COLUMN: Preaching patience on local roads

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What is up with Chatham-Kent drivers? I mean, at the best of times, it’s crazy on our roads, but recently things seem to have gotten worse.

I’ve long complained in this paper about the “Chatham Left” – where drivers turn left onto a four-lane road and immediately go into the right lane, which is illegal and can cause an accident.

And then there’s the speed limit. It seems no one drives it. They are either below it or well above it. Each situation can lead to accidents. Drive too slow and someone from the fast brigade is prone to speed past you in some manner, not necessarily legally.

Case in point is one situation I saw recently on St. Clair Street in Chatham. A white pickup truck in the left-hand lane heading north opted to use the centre turn lane as a passing lane.

The driver seemed rather impatient with a line of cars in front of them, so he or she pulled out, hammered on the gas and roared past everybody.

Umm, it’s a turn lane, pal.

And, a reason for the five or six cars travelling at maybe the speed limit in front of them was that the lead vehicle was seeking to turn left onto Paxton Drive. Good thing that driver was observant, or else they’d have pulled in front of the speeding truck coming up beside them.

Because who expects to be passed in the turn lane?

Accident avoided.

We’ve got heavy farm equipment on our roads in rural areas at this time of the year as well. Please, be patient. There is no need to put lives at risk.

The simplest thing to do is to give yourself plenty of time to get to wherever you are going. If you’re late, don’t blame others, including the drivers in front of you.

Egg heat

The inside of my Big Green Egg was once light beige when it arrived new. I can’t remember the last time I saw that colour in the ceramic cooker.

It’s long been black – blackened by the charcoal use cooking up countless meals.

Egg perfectionists would lobby for me to burn off all that black and get back to the original surface.

Two problems with that are that I am just not comfortable burning my Egg at about 1,000 F for an hour, and I just replaced the gasket last year (OK, Sensei Jeff replaced it). To burn off the residue on the inside of the barbecue, you have to get the Egg nice and hot. I’m told it can sustain such intense heat, as it is a ceramic cooker, but I am not comfortable at extended periods of high heat.

I’ve cooked briefly at 600 F, and that was hot enough for me.

And if you burn at 1,000 F for an hour, chances are you’ll burn out the gasket that keeps the top and bottom of the Egg joined in a nice, airtight manner. As mentioned, we just replaced the gasket. It looks like new.

I have cleaned out the old charcoal from last year, and burned a few cooks recently at 400 F or so, good enough for me to season the Egg.

So far this barbecue season, I’ve done simple stuff, such as chicken, hamburgers and hotdogs, as well as garlic Brie cheese and the ever-incredible asparagus wrapped in prosciutto (vegetable candy), but bigger things are on the horizon. I know a brisket cook is in the works, and I want to return to some beef tenderloin and wings in the near future.

A quick perusal on YouTube leaves my mouth watering and my cooking ideas floating around my heat. Shotgun shells are a definite go this summer. Ground meat with cheese stuffed into manicotti shells, wrapped in bacon and smoked on the Egg. They look delicious.

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