Petro Law Firm June 2018


JUNE 2018


Parents love to brag about their children and I am no exception. In last month’s newsletter, I bragged that my oldest daughter, Carlee, was graduating from Birmingham Southern College where she played on the school’s tennis team. Well, since last month’s newsletter, Carlee has been hired by Birmingham Southern College to be their new women’s tennis team head coach and she was named the Conference’s Most Valuable Player of the year for the second year in a row. I am one proud father! Speaking of fathers, this month we celebrate Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers out there! I sure do miss my father, who passed away three years ago at the age of 89. My father was a wonderful example to me and my four older siblings in many different ways. The saying is true that the greatest gifts in life cannot be bought with money. My father gave us many gifts that money can’t buy. The greatest gift he gave us was Faith. He loved and lived the Faith and in turn taught us to love and live the Faith. For this I will forever be grateful. If your father is still alive, please make sure to visit him and hug his neck. I sure wish I could visit and hug my father’s neck.

If you’re like most Americans, you probably refer to your summer cookouts as barbecues. Despite this common shorthand, slapping some burgers and dogs on a scorching-hot grill doesn’t resemble actual barbecue at all. What “true” barbecue means varies from region to region, but at its core, barbecue is about cooking meat slowly over woodsmoke. Celebrated food author Michael Pollan explores the origin of this American cuisine in his book, “Cooked.” After years of research and hundreds of meals, he favors the definition of barbecue provided to him by an Alabama pitmaster named Sy Erskine: “The mystic communion of fire, smoke, and meat in the total absence of water.” When you begin researching different styles of barbecue, however, you realize that nearly everything else surrounding barbecue is a matter of debate. Barbecue, like the country that created it, is influenced by multiple nations and cultures. It exists in various forms across the country, particularly in the South, its spiritual homeland. Wherever you go, you’ll find pitmasters and eaters arguing over the merits of beef versus pork, vinegar versus tomato, and many other characteristics. While it would take countless hours to become a barbecue expert, familiarizing yourself with the major styles will certainly make you the voice of wisdom at your next summer get-together. NORTH CAROLINA Perhaps the most stringent school of barbecue is found in eastern North Carolina. Here, barbecue does not so much describe a style of cooking as it does one particular item: a slow-smoked, chopped whole hog, seasoned with a sauce of vinegar and pepper. WHAT IS BARBECUE, REALLY? E xploring A merica ’ s F avorite C uisine

–Mark Petro

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... continued from cover The pork here is not pulled, and it contains none of the sweeter, tomato-based sauces you’ll find on grocery store shelves. The traditional side is a finely chopped coleslaw. The Skylight Inn in Ayden, NC, is perhaps America’s most famous restaurant serving this uber-traditional style of barbecue, but its pitmaster, Sam Jones, is not the type to venerate one style of cooking above all others. “I believe there’s a place for all types of barbecues,” he says. Even with such an inclusive mindset, don’t expect beef brisket to show up on his menus anytime soon. TEXAS In the Lone Star State, on the other hand, beef predominates pork, and brisket is the most iconic cut. Central Texas barbecue is primal and unabashedly smoky. It owes its heritage in part to German meat markets of the 1800s, but it’s a creation all its own. Sauce is often frowned upon here, as it obscures the flavor of the smoke. Dry rub is the only addition to the potent mixture of fire, wood, smoke, and meat. As the rub caramelizes, it creates a crust, known as bark, around the meat.

In addition to brisket, you’ll also find beef sausage and short ribs on traditional Texas barbecue menus. These are humble cuts, widely available and inexpensive. The magic results come from a combination of technique and time. Aaron Franklin, proprietor of Austin’s legendary Franklin Barbecue, writes, “The fact that in Texas barbecue you’re taking one of the worst pieces of the animal and converting it into one of the best is a miracle itself.” TENNESSEE Memphis-style is the closest representation of what most people think of as barbecue. Pork ribs and pulled pork are the stars here. Memphis is also the birthplace of the tomato-based barbecue sauces you’re probably familiar with. That sauce covers pulled pork shoulder and is also slathered on “wet” ribs. “Dry” ribs, as you might expect, feature only a dry rub of salt, sugar, and spices. OTHER REGIONS There are far more regional specialties and characteristics than we have space to cover

here, but a few dishes and techniques are worthy of a brief mention. In St. Louis, the deckle or point of the brisket is smoked longer than the rest, creating burnt ends. South Carolina pitmasters are fond of a mustard-based sauce known as “Carolina gold.” For eaters with more adventurous palates, Kentucky barbecue, which often features mutton, is worth trying. At its heart, barbecue reflects the nation that created it. It’s diverse, creative, and simultaneously humble and sophisticated. While American barbecue is fundamentally its own thing, you can find cuisines from every corner of the globe that take advantage of the unique deliciousness of smoked meat. If you’re curious about the ways people from Korea to Denmark are making this ancient method of cooking their own, check out the “BBQ” episode of “Ugly Delicious” on Netflix. No matter which style you believe reigns supreme, barbecue is the perfect food for summer.

3 Awesome Dads Fathers Who Put Their Lives on the Line for Their Kids

the beast in the side, and when that didn’t work, he leapt onto its back and started punching it in the face. When the bear finally released Gabriel, Greg threw rocks until it fled. His son was hurt but made a full recovery in the hospital over the coming weeks. ARTUR MAGOMEDOV SAVED HIS DAUGHTERS FROM ISIS. Artur Magomedov was devastated to discover that his wife had taken his 3- and 10-year-old daughters from their home in Dagestan under the cover of night, flown to Turkey, and crossed into Syria to join ISIS. But he resolved to get his kids back. After a long, hazardous journey, he arrived inTabqa to embrace his two daughters. To leave the caliphate—under penalty of death— they hitched a ride to the border one night and crawled along a railway line until they were within 70 meters of the border. Then they ran under fire fromTurkish border guards until they could scramble into tall grasses. After some help from the Russian consulate in Istanbul, they made it back home, together again and safe.

This Father’s Day, thousands of dads will receive a“No. 1 Dad”mug to sip coffee out of at the office. But the following dads took that“No. 1”to a new level. BRIANMUNN GAVE HIS SON A LIVER TRANSPLANT. When doctors discovered that baby Caleb Munn had a rare disease called biliary atresia, they told his parents that he was unlikely to survive past age 2 without a liver transplant. Luckily, his father was a perfect match, and he eagerly donated part of his liver in March of 2015 to save his son’s life. GREG ALEXANDER BATTLED A BEAR FOR HIS SON’S LIFE. While camping in the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Greg Alexander was startled awake at dawn by the screams of his 16-year-old son, Gabriel. He rushed out of his hammock to see a black bear dragging his son away by the head. Without hesitation, he kicked

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Improve Cognitive Function in Minutes HOWMEDITATION CANHELP THE AGING BRAIN

time meditators don’t show a decline in the thickness of the prefrontal cortex

Meditation has often been touted by New Age gurus as a way to find inner peace and stillness. But what if meditating could reduce the effects of aging on your brain? According to research, taking a fewminutes out of your day to meditate may improve cognitive function. As meditation’s popularity has spread, so have studies of the practice. The results of 100 studies examining the cognitive effects of meditation all show evidence of improvements in psychological and cognitive functions. Some of the results are intuitive, such as howmeditation helps us deal with stress. But other results are incontrovertible, such as scans showing that meditation causes structural changes in the brain. For people facing age-related changes like memory loss, the results of these tests are especially relevant. The studies point to evidence that meditation can strengthen certain areas of the brain— the prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus, and the amygdala— that weaken as we age. THE PREFRONTAL CORTEX Your prefrontal cortex thins with age, which is associated with decreased cognitive function in your later years. However, meditationmay reduce this age-related thinning. Dr. Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist specializing in the effects of yoga andmeditation on cognitive and behavioral function, reports that long-


Your hippocampus helps you process and formnewmemories, and it’s very sensitive to stress. In fact, research shows that your hippocampus will shrink in response to stressful situations and chronic stress. The remedy? Meditation. Dr. Lazar’s study showed a positive correlation betweenmeditation and a higher concentration of gray matter in the left hippocampus. THE AMYGDALA Often called the fear center of the brain, the amygdala is triggered by stressful situations. But unlike the hippocampus, which shrinks in response to stress, the amygdala has been shown to become denser. In one study, people who attendedmindfulness meditation classes showed a smaller stress response in brain scans compared to those who did not attend the classes. Meditationmay help to decrease the density of the amygdala and therefore increase your ability to handle stress. Of course, in addition to these benefits, there’s a good chance that five minutes of meditation each day will simply make you feel better. People whomeditate report an increase in overall well-being. Why not give it a try?


Client Testimonial

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Inspired by Bon Appetit


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter 1 1/2 ounces store-bought waffle cones, lightly crushed 1 1/2 cups oats 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1. Heat oven to 350 F. While oven is heating, cook butter in saucepan over medium heat until browned, 5–8 minutes. Scrape browned butter into a heatproof measuring glass. 2. Pulse waffle cones, oats, flour, and salt in a food processor or blender. Once cones are finely ground, add brown sugar and pulse again. 3. Whisk egg yolk, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Directions

1 teaspoon kosher salt 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed 1 large egg yolk 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 4 pints ice cream (any flavor) 4. Add egg mixture to food processor while spinning on low. Once integrated, slowly add browned butter; blend until dough forms a solid mass around blades. 5. Form dough into 26 balls and place 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten balls and bake 12–15 minutes or until edges begin to brown. 6. Let cool, then spread ice cream between cookies to make sandwiches. 7. Freeze for up to 5 days

“I was referred by a friend to use Petro Law Firm on a motorcycle accident I was involved in. Mark did a very good job taking care of every

issue for me in a timely manner. I would recommend Petro Law Firm to anyone.” –Mark M.

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(205) 900-3361


Petro Law Firm 2323 2nd Avenue North Birmingham, AL 35203

INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of Mark PAGE 1 The Great Barbecue Debate PAGE 1 3 Fathers Who Risked It All for Their Kids PAGE 2 HowMeditation Can Help the Aging Brain PAGE 3 Take a Break! PAGE 3 Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches PAGE 3 Physical Therapy Is MoreThan a Physical It’s not uncommon for physical therapy (PT) to focus on the strictly physiological aspects of your health; after all, the word “physical” is right there in the name. But while PT is an incredible recovery tool, it provides a number of other benefits that are often overlooked. EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING The emotional impact of PT cannot be overstated. An injury can cause feelings of helplessness, fear, and uncertainty, which can suffocate even the most iron-willed individuals. After a major surgery, it feels defeating to wake up every day with severe limitations. PT helps you take proactive steps toward recuperation, putting the power back in your hands. SLEEP QUALITY Journey PAGE 4

Nonphysical Benefits of Physical Therapy

anymore. You are in control of your destiny, and that will give you the peace of mind and confidence to achieve your goals. Physical therapy may feel daunting in the beginning as you teach your body to relearn proper movement and work through an injury. But if you stick with it and follow your physical therapist’s instructions, you’ll come out the other side feeling better physically and emotionally.

deprivation. This can lead to a slew of other health complications and a decrease in quality of life. When you start physical therapy, you push your body to its limits, and the natural effects of exercise will help you sleep better. You’ll also sleep better once pain no longer keeps you tossing and turning at night. STRESS RELIEF Stress caused by an injury can derail your body’s homeostasis, piling up and creating a catastrophic landslide in your life. By actively participating in regular physical therapy, your mindset will change, and the stress caused by your injury will gradually begin to decrease. CONFIDENCE BOOST Perhaps the most substantial nonphysical benefit of PT is what it does for your confidence. When you’re on the path to recovery, you don’t have to feel vulnerable

Before pursuing physical therapy, many patients experience varying levels of sleep

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