So today when I got up (it was one of those nights..I was up at 5:30 am) it was cold. I felt it in the air. Climbing out of my electric blanket (a Christmas gift from my kids) I went into the kitchen and made a cup of coffee. The sky was still dark and the yard was lit by a neighbor’s back yard lights. It wafted through a gray landscape of snow and fog. It was gorgeous. I thanked God for a wonderful morning. When I checked our outside thermometer, it read -10 degrees. Yep; it’s a great morning to bake. Baking warms the entire house and fills it with a wondrous scent. I adore the scent of yeast and flour mixing to make fresh bread. With my new mixer, I had two loaves ready and rising in their pans in about ten minutes. Within the hour, I had two loaves of freshly baked bread cooling on the wire rack in the kitchen. Combined with the scent of freshly brewing coffee…heaven.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
In Matthew 6:11, we seek our daily bread from God. Today, I enjoyed bread made with my own hands, and through His Grace. We are planning on going keto/paleo, so our days with fresh bread are severely numbered. But today I enjoyed it with butter and some fresh honey. So, so good. And I love creating in the kitchen. Anyone who knows me knows I am not too crafty, to put it mildly. But I sure love to cook and I especially love baking. When someone told me that cooking and baking were basically chemistry experiments in your kitchen, it made me stop and think. And a recipe is basically the experiment’s building blocks, laid out all nice and neat, with your meal or cake or bread, the result of your experiment. If you do it right, you can do it over and over again, like all good experiments. Me, I love making bread. Kneading the bread, mixing the yeast and warm water, combining with melted butter to create dough, and then working the dough with my hands…the process is so cathartic.
Of course, eating the results of your experiment are half the fun. Today, my bread was airy and little crumbly. I realized I skimped on the kneading portion. I was in too much of a rush to eat it! Ha-Ha.
“This, our bread, was warm when we took it for our provisions out of our houses on the day that we left to come to you; but now behold, it is dry and has become crumbled.” Joshua 9:12
When you want to savor something, it is best when fresh. There are exceptions, as there are to almost anything. I am learning from Julia Childs that some dishes require days of preparation and all the pots and utensils in your kitchen, and some more you wish you had. Bread, however, is best warm and smothered in butter, accompanied by a nice cup of coffee (or tea or glass of milk).
The fog cleared and we had a gorgeous day. And then we had some sparkling ice fog…everything is white. So pretty. And it is still, and so very quiet. Which is a good thing because today I was blessed with a migraine. Ugh. I don’t get them often, but when I do, they are deblitating. I have been applying my Panaway and Copaiba essential oils, along with some peppermint oil, and it is slowly working. I love how I can be pure and natural in my kitchen, and with my health, too.
And today I started to really read my newest cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Childs. I am such a fan of hers! One of my favorite movies is Julie/Julia and I love watching her old shows on You Tube. However, I am one of those kids whose parents wanted for them, more than they had. I was not allowed to take any fun classes in High School. I took all these “Courses for the College Bound.” Yeah…science classes, pretty much. I always wanted to take art or home economics, or cooking. But my dad wanted me to be a doctor and said those were “frivolous” and would take too much of my time. And he wanted me to graduate early and start college. So I entered college the middle of my senior year, taking a couple classes here and there, until I could graduate. Meanwhile I got jobs working in the medical field, as well as occasionally waitressing. But I never was taught recipes or how to make anything. My mom just never thought about it, I guess. My grandma taught me to make tomato soup from a can! LOL! And how to throw everything from your refrigerator into a pot and call it, “Stew.” I was never taught how to measure or even to use a knife properly. I learned much of what I know from my mother-in-law and a cookbook I got when first married entitled, “Six Ingredients or Less.” I even gave my daughters-in-law recent editions because my sons had favorite recipes from that book. But neither of them uses it, I don’t think. They are both better at cooking than I am! LOL! (They are also both extremely gifted artists and crafters).
“Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35
Today I learned from Julia that even the tools we use in the kitchen are important. Just like in life. We need the proper tools to live. As I chose to make this recipe tonight (I made the Brown Sauce with Mushrooms and Garlic over Casserole-Sauteed Pork Chops – it was incredible) I lined up everything I needed to get the job done. I laid out all the ingredients I needed, as well. I read the recipes frontwards and backwards. I re-read them, just to be sure. And then I dove in. As I prepared the food, I was a nervous wreck. I kept praying I would be smart, be precise, and be attentive to the job at hand. Julia says paying attention and taking your time is one of the keys to being a good cook. She says if you read her book and learn the lessons from it, soon you won’t need recipes. You will instinctively know how to prepare whatever it is you want. That seems pretty amazing to me. I am on the journey to better, and healthier, cooking. Believe it or not, even French cooking is far healthier than what most of us think it is. Truly. No boxes, mixes, or cans. From scratch! Every bit of it. I love the challenge.
As we ate our meal, and enjoyed every bite, I thought about what I had learned today. I learned that food and family go together. I learned that paying attention and being organized is really important. I learned that I absolutely can do this, when I follow those simple instructions. I loved smelling the mushrooms and garlic melding with the butter, and especially loved the scent when the white wine was poured in and the reduction began. It was so wonderful. And I learned that I need order and prayer and instruction. It made me feel secure and confident. And that, my friends, is why I always turn my heart towards God. Always. My instruction, my confidant, my Savior. And cooking showed me how important that is to my life. Pretty cool.
“Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works.” Ecclesiastes 9:7