This ain’t no pity party. Nothing like that at all. Just a slow realization over the course of my life of some things that are true, but also that don’t really matter.
It may surprise some people to hear me say that I am a kitchen failure, especially since I have been married for more than 20 years, and neither my husband, myself or any of our three children are showing signs of under-nourishment! And it’s not that I can’t cook, or that I can’t cook anything really well, it’s just, well, I won’t quit my day job. There was a time in my life when I thought I wanted to be a paid cook, and I even went so far as to get the proper credentials to make me qualified to hold such a position. But that was back when groups of us would volunteer to work in the kitchen at church, making cute little sandwiches and chocolate cake for funerals, when we would get together in the kitchen and laugh and joke and totally enjoy the day serving others in their time of need or celebration, whichever the case may be. Back when the cook would tell us what to do and we would do it, because we enjoyed each other’s company so much that we would cook all day in the hot kitchen just to be there.
As time goes, and life changes, I don’t spend as much time in the kitchen as I did, or as I would like. Maybe if all those ladies would come to my house every day we could prepare wonderful meals for my family. But alas, it is only I, and my skills have gone the way of the dinosaur.
My latest attempt at something would have to be the chocolate pudding pie. Sounds easy enough, which is my biggest downfall, thinking something sounds easy. Nothing worth its salt is ever just easy! That should have been a big red flag that sent me to the grocery store to buy dessert, but no, I have an idea. If I just mix this pudding, but leave out a bit of the milk so it’s thicker, it will make a nice filling for this readymade pie crust in my cupboard. What I forgot to tell myself is that I am also terrible at math, so when I start reading ingredients and calculating portions in my head, look out! So this is what I attempted to do. I knew something was wrong the second the first ‘plop’ hit the crust. I wanted it to be thick, but I did not want it to hit the bottom like a cement brick! It set up faster than crazy glue, and there was simply no spreading it around in there, it was set. I knew that I did something wrong. So I stopped for a minute and really tried to figure out the correct portions of ingredients and realized just how badly I had screwed up this simple chocolate pie. And from there it just got worse. I thought “well, I’m not going to just throw it out, surely I can salvage some of it” So I tried to get all that filling out of that crust to try and fix it. Well, I got some out, and I did manage to fix it, sort, of. By the time I finished, it looked like I had invited the entire group of 6 year old girl guides into my house and they had a food fight. I don’t know how it happened, but there was chocolate ‘pudding stuff’ just about everywhere! Well, I finally had a bit of a creation completed. It looked innocent. It almost looked edible.
So we ate it. Well, okay, I ate it. How can I resist a chocolate pie? I can’t remember if I managed to wait to have it for dessert or not, but I remember cutting it and thinking, “this looks good enough to eat.” Apparently looks can be deceiving.
I know that I know that I know that the pie crust that I took out of my cupboard was not old, or even close to its due date. I do not know why it tasted like cardboard, or actually, tasted worse than cardboard. I had not tasted anything that dry, or tasteless, in my entire life. If there were any graham crumbs in that crust they were cleverly disguised. because the package said it was a graham crust, ready to use. But the taste said something else entirely.
For some strange reason, one day, that wonderful chocolate pie just disappeared from my kitchen counter, never to be seen again.
That was when it hit me: I am not a cook! Strange, really, since I do cook every day. And I have been known to bake spectacular chocolate chip cookies, and I can dazzle ‘em with my Lavish Stuffed Chicken recipe. And my baked oatmeal, well, people asked for that recipe after Mother/daughter camp last summer (yup, I got paid to cook, once)! But I do not stand out from the crowd for my culinary skills.
I think that it is a serious sign of maturity to recognize when something is just not your gift or talent, and be okay with it. I’m not in any way offended that God did not give me this particular ability. I have friends who decorate cakes that look like, well, dinosaurs and tiers of flowers, and fancy things, and that’s okay. But I can’t do that. I will forever be a patron of the local bakery and pay someone else to make me a nice cake.
What’s really cool about it all is that the world is a much better place because we all have different skills and abilities. How boring if we all could decorate cakes, and loved to cook four-course meals for our families (boring, not to mention how big would our back-sides all be if we ate like that everyday???) Think for a minute of how the world would look if we were all the same……….
God has made us wonderful, each in our own way. I could go into the list of things that I can do, but it would be long (really it would). It doesn’t take me long to remind myself that, even if I do fail at chocolate pie, God has made me good, and there are things, many things, that I can do. . Some days we eat soup from a can, some days we eat soup that I made from scratch. I have never, ever, made Nanaimo bars, but I have bought them from the bakery. I have also never, ever made a real cheesecake. I know ladies who make this kind of stuff on a regular basis. Or at least at Christmas. Not me, and that’s okay. After filling up my house with smoke recently, I decided I will put to rest the task of ever making an Angel Food Cake – okay, it wasn’t the first time I tried, but it was the last!
So where are you today? Are you struggling with trying to keep you with the Jones’, or just with Mrs. Jones and her fancy kitchen skills?
Let me point you to a very well-known passage of scripture that was penned many, many years ago, by someone who no doubt was wrestling with some of these same things.
In Paul’s first book to the Corinthians, he talks about how strange it would be if the foot should decide it is not a hand so therefore it does not belong to the body, or the ear, because it is not an eye, feels it does not belong (1 Corinthians 12:14 - ) . How silly it sounds to read, and yet we are guilty of talking that way to ourselves frequently, much more frequently than we would probably admit.
Keep reading in 1 Corinthians to hear how God has made all the parts of the body, each with a different role, yet all so vitally important to the body as a whole.
Need I remind you again how God has made us each with our own set of abilities, skills, talents, gifts, likes and dislikes? And He loves the ‘you’ that He made. There is no need to compare or put down yourself because you cannot do something just like someone else.
Think of it like this: if everyone baked the best brownies and brought them to the pot-luck, what would we have? Brownies. That’s all. No cherry pie, no fresh baked buns, no jello salad.
No tuna casserole (don’t knock it, I love tuna casserole!)
So let’s stick together; you bake, and I will plan and organize something so we can eat your baking! We can meet at my house , just don’t mind the dust. I did dust, once……
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