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Al Owne in the kitchen (12/22/2013)
By Al Owne
Going along with the old saying about silver linings, I learned how to run the automatic oven cleaner on the fairly new gas range after the pumpkin pie fiasco. Man, the oven really gets hot. One funny side effect was the inside-outside thermometer sitting on the dashboard of the range got so hot it changed to Celsius because it didnít have enough numbers to display the inside temp. So now I have a really clean oven to work with on my next baking extravaganza. You would have thought Iíd steer clear of oven work, but I find myself looking at the ďsimpleĒ oatmeal cookie recipe on the oatmeal box in the mornings. Weíll see, as we used to tell the children.

I donít know what to say about Christmas this year. I think there will be a small celebration at my house this year followed by a visit from one of my ďfar awayĒ children after New Yearís. I know that three of the children wonít make it to their frozen homeland, and I guess I see their reasoning. Why leave your warm home and travel to the land of snow and ice along with the cold that causes it when you can wait 100 days or so and visit when the weather is pleasant? Their mother didnít raise any dummies.

Christmas cards have been a problem again for me. I decide not to do them and then the mail carrier starts filling my mailbox with the diehard card senders and Iím left with a basket of traditional Christmas guilt. Oh, Iíve got unopened boxes of cards in the Christmas closets, but it takes time and motivation and I canít seem to find the closet that they are stored in. I suppose Iíll break down and send some to those who always send one to me, and get some ďLetís be friendsĒ cards to send in January to the others.

Keep in mind that in early December my late wife and I used to get out the address lists and last yearís cards so we would have a complete list and we would sit around the dining room table and do the Christmas card shuffle. But that takes teamwork and, as the coaches say, ďThereís no ĎIí in team.Ē A one-person team just doesnít work any better in the mail room than in the kitchen. So Iím working under a heck of a handicap and I hope people understand.

There are some positive things going on here, too. Iím finally learning how to make scrambled eggs without burning them. Iíve learned to just forget about them for a while and keep the gas turned down; like everything in cooking it takes patience. My late wife always gave me jobs like untying knotted cords or straightening out strings of Christmas lights because I had the patience to sit and work through it. When it comes to cooking, however, somehow I need to get it done now even though I know itís burning. Iím trying to change.

Well, the big oneís here. Christmas Day is staring us in the face with all the memories shooting through our minds like Santaís reindeer flying through the sky. Have a pleasant Christmas, readers, keep your spirits and chins up; weíll get through it!

Merry Christmas!



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