I really enjoy cooking. Lately I’ve been on a kick of recreating all of my mother’s 1960’s, 1970’s, and 80’s recipes to gluten free. Usually turns out quite well. I love seeing Jane Condrey’s perfect penmanship on the recipe cards. Sounds weird but I feel a kinship to both she and Cornelia (my nana) when I see their handwriting . My husband, for whatever reason, always praises me for these little cooking extravaganzas. The whole process teaches me a lot, makes me feel good, and in turn makes him happy.
Wednesday two of my appointments were rescheduled so I found myself free for the afternoon. I decided to make some casseroles to freeze. Then I had the brilliant idea to make the Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls to freeze for bible study next week. Have you had them? Oh, sweet Jesus! You must make them. They are a religious experience.
Baking is a whole different animal. My mother could bake anything. Me? Not so much. But I was feeling confident so I plunged ahead. I pre measured all of my ingredients. I neatly placed them on the counter in the order that they would be used.
I then started the lengthy 24 hour cinnamon roll baking parade. The very first snag came when the recipe called for “proofing” the yeast. “Huh?” No idea. So I just threw the packet of yeast into the heated milk and butter. I then let it sit for 10 minutes like the back of the yeast packet said. I was suppose to hear a foam sound. “What?” Well, it was bubbling a bit. So I dumped it into the mixing bowl with the already prepared flour, salt, sugar, and eggs.
The recipe then called for me to mix the dough until well incorporated. Done. Then I was to kneed the dough for 5 minutes until it was dense and smooth. Can do. I attached my dough hook, set the timer for 5 minutes, let the mixer kneed away for 5 minutes. Next I was to put the ball of dough into a greased bowl, cover with a cloth, and let it rise in a warm spot for one hour.
Well, I bet you know what happened. Bingo–didn’t rise. Like not even a lick. Ugh. Wasted ingredients. A whole bag of flower, three eggs, a stick of organic butter, and a lot of time. Geeez was not in the mood to start over. First I had to go back and retrace my steps to figure out what it was that I messed up.
One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 7:15:
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but inwardly are ravenous wolves”.
They look good but they will ultimately destroy you. Kind of like my dough that didn’t rise. I had all the seemingly right ingredients. All looked perfect. However I used the wrong kind of yeast. Even though the package looked like yeast, smelled like yeast? Ultimately it was the wrong kind of yeast. The end result? I corrupted my recipe. I killed the dough. It didn’t rise.
When I figured out the problem I started again. This time with the correct yeast. The perfect ingredient. And as Jesus explained in the parable of the leavened bread just a small amount of yeast grew my dough. It got fluffy, happy, and it expanded.
Jesus forewarned us in Luke 13 that if we let anyone come into our churches (or lives) and distort the truth we will be corrupted. One tiny speck of sin will distort the truth. We will not rise. Ultimately we will fall just like my contaminated dough.
Following my grandmother and mothers old tried and true recipes work. Just like reading your bible does. Just like walking with Christ does. It is a recipe for life. The more I use those inherited recipes the easier cooking becomes. I feel drawn to them. As ridiculous as it sounds I feel connected to my nana and my mother by seeing their handwriting and reading their directions. Your bible is your inheritance. As you read it you will feel the Lord speak to your heart. You will see all of the directions for your life. You will find that life just makes sense.
Maybe it’s my age but I find that we often make the simple more complicated than it really is. Restaurants taking wonderful traditional southern fare and “infusing” it to make it “new and exciting“. The reality is there is just no replacement for good old fashioned southern food.
Likewise you can change the terminology in the church. You can be seeker friendly. You can preach love. You can preach inclusiveness. God’s word does not make room for our interpretation. Oh, you can spin it to make religion more friendly. Sin will creep in. Our churches become corrupted. Our lives a mess.
The Good News (see what I did there) is that Jesus Christ died and rose again for all of us. When we mess up? When we mix sin with flesh or the wrong ingredient in a recipe? God’s grace is readily and abundantly waiting for us to try again.
“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock,
and it will be opened to you.”-Luke 11:9