Cull

Cull: (v) to choose, select, pick

Unfortunately, I find myself refraining from using certain words because if I do, people think I’ve mispronounced some other word. For instance, I’ve used the word “cull,” and someone asked me if I meant to say “call.”

That said (and since we have the benefit of Mr. Webster legitimizing my pronunciation today) I realize that my life is all about learning how to cull the best from what is sent my way.

It doesn’t matter what it is.

The best of the American experience, politically speaking, is “all men are created equal.” It’s what keeps this country from looking like a dirty truck stop and instead, fueling the nation.

When I was younger, I culled the best of tennis for exercise, trying to quell (another one of those words) my competitive spirit.

I cull the best of religion, which is simply “love your neighbor as yourself.”

I cull the pinnacle for business: “the customer is always right.”

So what culls the brighter spots of fatherhood? Knowing that your children are safe, independent, solvent and none of them are on the “no fly list.”

I cull the best of being a man simply by becoming a human.

I cull the best of intelligence by learning enough to be helpful.

I cull the best of cooking by making tasty food quickly.

I cull the best of our time. Unfortunately, it seems that we are two nations. It is my responsibility to cull what unites us.

What do I cull and what do I discard?

Without this I find myself accumulating instead of actually progressing.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Chef

Chef: (n) professional cook

“Vanity, vanity, kitchen is thy name.”

You may note that I have altered the adage.

It does not matter if it’s a man or woman–if you start talking about cooking, the reaction falls into two categories:

  1. “I don’t cook, I will never cook, I will not touch a pan. Serve me.”
  2. “I’m such a good cook, people think I should start my own restaurant.”

Folks get very nasty about their ability to stir sugar in with spice to make something nice. They’re convinced they have the best recipe for any delicacy.

This is confirmed by dozens of shows on television, with chefs competing with one another for the honor of being chief cook and bottle washer.

What is it about the human race that causes us to believe that we have a passable ability to serve a meal instead of the overwrought notion that our platter of “pleasables” should be offered to wine and dine kings?

Do you really have the best barbecue sauce in the country?

Is the secret to a great turkey to deep fry it?

Are green beans better with almonds?

Does the extra thirty seconds of whipping the egg whites truly make a better meringue?

Is hot sauce the universal elixir for “delish?”

Even if we can convince all the brothers and sisters of Earth that we are alike, equal and that no one is better than anyone else, after that meeting is over, there will be someone who will insist they should cook the victory meal–because they’re a better chef.

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Cabbage

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Cabbage: (n) a cultivated plant eaten as a vegetable,

Cabbage, while cooking, smells like farts.

Since this is true, one should not be surprised that consuming such a concoction should continue the fart-smelling process all the way through your body. Matter of fact, your house will smell like farts for days after cooking and digesting cabbage.

Another insight: cabbage is one of those vegetables that only tastes good if it’s cooked to a certain level of tenderness–or if the head has a slight sweetness to it.

How are you supposed to find that out?

I suppose you could break off a little piece in the grocery store and chew on the raw leaf. I’m not going to do that.

And so, because it is difficult to prepare, quickly becomes mushy, and the more it’s overcooked the more bitter it tastes, it’s just best to wait until some professional cooks it for you.

Otherwise, you will have fart smell in your house, fart smell in your body, and wonder if it was worth it in the first place.

 

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Bout

Bout: (n) a short period of intense activity of a specified kind

Everything can’t be a struggle.Dictionary B

There are certain people I’m acquainted with who spend most of their time sighing or frowning over the simple task set before them.

They know these responsibilities are coming.

They are familiar with them.

But for some reason or another, they think it makes them more adult to be cranky.

But somewhere along the line, we have to produce some joy–otherwise we have no strength. The absence of strength is the introduction of anemic effort.

Not everything is a “bout:”

  • You don’t have a bout of doing the laundry.
  • It is not a bout of cooking dinner.
  • Buying Christmas presents should not be a bout.

But we can probably agree that calling it a bout with cancer is in order.

Maybe even a bout with insomnia.

I will give you a bout with diarrhea.

The actual way that we show our maturity is by proving that the journey we’ve been on has given us some skill to approach our difficulties … without a grimace.

 

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Batch

Batch: (n) a quantity or consignment of goods produced at one time.Dictionary B

Christmas cookies.

They are delightful–and unfortunately, limited to one season instead of being sprinkled throughout the calendar.

We happened upon a great recipe for such a batch of treats which was so simple to put together, but so delicious, that we often made them in huge quantities.

All that was required were corn flakes, marshmallows, butter, green food coloring and red cinnamon candies to simulate holly.

The first batch of these delicacies were so moist, chewy and delicious that we quickly decided to make a second and then a third.

About a week later, I got a hankering for more of these sweet treats, so I opened up the cupboard. I discovered we had plenty of corn flakes, not so many marshmallows, and just a little bit of butter. We had lots of green food coloring and cinnamon candies.

I thought to myself, what difference would it really make? After all, what is a marshmallow, or a teaspoon of butter here or there?

So I stirred up the mixture, and immediately realized that this particular batch seemed stiffer. I didn’t think much about it.

I put them on the cookie sheet to set for a few minutes. When I returned, I discovered that my Yuletide yummies were as hard as rocks.

But I persisted. Honestly, I nearly broke a tooth trying to bite into one.

I was angry. Or was I disappointed? I’m not sure–but somewhere suspended between those two emotions, I lamented that my new batch had failed to fulfill my taste buds.

Someone mentioned the fact that I had altered the recipe, thus tainting this particular batch, but I pooh-poohed that idea, saying, “It should still have worked.”

I have since recanted such foolishness. I am now fully aware that if you want to make a good batch of anything … you’ve got to follow the recipe.

 

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Bake

Bake: (v) to cook food by dry heat, typically in an ovenDictionary B

It’s not easy to feed seven people–three adults and four children who ranged in age from 8 to 14. Yet for a particular season, this was my station in life.

The similarities in taste among these individuals were minimal. So trying to come up with an entrée nightly which was simple to fix and acceptable for consumption by the persnickety clientele was a Herculean task.

After a while, I decided to prepare foods that were pleasant for me to do and reasonable to purchase. “Since satisfying the masses is impossible, let us budget our time and our money.”

And it fell my lot as the dad of this particular group to cook since the two ladies of the household approached the subject as if they were discerning hieroglyphics.

One of my favorite things to prepare was baked chicken.

First of all, I purchased it in ten-pound bags, which cost about five dollars, and then placed it on two baking sheets, salted and peppered the tops and stuck them into the oven at 375 degrees for about an hour.

As you probably know, how long you cook a chicken is very important. If it’s undercooked, it is not only gross, but also threatens to kill you with salmonella. If it’s overcooked, it gets mushy–like it belongs in a jar of baby food.

Yet the skin, turning a golden brown, is not only fattening, but a true delicacy.

My children grew to hate baked chicken–and if you asked them about it today, I’m sure one or more would shudder.

It wasn’t baked chicken every night, but certainly the bird was put to the flame at least twice a week.

So that my children would not grow up frightened of an oven and what it bakes, I occasionally pulled out of the magic box homemade cookies and things like that, so that they would not end up fearing all things baked.

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