Sunday, October 18, 2015



Sunday, October 18, 2015

Every ‘fresh’ ingredient of Grandma’s fabulous famous Stew recipe had been carefully measured and added together in the bowl. I then dutifully followed the instructions in the microwave cookbook and then visited with our guests as we waited the few minutes which were required by the instructions in the microwave cookbook. While we were waiting, I once again assured everyone that they were about to enjoy one of the most succulent delights of which they had ever partaken.

I had even borrowed some of those bowls with the blue painting on the rims in an attempt to make every detail perfect for Grandma’s stew.

In a magical few minutes my short order stew was steaming and we were seated at the table. I smiled as I anticipated the great satisfaction which all of us were about to have as we sampled the delectable dish which was before us.

My first taste brought a horrible realization that all the promises I had made to our guests would not be fulfilled with this terrible imitation of Grandma’s Stew. As if the taste wasn't condemnation enough, some of the veggies were rubbery while others were mushy and the stew meat was so tough it could hardly be masticated. In a word, this concoction was very un-grandma-ish. In fact the stuff in these blue rimmed borrowed bowls would not even have measured up to something which came out of a red and white can and had been bought at the local supermarket.

Apologetically, I bid farewell to our guests and then ran to the recipe box to see what I could have done wrong in order to make such a mess of Grandma’s revered Stew. I carefully and methodically retraced the steps outlined in the recipe and I felt assured that I had been faithful in measuring every pinch and dab indicated.

I was about to chalk this failure up to not possessing something magical with which only Grandma’s had been gifted and was putting the card back in the box when I saw some smudged writing in bottom right hand corner where my thumb had been holding the card only moments before. There the secret was revealed, ‘cook stew meat in a crock pot at low heat for 4 hours –add all the rest of the ‘fresh’ ingredients and cook at low heat for another 4 hours or until the meat is tender.’ (I suspect many of you who have often had ‘gourmet’ added to your cooking experiences were way ahead of me on the ending of this story.)

When I recall this embarrassing experience it brings to mind that an evaluation of our lives ought to include:

Whether time tested formulas should be modified and modernized just because we have found a faster way.

Whether the processes of an enlightened era, ought to reject the formulas of a slower but surer era just because they are more efficient.

Whether rules which have governed the ages should be rejected because we think we have found a better way.

Whether we should ever begin a project without first reading and understanding all the instructions we have been given.

Whether we should be so quick to discard the ‘old ways’ simply because they are the ‘old ways.’

Yes, and even whether we should reject such wonderful teachings such as ‘the golden rule’ simply because our neighbor has a better car as a result of ‘taking advantage of his neighbors.’

The next morning, surrounded by a ‘fresh’ batch of fixins, I carefully measured the ingredients down to the smallest dab and pinch and then ‘cooked the stew meat in a crock pot at low heat for 4 hours – added all the rest of the ‘fresh’ ingredients and continued cooking Grandma’s stew at low heat for another 4 hours or until the meat was tender.’

That evening, in plain white bowls, our family enjoyed the gloriously delightful ‘genuine’ Grandma’s Stew.

A few days later, when with my red face I was sharing this revelatory experience with one of our disappointed guests, he commented, ‘I guess that’s true in many of our experiences these days.’

When I asked him to explain what he meant, he replied, ‘I am afraid too many of us are trying to enjoy crook pot delights with microwave mentalities.’

Although microwave cooking might have its place in our ever improving world, hopefully we will retain in our minds that it may never substitute for low heat and time in a crook pot for bringing to life Grandma’s Stew.

Hopefully, we will always be willing to include in our lives those very important final steps which allow the mixing and blending of juices and spices.

Even in the convenient modern world in which we are privileged to live, there may be many of life’s experiences which can only successfully come together slowly, in a crock pot environment.



No comments:

Post a Comment