700.00 a month to live on. That’s a crime! And what else is a crime according to a story by CNBC  The Richest 1%, Now Owns Half The Worlds Wealth! Wait did I just he just say 1% of the richest people in the world now own half it’s wealth. Yes I did and I don’t know about you but with all the homelessness and hunger in the U.S.A. That really should bother you! Now  I’m not good with math in my head but I’m pretty sure that’s not a good thing. another thing I want to point out is most people are oblivious to the simple fact that if you don’t have a nice retirement plan or hit the lottery, your about two pay checks away from being homeless in America those people standing on the street corner’s aren’t all screw-ups some of them were hard-working folks like us!   When I broke my Back in the accident in 97 they offered my food stamps to the tune of 235.00 and I didn’t have a home, I have a friend who has had two TI strokes has 4 kids at home works at the only job she can get and has been on the housing list for over 10 years and no help. I could go on and on but the whole idea behind this post is to just get you to ask yourself if you like what you see in America.

In closing since I stated traveling and living the fulltime RV lifestyle I have re discovered my love and faith in humanity, because I’m seeing a better side of the world I see people helping each other if one has and another doesn’t then the one that has more shares or give to the one who has none. I have a fellow traveling friend who started a group and  a bunch of us joined the whole concept was we travelers come from all over and if one of us breaks down the they go to the site and if someone is close we go help if we can no charge it is done for the joy of doing. Somewhere along the way we lost that part of the idea and it became everyone for them selves and screw the other guy! Well at some point we all become the other guy, Just  Saying! I think change can be good I’m willing to work at the changing but if we don’t get thing in this country to change. Well what we are leaving behind for future humans is the shit real nightmares are made of! Peace H.W.Mark

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Why Cook Professionally

PIC1I started in my folks restaurant washing dishes it was called the Hoagie Hut in the little town of Thomas West Virginia. It had humble beginnings we served breakfast, lunch and dinner, pizza, hoagies, and after a bit they bought the bar next door and cut a hole in the wall then we had a restaurant and bar. They worked their asses off 20 too 22 hours a day in the beginning.  I washed dishes and after I turned 13 Ma let me start waiting tables on weekends and after school. Those were awesome times Grandmother Cummings was an incredible cook breakfast was always a production with things like homemade apple sauce and chutney, there was blood pudding they were Pennsylvania Dutch, I’m a Southern boy never been that close to the east coast before anyhow there were all these different foods and as a kid W. VA. was a great place! My friends and I ( Mark and Danny H. David W. and Mark J. Yes counting me 3 Mark’s it was hell in school!) we used to ride our bikes to this swimming hole we found  in the woods back on one of the mountain trails we rode behind Coketon (not sure if that’s how its spelled )  we called it the blue hole! it was Deep! I remember Dad said that he swam there as a boy too, he said that there was supposed to be a Crane, and Three Desoto’s down there and none of his friends or us had ever touched the bottom, we use to find fossils in all the shale that was laying around Its was an old strip mine, pit we latter found out from my Uncle Bunt ( A retired coal miner with black lung) we had explored old mines and all kinds of stuff until Uncle Bunt found out and chewed our asses, buts royally, He told us we was a bunch or stupid boy’s that could have been killed by gas pockets (he new we all smoked) or a cave-in! Hell we were 13 and fearless! But never went in the mines again! On our adventures we’d find huckleberries, crab apples, blueberries, raspberries, ramps, you name it the woods were teaming with edible delights! It was here that, my sence of adventure for both life and food began to take form,

It further developed through my travels with my real father and living in, Southeast Texas, this had a lot of influence on my taste. I always found it funny that the exposure to both northern food per say and southern food plus a healthy dose of Mexican food,    Tex-Mex, with 70’s staples, like meatloaf, hamburger and kraft mac n cheese mixed together thrown in for good measure. of course I grew up in that time when you ate what was put on your plat or you got it for the next meal we didn’t have it to waste even this never really made me not willing to try different things like rocky mountain oysters, tripas (cow utters), dried seal with seal oil, muk-tuk, and many other things I do draw the line at chitlins, livers, gizzards and hearts as I find the heart to be a sacred life force. I was 47 and I think retired by the time that I came to understand that the food I grew up on was really considered Soul food  but that’s  a whole other story…

When I was in high school me my best friends Tom, Randy, Debbie, Tony and others would all skip school in the afternoon to go to my house where everyone would watch General Hospital (because of Luke and Laura! trust me it was good shit back then!) and while they were all doing that I would cook breakfast for 5 to 7 people and I mean hash browns from raw potatoes, bacon, biscuits and gravy eggs to order mostly over easy, for all of us. I must say these are some of my fondest memories and we reminisce about this often, Tom and I.

Red Barron Craber

With Alaska and crabbing in the Bearing Sea came a new found love for things from the sea, ocean, river, lake. I’d grown up on fried catfish tails and all that we caught at Papaw’s pond and when we went to Galveston there was usually crab and almost always gumbo my with father S.T.Coon Jr. as the chef  and he could cook gumbo   there was beer and food and music I was young but very impressionable. But on the boat the Red Barron out of Seward, Alaska. I tried sea urchin, (Yuck!) octopus, halibut, scallops, shrimp, just all kinds of things and dialects of food because of the large Filipino, population working in the fisheries, hell I even had salmon chili, and Salmon taco’s before it was trendy because that’s just the way it is up there!

All this to show that my love for food comes from long standing family traditions like Christmas Dinners and all the other holidays plus family reunions, and bbq’s hoot -n- hauler’s, ( a Texas thing far as I know) etc, etc. coming home from school back east to a different sandwich everyday I mean one friend and I got a sandwich each day and never repeated the same one more than once! it was cool watching dad make pizza helping put on the peperoni I was blessed, my Mamaw Coon coaching me on how to make her a cornbread patty, cooking tuliped hot dogs on forks with the gas burners as kid’s for a after school snack with my cusins at Aunt Faye’s. These are golden moments in a lifetime of food these people some of them are no longer hear to share these wonderful gifts so it falls to me, to you to share the gift of food and the closeness it can bring to our lives and the joy every time we sit as a family unit and enjoy a meal and if you don’t do this any more try it just once a week you’ll be glad you did.

As for me when I put on my chef’s coat and I walk into a kitchen to prepare a meal or I walk on a Line to cook an order all that knowledge and love go in to my every move and thought because I want to give you all that adventure in each and every bite, I want you to see food as an acid trip for your pallet full of new and exciting flavors and aromas! I want you to view food through my eye’s as a almost pornographic experience that tantalizes your senses and keeps you coming back for more again and again despite sheer exhaustion and delight time after time always finding and discovering new delights by trying things just like you might try something new with a new lover be adventurous in your appetite for food, life and love and most of all enjoy all three! And maybe just maybe we will meet as I travel, eat, write and share my love of life, adventure and food with each and everyone of you. Ciao For Now;

H.W.Mark

Depression!- “Traveling a Recipe for Relief”

Ok, now let me start by saying , I’m no Doctor, and if you have or think you might suffer from Depression. You should seek help because, it is a Silent  Killer! So with that being said let me begin by letting you know that I was diagnosed with depression after I got sober in Alaska. Many people in Alaska and many other states suffer from this quite killer.20180318_113035I never relized I had depression until I got sober the first time in Alaska ( well, really it was one of the many sober periods  in a string of many times I’d got sober over the years. but thats a whole other story!) It was 1997 I’m fresh out of prison for the DWI I got when I broke my back. I was arrested one week after my discharge from the hospital. Now  Im homeless, jobless and  I have a broken back I’m not supposed to be on my feet any more than to walk from the bed to the bathroom.Well fat chance of that I’ve taken a bus from downtown Anchorage, and I’m renting a room at the Spenard Motel. Till I can get a bed at the VA Domicillary Homeless Veteran’s Program I was in this place 2 times and graduated the second time this is where I found out I had depression. You see when you get sober after a lifetime of hard drinking. You problems are not over because your sober. Nope they have just begun. Because you have treated your mind and your body like shit for decades and boy are they pissed! So fast forward I got sober got a job got a life got a wife and still suffered! I was working two jobs and praticing “Blanket Chi” every chance I got. Oh, Whats  Blanket Chi you ask? It is when you wake up in the morning and you pull the blankets over your head and wait for the world to go away. This never happens “heavy sigh”!

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So Then it starts, because here I am barley 30 with a broke back I’m eating handfulls of morphene so I can continue to work and when I go home all I do is nod. My left knee is shot, I’m a addict again, and my masculinty is walking out the door faster than my ex-wife. I’ve been taking morphene, amitriptoline, trazadone, zoloft, busebar, prozack, valium, venaflaxine, ect, ect add nosium. I attended counsling, AA, NA, pow wows, anything and everything nothing seemed to help I talked to shrinks, social workers doctors, lawyers you name it no relief. So a second divorce, a failed relationship after that and I get another DUI and get sober for keeps then leave AK.

Lets skip ahead to 2013 I graduate the Alaska wellness court program I get off probation and I leave Alaska to go take care of my aging Ma in Missouri Life is good ! Depression seems ok not drinking yep. Life is good! This too shall pass! Family stuff happens, Ma has dementia and its getting bad. My plan was to travel with Ma in her final years but she has parked her ass in the chair and is waiting to die and If she wasn’t so mean and crazy no problem she is my Ma. But this is hell and thats being nice! So back to VA to talk to shrink and social worker more meds more pain not taking pain meds anymore and now I’m just a miserable prick. Ma is too much I was ok till I saw where I came from and that was it. I was done. Well Mom passed about a year and a half later. We had, had to put her in a home it was just to hard on everyone. Anyhow I ended up with all her stuff, her house and I was just so over whelmed here I was in the worst shape of my life with more respocability than I ever wanted. So I sold what I could, gave away the rest and packed what I couldn’t part with into  a 6×12 u-haul and moved to New Mexico. I had a friend there who offered me a place to stay so I could get well. When I was in Mo I had told him if I didn’t get out of that place I was either gonna end up drunk or taking a dirt nap.502.jpg Well I arrived in Truth or Consiquences New Mexico on Nov 12th 2017 From the moment I got here I was on you tube watching Bob Wells and cheap rv living .coms videos about less is more and you too can be happy so I formed a plan I was gonna save money for a yr and live with my friend. Then buy a RV and hit the road! I just don’t have enough patients for that. Hell, I want what I want. And I want it now. So Got all squared away with licenses and registrations, Ins etc, etc. I Don’t have a lot of patients so I borrowed $3000.00 against my credit cards and bought my 5th wheel its a 1977 (don’t laugh) I like old stuff! Twilight Bungalow I got it for $1300.00 instead of the $3000.00 they wanted and Thank God because I stuck $9000.00 more in it. New suspension, brakes, water heater, toilet, refrigerator, tires for the truck x 4 and the trailer x 4. So my good deal is now a old looking $11,000.00 dollar lemon that I’m trying to make lemonade with for a couple of years. But it keeps the rain off and lets me go where I wanna go  and do what I wanna do.

I guess you could say I’m driven Man sound better than dumb-ass! But I think I acted that way because I still have some small scars from being homeless in Alaska, it left a mark on me weather I want to believe that or not. Its been a wild life of my own choosing, before I was even 35 years old I been shot in the leg, I’d had 26 or 27 surgeries on my left knee and two total knee replacements on the same leg! (staff infection) 4 serious motor cycle accidents, I got a pace maker defibulator x 2 within 30 day’s (staff infection again), had open heart surgery and almost died, back surgery, sinus surgery, And, add to that the hard, partying, drinking and riding. I mean when I say I’m tore up from the floor up I ain’t playin and the list goes on! Yet after all that plus addiction and 18 months in a wheel chair! I’m still going and going stronger than I have in recent years. What I’m trying to get across to ya’ll here is that when I hit the road I got my life back, I have no one but me to depend on, if I don’t fix it or do it. It don’t get fixed or done! Traveling has given me back my purpose in life and that is to make me and those around me happy and I do that by being happy myself. This has restored my ever dwendleling faith in humanity! I have met some rally beautiful people selfless people willing to give of them selves like me and ask nothing in return. I’ve learned how to be a better human being from these people and from my travels, I’m rediscovering old friend and family I’m building a new life for myself along the road to happy a destiny, wherever that may be!

In closing I must say I truly do believe I have found a recipe to happiness! Ciao.20171115_124009

 

Dad’s Brownies

BROWNIESHello everyone my name is Mark and I’m a fulltime RV’er ( I live in my 30ft Twilight Bungalow 5th Wheel) I’m, a retired Sous Chef and Disabled Vet whose passion for life and food has lead me to live a nomadic lifestyle. I Thought I’d start my blog with a little humor in the form of a email which was passed around when I worked for the Dept. Of Veteran’s Affairs. In Anchorage , Alaska I’ve taken the liberty of converting this to a story about my Dad whom was my greatest inspiration to go  become a Chef. So here we go my version of Dad’s Brownies.

When my sister and I were younger we lived in Phoenix It was the late seventies and early eighties and our Dad was cool all our friends most of them called him Mr. C ( later in life when one of my son’s friends called me this it brought me great joy! As we lost Dad in 1989) and he was well liked amongst them.

But we were his kids and we thought at the very least he could be strict as Hell. So there was a family rule or law in those days to us they were all the same, they meant we couldn’t do whatever they said of course Dad wasn’t nearly as strict as Ma! But we were living with him so his rules applied not hers.

Anyway the rule was we couldn’t watch R rated movies at the theater and the midnight movies were rated R. There was one playing that we wanted to see. So Kelley and I asked our friends and even some of their Parents to find out why the movie was considered so  offensive and we made a list of the pro’s and con’s so that we might convince dad to let us go with our friends. Now in all honesty I must admit that I am 8 years older than Kelley and Dad was real old fashioned especially when it came to her, he’d thrown more than one of my buddies out for dropping F- bombs in front of her.

The con’s were as follows the movie only had about 15 cuss words none of which were F- bombs. The only real violence was a couple of car chases and and explosion or two and we’d heard worse language at school and you could see the same amount of violence if not more on The nightly news, and you didn’t see them having sex it was all under covers with no nudity.

The pro’s were that it was a big movie at the time a block buster everyone was going to see and it had some of the best A list actors and actresses of the time it a great plot lots of special effects, suspense, action it was nominated for the several Oscars most of the kids at school were seeing it and we didn’t what to be left out besides even some of the parents had said it wasn’t that bad. So would he please reconsider his rule just this once?

Well Dad looked at our list I think I saw him grin a little we could see that he really appreciated all the effort we had put into our plea. I thought, yep he’ll let us go. Dad was hard to read sometimes when we lived in W. VA. He would say I could stay out till 8pm and I’d say 8:30? And he’d say 7:30! So I’d say ok 8:00 And then he’d say 7:00 So you see he wasn’t real diplomatic when it came to stuff like that!

The next night Dad called us into the kitchen all family meetings are held in the kitchen it was the focal point of our house. We went in feeling rather good and confident. Well there on the kitchen table Sat the most beautiful pan of Brownies I have ever seen in my entire life. This threw me a little as I hadnt asked for brownies and I could tell by the look on Kelley’s face she hadn’t either. That’s when Dad gave us his speal,

He said I appreciated all the hard work you put into you argument. So I’ve decided that if you two will eat one of my Brownies I’ll  let you go see the movie. But just like the movie my Brownies have pro’s and con’s.

The pro’s are this was an award winning recipe that I  got from Albert when we had the restaurant in W. VA  ( Albert was a retired personal chef that had given Dad his Strawberry Pie recipe and the brownie recipe and both were to die for!) Dad said they had the finest chocolate and other top shelf ingredients like fresh walnuts they were rich and moist and topped with the most delicate, whipped cholate mouse frostin you have ever seen and then drizzled  with peanut butter that had been melted and they were made by me. He said

These brownies only have one Con in this batch I have included a special ingredient, I’ve added just a little dog poop not alot and I mixed the batter very well heck you two kids probably won’t even taste it. And at 350 degrees all the bacteria and germs from the poop will have been killed.

So if you two can each eat one of my brownies which include just a little bit of the dog poop and not be affected by it. Then I will know that my kids will be able to watch a movie with just some smut in it and come out ok.

Well I promise you neither of us ate any brownies and it seems that everytime after that if we wanted to push the rules all Dad would say is do you two want me to whip up a batch of my brownies.

I truly hope you enjoyed this and come back again. I welcome all comments and will respond. Remeber; Rings and jewels are but apologies for gifts the only true gift is a portion of thye self