I didn’t start working in the kitchen every day until I was married. So for the last 7 months I have attempted recipes on a nearly daily basis and Friday baking every week. Needless to say, it has been quite the adventure. There have been times when I’ve wanted to laugh but only had the energy to cry after my endeavors. However, after further reflection I realized I could learn more from my kitchen struggles than simply what not to do next time:
*On my first attempt to make wheat bread I used a recipe that called for a formidable amount of honey. Needless to say, this made the dough quite sticky and when I went to mix it with my electric mixer (as the recipe suggested) the dough literally rose up and attacked the beaters – and not just once. I resigned myself to a huge mess and mixing the dough with my hands. Lesson? There are times when we take on challenges that turn out much bigger than we expected, and the usual management tactics simply won’t work. It doesn’t mean you can’t handle the challenge, you simply have to be willing to get a little frazzled and a little messy, and enjoy your warm bread at the end.
*I returned to my wheat bread challenge with renewed vigor and more composure with my second attempt – I used a recipe that did not call for honey; instead, it called for a formidable amount of yeast. Unfortunately, I had to estimate on the amount because the quantity wasn’t specific. This time the yeast decided to take over my kitchen. The dough overflowed the bowl, the loaf pans, and spread itself throughout the oven. Flames sparked and the smoke alarm went off. I had to tell myself that there was a solution and to keep breathing (all while my observant kitties scrambled for cover). Lesson? the Bible equates yeast with sin on a couple of occasions because of how just a small bit can spread so quickly. One can never be too careful when dealing with sin. All of it must be purged from our life or it will take over. Fortunately for me, a lot of active yeast resulted in fluffy, tasty bread.
*Then there was the shoyu chicken. The recipe asked for a cornstarch/water mixture to make the sauce smooth and thick. Since I didn’t have cornstarch I decided to substitute flour instead; not a bad idea, except I poured it in directly rather than mixing it with water first. Obvious result? Clumpy sauce. Lesson? When we try to make our own substitutions to God’s clear directions for a healthy, Christian life we often get frustrated with the lack of consistency we experience. Yet the only ones to blame are ourselves. The Bible could not be more specific about abiding in Christ, the branches needing the vine, and bearing fruit when we spend time reading God’s word. If we substitute any of those things with ideas of our own making, our Christian growth will be sporadic at best, stagnant at worst – unlike shoyu chicken which can still taste yummy despite being chunky.
*My most recent tragedy was meatloaf. I had a very simple recipe to follow and after it was poured into the loaf pan I knew I would be presenting a beautifully successful meal to my hard-working husband, complete with fresh corn-on-the-cob and fresh bread on the side. My mistake? Using a stoneware loaf pan instead of a regular loaf pan. It took about 2 hours before the consistency was anywhere near to being edible and even then it was a very sad sight. It didn’t end there; it was very difficult for me to get the pan clean afterwards. Lesson? If we are not careful in how we live we can end up in situations that not only don’t turn out well, they are also difficult to clean up afterwards. Some examples can be words spoken in anger, lifestyle changes based on emotions only, failure to plan ahead, etc. Thankfully, like my husband still enjoying his meal, God can salvage our worst mistakes but there will still be scars left.
I am not giving up on my recipe attempts and neither am I going to give up on growing in my Christian walk. I am glad that Jesus doesn’t give up on me and neither does my husband.