Monday, July 26, 2010

Goodbye, Old Friend!

Sitting on the curb in the official city garbage bag destined for pick-up tomorrow morning is a friend of many years who just this morning gave up the ghost. With a romantic nature that's often as much of a curse as a treasure, I anthropomorphize way too much and no less so in this case than any. Out there waiting to spend eternity in a landfill is "Ham" - the faithful (until overnight sometime) Hamilton Beach coffee maker who brewed that necessary wake-up call every morning for years, only to leave me javaless this very morning.

Ham's service was long and true. He made my cup of joe on the morning that my little girl got married, just as on so many other days, some forever to be remembered as the best days of my life, others which I still can't forget but would love to, and the great many in between that I don't even remember.

For the record, I did take him apart and peer inside where I found no parts I'd be able to fix with a little spit and paper clips. And I did take in the distinct smell of some burnt electronic part, probably on the circuit board which was his brain. Yep. Brain death. The final curtain.

Tonight, with Ham still sitting curbside in his blue bag I'll be off looking for his replacement and will likely bring it back with me, tossing old Ham the further indignity of seeing the new guy's arrival. There will be no crowning of the new by the old. No retirement packages nor sign-on bonuses. No playing of taps nor of anything joyful by way of celebration. Yet, it feels like there should be some sort of noble send-off for the old pot whose regular service always made morning feel like it should even when it came way too early.

On the brighter side of things I finally discovered how to make crispy chicken wings. Past attempts always left me with something rubbery and greasy to which the hot sauce would not cling evenly.

Coat a bunch of wing pieces with peanut oil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and onion and garlic powders.
Bake at 400 for an hour in a shallow baking pan. Don't turn.
Grill on a medium flame till crispy, turning once.

HOT Wing Sauce
Start with maybe a cup of Louisiana Hot Sauce.
Cut bunches of hot peppers of many varieties into the pot.
Simmer on low for a long time to evaporate most of the water.
When they're soft, mash the peppers up with a potato masher.

If you're brave, slather the whole mess onto the wings and enjoy. If you're less than brave, push the mixture through a sieve and dip the wings in only the mush that comes through.

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