Archive for May, 2016


Written by Tad. Posted in Kooks

A 28-year-old man came in with his mother complaining of chest and abdominal pain after drinking a whole bottle of Fireball Whisky on an empty stomach.  I had never heard of this sweet, cinnamon-flavored alcoholic drink but got the rundown from Xavier, the millennial physician assistant with whom I was working.

As I understand it, Fireball is not really whiskey at all but a cheap liquor that tastes like Red Hots. I understand it is looked down upon by serious consumers of whiskey. The fact that he drank the whole bottle, at home, alone, caused the young staff carrying for him to scorn him, behind his back, of course. The response seemed to be somewhere between, “What did you expect?” and “You deserve it.”

After talking with him and examining him, I was comfortable that he did just have a stomachache caused by his imprudent ingestion. I reassured him and told him I was going to have the nurse come bring him some medicine to make him feel better before he went home.

“Is it natural?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Does the medicine you’re going to give me come from natural sources?” he clarified.

“It comes from a big pharmaceutical factory. There is no reason to expect that anything we might give you here would be ‘natural,’” I answered.

This upset him and he told me he was astounded that we would offer anyone medicine without knowing about the origin of its ingredients.

I then pointed out the irony that someone would drink a whole bottle of Fireball Whisky, which is clearly not natural, yet refuse medication offered by a doctor because it was not “natural.”

“What are you getting at?” he asked.

At this point, his mother piped in, trying to help him understand. He turned, shook his finger at her and told her to stay out of his business. Their conversation quickly turned into an argument and I walked out the door.

I ordered his Maalox, in case he changed his mind about taking something “natural,” and processed his discharge papers.

Taste’s Famous Pub Cookies

Written by Tad. Posted in Cookies


I had to make a triple batch of these to take them to the emergency department. That means that I started with 72 ounces of beer and reduced it down to 6 ounces. It took about an hour to do so and filled our house with a wonderful smell. These cookies are buttery, rich and have a very deep, interesting flavor. Other than having to reduce the beer, they are really easy to make.


Rick Griggs, Taste Catering




24 ounces chocolate porter beer

¾ cup butter, at room temperature

⅔ cup brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup bread flour

1 teaspoon cornstarch

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼  teaspoon salt

½ cup Guittard dark chocolate chips

½ cup Guittard butterscotch chips

¼ cup salted roasted peanuts

⅔ cup mini pretzel twists, broken into pieces

24 whole mini pretzel twists, to garnish


1. In a pot over medium-high heat, cook the beer, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Depending on the size of the pot, this may take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes. Watch very closely, as this can burn easily. Watch it at the end as it goes quickly. Cool to room temperature; reserve until ready to use. (This can be done ahead of time.)

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and both types of sugar. Beat until well creamed.

3. Add the egg and egg yolk. Beat until well combined.

4. Add the cooled stout syrup and vanilla. Beat well, scraping the sides and bottom to make sure all the ingredients are well combined.

5. In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.

6. Add dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until just barely combined. Do not over-mix.

7. Add the chocolate and butterscotch chips, pretzel pieces and peanuts. Stir until incorporated.

8. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop 2-tablespoon balls of dough onto prepared baking sheets. Press a whole pretzel on top of each cookie. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours.

9. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes.

They Look the Same but Were Made Differently

Written by Tad. Posted in Trauma Strap Bags

Years ago, I was waking in the afternoon after sleeping all day after a night shift. An idea came into my brain as to a way I might be able to make strap bags in a different and perhaps more efficient manner. I couldn’t wait to sit down and give it a try. It worked so well that it has been the basis of my bag construction since then. These three bags were made with a variation that I hoped would make me even more efficient. I don’t think you could tell by looking at them but, I tried something different on these. I will need to practice some more before I will know if it is actually better or not.

I have been sewing the two base circles parallel to each other all around, butting the ends of each strap together. Then, I started circling the straps the rest of the way up. This time, I actually sewed the contrasting color to a full strap and started circling right from the beginning.



Which Way is Home?

Written by Tad. Posted in Kooks

While doing my emergency medicine training, I worked in a hospital in Slidell, Louisiana. There, I helped care for a middle-aged woman who was passing through town when she, her young adult son and his wife stopped in town for lunch. Coming out of the restaurant, the lady fell and injured her ankle. X-rays showed a fracture so I splinted her leg, got her some crutches and gave her a dose of pain medicine. She was discharged with a prescription for more pain medicine and instructions to follow up with her doctor in Mississippi. We helped her get into the back seat of the car and prop up her leg. Off they went.

About four hours later, the nurse came to me to ask for help. The lady’s son was there, asking if we could give his mother another dose of pain medicine to help her get home, where they could fill her prescription. It had been my impression that they were headed straight home when they left the emergency department, so I was really puzzled as to where they had been.

It took a while for me to get the clear picture of what had happened and it is still hard to even believe. Rather than head north on I-10, which would have had them in Mississippi within a few minutes, they went south. Thirty-seven miles later, they had crossed the causeway over Lake Pontchartrain and arrived in New Orleans. There, I-10 turns west. When they got to Baton Rouge, 81 miles later, they finally recognized they were going the wrong way. They turned around and by the time they got back to Slidell, the lady’s pain medication had worn off and her ankle was killing her so they stopped in for her next dose.

Going south instead of north on the interstate could happen to anyone. But how could someone drive, in broad daylight, on a 24-mile bridge over a lake, through a major metropolitan area and continue for another hour and half before recognizing that he was heading the wrong direction?

I told you that story in order to tell you this one:

A 53-year-old woman was taken by ambulance to the emergency department in San Jose, California. She had been found driving the wrong way, at 2:00 in the morning, on a freeway going through town. The highway patrol felt she had a medical problem so they sent her to the hospital rather than take her to jail.

The lady was primarily Russian speaking so her broken English and accent made it a bit hard to understand her. In addition, she had schizophrenia. This made it hard to figure out what part of her story was real and what part was a result of her mental illness. So, her story didn’t seem to make any sense and it took quite a while to understand just what had happened to her.

She lived in Yuba City with her brother and elderly mother. Yuba City is about forty-five miles north of Sacramento. The day before, she had driven to Sacramento to visit her brother who was a patient at the UC Davis Medical Center.

After her visit, she had headed west and south for 120 miles to San Jose rather than drive the 45 miles north back to Yuba City.

By the time she got to San Jose, she recognized she was lost. She got scared when she saw the low fuel light go on in her car. Then, “a spirit” appeared in her car and did something to the car. She ended up on the wrong side of the freeway because of the presence of the spirit. That is when she was discovered by highway patrol.

Since she had no medical problems, she sat in the emergency department until the social worker arrived in the morning. The social worker was the one who finally was able to make sense of the whole story. She called the brother, still in the hospital, who confirmed the patient had left there the day before. She called the mother and talked with a sheriff deputy who had been called by the family to help find the lady when she didn’t return to Yuba City after visiting her brother. Her family was very relieved to find that she was alive and well in San Jose.

The woman was obviously not in any condition to drive home. Since her brother was in the hospital and her mother didn’t drive, the patient was put in an ambulance and sent back on the three-hour drive to Yuba City. The car was towed home and the department of motor vehicles was advised of a need to reconsider her driving privileges.



Andes Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Written by Tad. Posted in Cookies

Our daughter, McKenzie, sent us this recipe. When I was unable to find Andes Mints on my first foray looking for them, she also sent me two boxes of mints, which made ¾ of a batch. They are very minty and have a great texture. I would not add milk. I would just muscle them into balls, which I did with minimal trouble.

Recipe By:

McKenzie from


2 dozen


1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 285 grams
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups chopped Andes Mints, 340 grams * SEE NOTES
1/4 cup milk, if needed **SEE NOTES


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  With an electric or stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed.

3.  Add the egg, then the egg yolk, mixing for about 1 minute after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.

4.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the baking soda, baking powder, salt, flour, and unsweetened cocoa powder.

5.  Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix for about one minute on low speed. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined.

6.  By hand, fold in the Andes Mints.

7.  Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls** onto ungreased baking sheet or silicone mat. Bake 10-12 minutes until sides slightly begin to brown. I took mine out of the oven at exactly 10 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and transfer to a wire rack.


1. * OR Andes Mints Creme de Menth Baking Chips

2. ** The dough is thick but should come together easily. However, if it is TOO thick to handle, add up to 1/4 cup milk before adding the Andes Mints.

3. I would not add milk. These cookies have a great texture that I doubt would survive if you added milk. Just scoop them!

4. McKenzie gave me two boxes of Andes Mints that made ¾ of a batch.

Blue Bag with Zipper

Written by Tad. Posted in Trauma Strap Bags

I have been spending quite a bit of time and effort lately on zippers. The beauty of my bag design is that it is it uses the shape and edges of the straps efficiently. Unfortunately, it is a real pain to add a zipper to them, as I have been making them. So, I have made several bags lately trying to figure out a slick way to zipperize them.

The Hancock Fabrics near us is going out of business so I was able to buy a bunch of blue zippers at a good deal to go with the black ones I scored at Fabmo.

Here is a blue bag I made with a zipper. More zipper ideas to follow!


Copyright © 2014 Bad Tad, MD