Now You’re Gonna Want Some Tomato Soup

With the proliferation of fancy full dinners during Thanksgiving and Christmas, and all the misplaced Christmas parties in between, most people get in the mood for some pretty basic menu items along the way. One standard of simplicity is the grilled cheese sandwich, and here’s the way my brother Victor likes to do it. (Warning: this is not health food. In fact, I’ll probably need to go run a few miles after just describing it.)

Choose your bread. Something white and smooth usually works best.

Part of the appeal of a grilled cheese sandwich is that you can experiment with different cheeses, or use just whatever happens to be on hand at the time. A recommended combination is sharp cheddar and mozzarella. Slice your cheese into one-quarter inch tiles and arrange so that it covers one bread slice.

Install the top bread slice and coat both exterior bread surfaces with a spreadable lubricant such as margarine or butter. Place the uncooked sandwich onto a hot waffle iron. Close the lid and apply a little pressure to mash the grid into the bread. (Please note that you should use a regular waffle iron, not Belgian.)

It’s done when you hear melted cheese sizzling on the iron. Remove the sandwich with a fork, and then use the fork to salvage the cooked cheese splatter. This is the basic version of the Waffle Cheese Sandwich, enjoyed by Patterson kids for nearly forty years.

The waffle grid achieves two favorable results: 1) More surface area is created, which translates into increased cooked buttery flavor. 2) The sandwich is not as flimsy as regular grilled cheese because the waffle pattern gives it better rigidity, much as corrugated tin is sturdier than flat tin.

Victor adds some notes about options:
Before cooking, toss in a few pepperoni slices and a smearing of pizza sauce. / If you don’t have actual cheese on hand, “singles” slices work pretty well, too. / Try a three-cheese blend. / Use rye bread with swiss and gouda.

Go. Enjoy.

Published in: on November 27, 2007 at 6:12 pm  Comments (12)  

Walking on Thanksgiving

After dinner, Daddy and I went walking in the pasture to feed the cows, and Mama got a well-deserved nap. Rain had come through in the morning while I was driving from Lancaster to Antreville, and now the afternoon was becoming clear and warm. We talked while I reunited with the trees where I was raised.

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Published in: on November 25, 2007 at 8:32 pm  Comments (5)  

Well-balanced Group at King’s Creek Falls


Photo by Michael Henderson

At least, that’s the claim, with us standing on the log, and all. This was the day after our main hike to Ellicott Rock. The group had downsized from seven to five, and the morning left us time to do a short hike to two sets of water falls. Water levels are low because of the persistent drought, but the area is still very refreshing.

Published in: on November 20, 2007 at 5:11 pm  Comments (1)  

The Trail to Ellicott Rock

But first…
In my posting about Day Nine of my recent vacation, I mentioned Mr. Philip Howard of Ocracoke, who owns the Village Craftsmen shop. Well, he has a great blog which chronicles ongoing items of interest concerning Ocracoke life. Located there are links to his business — which I can personally recommend — where you can view an inventory and shop online. He also took the time to write some very nice things about my blog. Check out his site for a real insider’s view of Ocracoke: Village Craftsmen

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The National Wild and Scenic Chattooga River runs the border between South Carolina and Georgia for about half of Oconee County. After that the name suddenly changes to Tugaloo. Here are some scenes from November 15.
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The photo below was taken while standing at the point where South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina meet, a place officially known as Commissioners’ Rock. Directly upstream from where I’m standing, but out of view on the eastern shore (right of photo), is Ellicott Rock, the spot where Andrew Ellicott, in 1811, determined the boundary to be. The large rock in the photo, though often confused with both Ellicott Rock and the tri-point (and does in fact have a USGS benchmark), is apparently just a rock.

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Published in: on November 19, 2007 at 1:29 am  Comments (4)  

What Was the Song of Your Soul This Past Week?

Longing for cellos and prayer for transcendence,
a pen in my hand and leaves on the water.
Friends on the trail,
and a dog whose name may or may not have been ‘Rusty’.

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Published in: on November 17, 2007 at 9:37 pm  Comments (2)  

Destination Foothills

It’s a half-week of sermon planning for me, with a dose of Body Challenge, Spirit Challenge added in the middle. If your prayers will be part of the mix, it should work out well for those who listen to me across the next year. Thanks.

Be back soon. Peace in the meantime.

Published in: on November 13, 2007 at 12:21 pm  Comments (3)  

Ocracoke Vacation — Day Nine, November 1

Last night was All Saints’ Eve, and I spent the suppertime portion of it at the Flying Melon. I sat at the counter where I could hear the jazz from the CD player, had a new species of root beer (Abita) and the best burger on the island (competitor’s claims notwithstanding). It was a good place to meditate while other observances prevailed elsewhere.

And today was All Saints’ Day, with plenty of time to remember the journeys of Christians who’ve made it home. Absence and distance cannot suspend what makes us one.

I woke up, finished packing, and turned in the keys at the realty office. At that point I had choices of how to go home. I could go immediately to the upper end of the island, catch the free ferry, and be on my way via the other Outer Banks islands. Instead, I went to the ferry office there in Ocracoke and reserved a spot on the 12:00 boat to Cedar Island. This meant I had a few more hours to wait, and that seemed better than rushing off right away.

At the ferry office, the woman behind the counter said, “You stayed in my house, this week.” She recognized my truck and kayak. I had hoped to meet the owner of the rental cottage, but thought it not likely. It was a pleasant surprise. I called her by name, which surprised her (…I had met her cousin tending shop a week earlier, who, learning where I was staying, said, “Oh you’re in Sarah’s house.”) We chatted while she sold me the ticket, and I enjoyed the friendly encounter.

After getting a muffin and orange juice at Ocracoke Coffee, I went back to Howard St. to look around the Village Craftsmen shop one more time. Manning the counter was Philip Howard, Ocracoke historian and owner of the shop. I had met him last Thursday night when he told stories of island memories and then led the barn dance. We talked a bit, and, once again, I was made to feel welcome.

Others I recognized, today and before, living the details of their private lives publically, too special to ignore, yet too sacred to publish.

While slowly driving back through town to the ferry lineup, a group crossed the road in front of me. One man stopped in the center of the road and wished to speak. Lowering my window for him, he asked how I enjoyed my stay. It turns out he was my next door neighbor for the week, a resident on the island; he recognized my truck — and I suspect he may have recognized the hesitant movement toward departure. It’s the kind of place from which one benefits by not leaving too quickly.

Without explanation to the waiting travelers, the always-timely ferry left thirty-five minutes late, slowing my departure even more. Some interesting conversation developed among us in the meantime, and eventually we were allowed to board. The horn blew, and the connection between ferry and land was breached.

On a clear day, it takes a long time for Ocracoke to fade from sight. In a clear mind, it’s never completely gone.

Ocracoke is a different kind of place, and worth the distance because of it. It’s a place you ease into and ease out of, the punched ferry ticket your silent permission to be still, and the poetry of the moment is revealed by one’s readiness to absorb.

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Some of you have picked up on my love for Nissans, of which I saw many around the island. So you’ll understand my fun in finding this little beauty on the ferry:

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Published in: on November 12, 2007 at 12:00 am  Comments (2)