FRIDAY FUNNY: Time For A Little Midwestern Humor Ala Sven & Ole

A man and his wife moved back home to Wisconsin from Arizona.

The wife had a wooden leg and to insure it in Arizona cost $2,000.00 a year! WoodenLeg

When they arrived in Wisconsin, they went to Sven’s Insurance Agency to see how much it would cost to insure the wooden leg.  Sven looked it up on his computer and said to the couple, “$39.00.”

The husband was shocked and asked why it was so cheap in Wisconsin to insure because it cost him $2,000.00 in Arizona.

Sven turned his computer screen to the couple and said, “Well, here is it on the screen, direct from Ole’s Wisconsin Fire Insurance Company, it says:

Any wooden structure, with a sprinkler system over it, is $39.00.”

Enjoy your weekend, folks!   Get outdoors if it isn’t brutal cold in your part of the world.

©2014 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

The Tool Every Sportsman Should Have In Their Kitchen

Can you believe one of my favorite tools as a sportsman isn’t a gun…or a knife…or a flashlight…or even a multi-tool of some sort.   Nope.   It’s a gadget, and quite honestly a device that should be found IN EVERY KITCHEN!   I’m talking about a trusty thermometer used specifically for cooking.

Now, let’s get something straight.   Most kitchen thermometers suck.   That’s right…if you have the old dial thermometer that takes 15–20 seconds to slowly react to the cooking temperature, that’s not good enough.   Let me put it to you this way…if you were shooting at a flock of geese and pulled the trigger with a long delay in firing would this situation please you?   More importantly, a gun with a long hang-fire time such as this scenario holds the potential for being a true safety hazard in the field.

Well, guess what…a slow thermometer not only slows you down as a cook.   But chances are quite good that it’s slow in reacting because it doesn’t incorporate the latest in thermocouple science.   This could mean it’s simply not accurate.

For the past couple years my go to device has been the Splash-Proof Super-Fast® Thermapen® produced by a company called ThermoWorks.   I wholeheartedly endorse this product and I can say this IS NOT A SPONSORED EVALUATION.   I can honestly say I spent the $96 plus freight to get the product just like you would.   In fact, I am so impressed with a whole host of this company’s products I have purchased several types of thermometers, timers, etc.   The entire product line appears to be top notch in quality.

It’s important to note you can’t purchase these products in stores or even on Amazon.   Well, technically you can buy it on Amazon, but it simply directs you to their corporate store.

So, why invest nearly $100 in a thermometer?   Good question.   My first response would be because the safety of your family deserves it.   If you’re cooking any type of perishable meat or fish attaining the correct minimum temperature is not something you should be guessing about.   In fact, see the graphic (below) and click on it to enlarge.   This gives you the minimum temperatures as established by The National Restaurant Association and provides a good guideline.


As you will see, in general if you are cooking any large muscle like a steak or a roast the minimum internal temperature should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit.   Ground meat which has had more surface area exposed to knives or cutters is more prone to bacteria growth and must attain a temperature of at least 155 degrees Fahrenheit.   Poultry and most any game birds are even more highly susceptible to nasty organisms and should be cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Just a few simple rules to observe for safety.   Also, one of the main benefits of using the Thermapen is the slender probe to easily penetrate muscle.   Yet, the main benefit in buying quality is this probe reads the temperature at the very tip of the probe.   Other cheaper types of devices use different measuring technology and the reading could be an inch or two higher along the probe shaft.   With the Thermapen there simply is no guessing as you know what the temperature is within a split second…not several seconds later.

Check out most cooking shows on TV and you will see how many professional cooks tend to gravitate to the Thermapen because of the superb quality.   But what prompted me to write this post today is something new ThermoWorks is offering.   Check out the new ThermoPop at almost 1/4 the price ($24 introductory price) of the Thermopen.


Sure, you sacrifice a bit of speed(this probe states a reading in 5-6 seconds), but the quality of this device very likely is second to none you will find in any store near you.   I’ll be getting several of these to test out in upcoming weeks to come.

In closing, we all know about the importance of food safety when it comes to cooking and checking temps.   But there is another important quality factor involved in the cooking process.   To be a consistent cook it requires taking the guess work out of where things are at during the cooking process.

As many of you know, I come from the world of competition BBQ and often times when a piece of smoked muscle attains a specific temperature it gets pulled from the smoker to rest.   Even a 5 degree variance can spell the difference between food that is outstanding and food that is simply just good.

And when you are constantly checking temps you want to do things fast.   As the saying goes, “when you are looking, you’re not cooking.”   Hence the need to open door, insert probe, get the reading and shut that oven door quickly once again.

As a sportsman, you should take as much pride in how you present things at the dinning room table as you do in the field or the waters where the food is obtained.   If you’re one who downplays the importance of a good meat thermometer, than you’re missing out on an important element of enjoying the total sportsman experience.   In other words, why sacrifice good food to a $3 piece of junk when you’ve already likely spent several thousand dollars to bring that meat into your home.

©2014 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

The Slippery Slope Outdoors Writers With Integrity Must Avoid

A lot has changed over the past three decades in journalism.   And while change is often inevitable to the process—especially in an age of social media and digital publishing of all types—that doesn’t mean many of the core principles inherent to maintaining good communication standards needs to also be sacrificed.

So, yesterday I was involved in a lively discussion with a Public Relations person who was trying to educate me on the process of how things currently work.   The crux of their message was if you want to experience increased opportunity and access playing the role of a media person it requires said media person to get “cozy” with the industry you are trying to cover as a journalist.


Since when did it become an acceptable practice for journalists of any type to have such close ties to the industry they strive to professionally cover without being tainted by conflicting interests?   In fact, it used to be if a writer had any prior connection whatsoever with the subject matter of the story it needed to be open and notorious with the extent of the relationship fully disclosed to the readers.

Apparently that type of thinking has become old school.   Yet, I strongly disagree with this apparent trend.

A couple years back I was involved in discussions with an outdoor news outlet who wanted me to become a staff writer for them.   We were all excited about the possibilities the new relationship held until we suddenly encountered an unforeseen snag.

PressI was told as a writer from time to time I would be expected to do product evaluations.   The editor would choose the product and I could write about some new outdoor gadget and brag it up.   I asked…well, what if I don’t find value in the product to write a good review?   I was specifically instructed how that was not an option as I had to speak positive of the product because they also would be one of the publication’s advertisers.

At that point the mood of the conversation suddenly changed.   I said no…this won’t work.   I cannot in good conscience write about any product or topic that I do not personally believe in.   I will not lie to myself or to my readers.   When I sign my name to an article or a blog post it has to be genuine and completely true in all details to the best of my ability.   That’s how I was taught and I won’t sell my soul to the devil just to make some quick cash.

And so it apparently is with outdoors writing in this 21st Century communication world.   There seems to be an affinity towards such a “cozy” relationship with some manufacturers that eventually the writer simply becomes a pro-staffer, and that’s perfectly fine as long as its disclosed and all appearances of true journalistic standards are set aside by said disclosure.

My point is if you want to call yourself an outdoors writer in the truest journalistic sense then you must strive to only have your reader’s best interests in mind.   When you start getting “cozy” with manufacturers and others in your story then the writer runs the risk of sliding down a dangerous literary slope.

When I do a product test and evaluation the manufacturer knows it will be honest.   When I want to connect with industry folks it will not be with special conditions and prior approvals.   Nope, for anyone to even hint at the notion I better start getting “cozy” with the product sellers of my industry in order to succeed as a writer, in my opinion, has very devilish intents.

©2014 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.