I love cooking shows. I make sure I have my DVR set for them, but ironically, I don’t really cook. Bake, yes. Cook, no.
My sisters and my mom have the cooking gene, but somehow this gene is suppressed in me. It is dominated by the “thaw, heat and serve” gene instead.
I became painfully aware of this truth once again when I made meatloaf last November. Meatloaf. How can I mess up meatloaf?! It is ground meat in loaf form; not rocket science here.
The recipe called for strips of bacon to be placed on top of the meatloaf. As the meatloaf cooked, theoretically, the bacon would crisp up for a crunchy ‘bacon-y-oh- so- good’ topping.
This was not the case.
The bacon grease dripped down onto the oven floor. (Wait. Was I supposed to put a cookie sheet under the meatloaf pan? Make a note on the recipe card.) Unfortunately, enough grease fell to the oven floor and began to smoke and catch fire.
Not to worry! I remembered that I saw on one of those cooking shows about throwing something on the grease fire and it will extinguish it. Was it flour? I ran to the pantry to grab my bag of flour and I took two large handfuls and threw them onto the grease.
Whoomp! The flour immediately caught on fire. So the answer to my question is: NOT FLOUR. (Make a note on the recipe card.) The kitchen began to fill with smoke and the smoke alarm in the kitchen went off. Scrambling, I grabbed a chair to climb up on to try to knock the battery out of the alarm as the siren pierced my ears.
“Come! On! Battery! Door!” I was tugging with all my might to slide that tiny door open. Seriously, how can a small piece of plastic be so difficult? Finally the cover door gave way along with the entire smoke alarm. I stood there on the chair with the alarm in my hands; four screws staring back at me and me remembering that I read one time the importance of using drywall anchors. (Make a note…probably somewhere other than the recipe card.)
Jack said, “Should I open the door wall?”
“SHOULD I OPEN THE DOOR WALL!?”
“YES!” Not realizing I was shouting too as my ears tried to recover from the loud piercing alarm.
Turning my attention back to the oven, the flames continue to grow and the entire oven coil was set ablaze. I carefully grabbed the meatloaf pan and put it on top of the oven and was trying not to gag over the grease/burnt flour smell that was pouring out of it. I turned on the exhaust fan on high hoping to cut down on the smoke. Baffled that my flour idea did not extinguish the flames but only made it grow, I went to the next best thing….the fire extinguisher under my kitchen sink. I got it as a gift from my mother. She knows me well.
Since I have not used one in a long time (honest), I was trying to read the canister ‘Pull pin, squeeze trigger…’
“Mom? Is the oven supposed to be on fire?” said one of my teenagers inquisitively as he walked into the kitchen. As my oldest he has witnessed many of my incidents in the kitchen but even this one left him puzzled.
“WORKING ON IT!” (I am going to say that my tone was because my hearing was not quite back yet from the smoke alarm and not that I was losing my patience.)
With that I pulled the pin and pointed the can at the oven.
WHOOOSH! A thick cloud of fine white powder descended over the kitchen and it went everywhere covering the oven, counters, floor, ceiling and the meatloaf. Basically my one spray covered a surface area of 1,000 square feet. Impressive!
Whew! The fire was out and the only thing remained was the sound of the exhaust fan feverishly running.
I sighed and did a quick clean up of the counters and floor and put the flame retardant covered meatloaf into the sink to cool off before I trashed it. Accepting my defeat, I grabbed my keys to run out to grab a $5 pizza.
I had such good intentions! I was making a dinner for my family. Meatloaf! That is as American as you can get! I had such good intentions when I thought flour extinguished grease fires. After sharing my story to friends, it seems like everyone but me knows its baking soda.
I had such good intentions…
Many times in this life with Sarah I have had such good intentions. When Sarah was first diagnosed with autism I was desperate to try anything and everything to “fix” her condition. We were told that to see the best results with her therapy we needed to devote 40 hours a week to it. I was resolved that was what we were going to do. We tried, we really tried, but things don’t always go as planned or fit into our life with three other kids. We struggled even getting 15-20 hours of therapy a week in. We even hired 4 to 5 therapists to come help, but we were still nowhere near the 40 hours. I felt like I was failing her. I knew God gave us her and my heart was willing to do anything to help her, but I just couldn’t do it all. I felt so defeated. I couldn’t balance being wife, mom, therapist, and caregiver. All my good intentions fell short.
I am thankful the Lord reminded me that I can’t be on this autism marathon on my own strength. It depletes my energy and leaves me empty. In fact, He never asked me to be on this journey without Him. He knows me. He knows my strengths, weaknesses, and all my good intentions. When I find myself collapsed in a puddle of defeat, He lifts my head, wipes my tear stained face and helps me back up on my feet again.
I am grateful for that and that He is not looking for perfection in me but a willing and obedient heart. When I finally open my hands to let Him have control, putting all my good intentions in view of what He is calling me to do and be, it’s a recipe for peace and joy.
Now that’s my kind of cooking!
“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7
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