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    • Are you known for regularly setting off the smoke alarm when cooking?  Ever drive to the wrong city because of your navigation skills?

      If you can laugh about it and have an amusing story to share, please do so.

      Note: If this is your first time as a Sunday Panelist, I have a couple requests.

      One, that your first panel response be in paragraphs, not sentences: some people will put in over an hour crafting their response, so please put forth your best effort.

      Two, that you will create a new conversation if  an off-topic thought needs to be expressed.

      Sound reasonable?


    • I have no sense of direction. None! I get lost everywhere. Including where I live. Where I have lived, and don’t get me started on places I have visited! (Seville, Spain, and Grenoble, France still stand out to me).

      Map apps only have certain value – one sent me the wrong way up a one-way street in Baltimore.  I took another direction a little too literally, when it said “Turn Right.” Right into
      someone’s front yard!

      The other day going to work there was that which I dread most – the D-Tour. Especially when they give you the first arrow and then nothing. Nada. So what do I do? I follow the car in front. I obviously hope the car is going somewhere that I eventually recognize and not to the home nearby (yep that has happened).  Last week I got suspicious and stopped and turned on the map app just to see where I was. I got to work. And home that day!

      One day I was so totally lost and couldn’t stop to look at the phone so I came up with this (not so) brilliant idea: I did a U-Turn in front of a police car.

      What happened?

      Nothing. Guy let me! So there I was going to the other way and still clueless. I got home eventually that day!

      So if you ever come travelling with me, know where we are going, and/or make sure I have the map planned out!

      Ever watch the episode of Friends where Joey is in London and puts the map on the ground to try to figure out where he is … yeah ..

    • Yes, to smoke detector noise, many times. Sadly, I have now lost about 70% of my hearing so they are not quite the nuisance (to me) they once were.

      No, never, ever been lost. But, I have been momentary disoriented. As a retired airline pilot, I always endeavor(ed) to know where I am and where I'm heading. If the sun isn't in the right location relative to my desired heading (whether in the air or on the ground) I can immediately discern something is off. One of many reasons we don't ride motos at night while adventuring in unfamiliar locations! ;)

      Yet, we have to pilots up front because to err is human.

    • When I got my first apartment after college, I didn’t know how to cook. I remember one time asking my grandmother to teach me. She had come to the US from Germany in the 1920s and had worked as the personal home cook for wealthy people. Holiday meals at my grandparents were always something to look forward to as a kid. So here I was as a twentysomething, pre-internet, hoping to learn the basics from a master chef. I remember buying a really nice piece of fish when money was tight for me. I go to grandma’s apartment with the fish and excuse myself to wash up in the bathroom. A few minutes later I return to the kitchen, and the fish has already been prepped with flour and is frying in the pan. I want to yell at her for botching my chance to learn how to cook something other than TV dinners in the microwave, but it’s my grandmother, FFS. Nana says not to worry, to watch TV and she’ll have dinner on the table soon.

      A few years later, I’ve got a decent paying job, a fistful of frequent flyer miles, I’m living in a different city, and Nana is with the angels. I’ve been eating phenomenal meals when traveling for work but coming home to a freezer of Swanson hungry mans. So I decide to take a week long vacation in Colorado in September, to attend a Cordon Bleau crash course in the basics of French cooking. It turns out, if you learn the basics then you can cook anything. After a week of learning knife techniques, mise en place, how to make stock, and other useful techniques, I return home. A couple months later I successfully cook Thanksgiving Dinner. I’ve since cooked an Indian feast for a dozen vegetarian band members, a meal that took four hours to prepare. I’ve made Thai dishes like Tom Yum, Tofu dishes for a finicky Vegan, and everything in between. I like to cook now, and I love to play around with different techniques. So my suggestion if you are hilariously bad at something is to find an expert who can quickly teach you how to be successful at it. It’s an incredibly liberating feeling when you master a skill that seemed overwhelming, formidable or downright impossible before. I’ll leave you all with the recipe for a recent creation.

      How to cook chicken breasts without burning the glaze or drying it out.

      1 pkg boneless skinless chicken breasts

      Olive Oil

      Kosher Salt

      BBQ sauce, Thai Chili Garlic Sauce, Red Onion and redpepper relish, or Salsa

      Take the chicken breast. With a large two pronged fork, poke holes three or four times in each breast.

      In a pan, pour Olive oil in the pan.

      Create a line of Kosher salt, the length slightly less than a chicken breast.

      Place a breast over the salt line. Repeat with the remaining breasts.

      Top each breast with the thick sauce or relish. It’s important not to use a runny sauce like tomato sauce.

      The salt will draw out moisture while baking, meaning the thick sauce will be “pulled through” the holes by the salt. Your breasts will end up infused with the flavor and without worrying about burning. I usually cook covered at 400° for about an hour. Midway through I’ll do uncovered for 10-15 minutes to brown it, then cover it and cook another 20 to 30 minutes.

      Serve with pasta and red sauce, fresh bakery bread and butter, and canned or fresh green beans.

    • I could cook 2 things (in the kitchen) when I got married 34 years ago...fired chicken and cube steak, both served with rice and gravy.

      At my wife's request to expand my menu, I discovered there was a lot more to food science than boiling water or pan frying chicken and cube steak. I had more than a few meals end up in the circular file.

      One lessen learned...never combine parsley and cilantro in a marinara sauce you're simmering; tastes like soap!

    • I am ashamed to reveal that I am rubbish at DIY. My father in law, by contrast, can do anything. Plumbing, electrics, joinery, bricklaying, plastering - you name it. Over the years I have been a keen student at his knee, as he tries to pass down his knowledge. My disappointment at being unable to perform even simple task must be second only to his.

      Even though I regularly bend nails, split wood, leave plastered walls looking like a relief map of the Andes, lose hammers etc, I still want to succeed.

      Maybe one day I will finally put up a shelf straight, and he and I will both feel we have achieved something.

    • Important to remember he has decades of experience. And even he was an apprentice at one time.

      Learning a new task is never easy, especially one requiring the use of one's hands and hand tools. The so called "trades" are diminishing skills as the digital world takes over our lives seemingly making everything easier.