I know it has been a while since I have written here, but this morning seemed like a good time because what I have been reminded of recently was that I need to have faith in my senses and gifts when I am cooking. Cooking is all about having faith in one’s self and one’s abilities.
It all started with a simple zucchini. I was sautéing some shredded zucchini to cook off the water in it. As it was cooking, I began seasoning it for inclusion in what I thought would become a recipe I was going to make. However, watching this broth develop from the juices being released from the zucchini inspired me to try making this into a zucchini soup. I had to have faith in my inspiration, my taste buds, my vision, and my abilities. It was so good that I wound up drinking the whole pot of “soup” and I know I will make it this morning.
In fact, it inspired me to make something similar for brunch this morning for myself. I began by once again sautéing some shredded zucchini and then added some spaghetti sauce and parmesan cheese. Simple, tasty, and awesome. Before the day ends, however, I will sauté some for use in making the zucchini meatballs for dinner tonight.
I love recipes and cookbooks. They are filled with wisdom and inspiration. However, what I have come to realize is that I cannot place my faith in cookbooks. I have to place faith in my own senses and abilities. I have come to realize that my stove is not the same as the stove the chef used to create a recipe. Every stove has its own unique qualities. Each stovetop has its own burner sizes and temperatures. Medium high is not the same on all stovetops, similar to but not identical. Our taste buds are not the same as the taste buds of the one who created the recipe. My wife’s sense of salted is not the same as mine. My sense of spicy is not the same as others. As scripture tells us, our understandings are not God’s understandings and our ways are not God’s ways. So we have to have faith in our own agency and ability.
We cannot always follow others directions. What worked in a test kitchen may not work in our own kitchens. I remember one time I was attempting to follow a lasagna recipe with the no boil noodles, which told me to bake it for 30 minutes. However, after 30 minutes I could tell it was not done as the noodles were not cooked through. So I continued to let it cook until it was properly done, which turned out to be closer to an hour. However, I have also baked cakes which said they needed to bake for 35 minutes, but they smelled done at 25. When I tested them, I could tell they were done, so I took them out. Had I gone by the recipe, not by my instincts and faith, the cake may have been overdone and dry, rather than perfect and moist, at least for our taste buds.
It would be awesome if when following a recipe in someone’s cookbook, if we could have them there with us, but that is not normally or always possible. Even on cooking competitions like America’s Best Home Cook, the mentors are not always able to be with their mentees. Like them, we have to learn to have faith in our skills, our abilities, our taste buds, and our gifts. It would be nice if we could put our Higher Power on speed dial and say “OK I need a little advice now.” While that is not possible, we can trust how Spirit is speaking to us through everything we are cooking in our life, on the stove or off.