My iPhone rang a familiar noise.
I had a text – from Amanda.
You can see for yourself what she asked me of me at 7:22 pm.
You see when Amanda and I got married – I began to cook like a machine. I love to experiment with different seasonings and such- and God knows I am telling you the truth, I have not messed up one meal….until tonight.
Tonight’s dinner would be something familiar but new. I typically cook all my meats in Bread & Butter pickle juice. I let it simmer for an hour, and it gives the meats a kick of flavor that is both sweet but savory.
Tonight I wanted to mix it up a bit. I chopped up fresh sweet peppers, onions, and zucchini – used 1/4 cup of chicken broth, a few dashes of Old Bay, a spray of salt, with two teaspoons of barbecue seasoning for additional flavor. Afterwards, I added a mix of Oregano and Italian Seasoning. I sipped it a bit, and I had a marinade that tasted and smelled absolutely delicious.
Once the marinade was complete – I chopped up portions of chicken and fish, sprayed them with some salt, and laid them in the marinade to simmer for an hour – until they would be primed for dining.
Now it must be said that before I got this message from Amanda, I ran 6 miles for the first time in a few months, as I recently – in a very embarrassing fashion – discovered how much weight I put on in a year’s time. (That’s another blog altogether) So I just kept on pushing myself while I was running because I wanted rid of every inch I could get rid of.
I was absolutely exhausted when I got the text to make dinner for Amanda – but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. So – as I already mentioned – I fixed up a great marinade in fresh vegetables, chopped up fish and chicken, and let it simmer for an hour.
While it simmered – I decided to lay down on the couch for a minute. I didn’t feel well after the run. I had overdone it.
I sat down for what felt like only 5 minutes – but realized something had just woke me up. It was the timer on the stove. I had actually dozed off with dinner on the stove, and something did not smell well at all.
I rushed over to the stove to see what had happened. I lifted the lid on the stir fry pan – and smoke poured out.
“Lord, have mercy. I have never messed up a meal…..until now.”
Smoke filled the house up. I feared I was going to set the fire alarm off. I quickly ventilated the room, and lit candles to cover up the smell.
I , then , returned to the kitchen to see what had happened to the dinner.
I stuck a fork into the chicken and fish, and the entire bottom of the frying pan has been burnt unifying the chicken, fish, and vegetables in smoked unit. I lift the fork up, and everything is bonded together by a solid sheet of black toast.
I hold it up in front of my face in disbelief.
“I have ruined it.”
It was 9:30. Amanda should be home any minute, and I don’t want her to find out what has happened so I just start thinking frantically.
I began to throw it away. I take the big, black, bonded, burnt remains of dinner and dangle them over the trash can. But right before I threw it way, I noticed that the top half had not been burnt, and then I got an idea.
I grab the sharpest blade I own and begin cutting the tops off of everything I can salvage.
I have large chucks of chicken, fish, and small vegetables – but they are in no way presentable visually. I taste them – and they still taste great. So I just began to finely chop up the chicken and fish until they were mixed well. I mean – I seriously chopped and chopped and chopped and chopped.
I then mixed the chicken and fish together and displayed it well on a plate. Then I topped it with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
I then boiled some red potatoes in the remaining broth and water.
When Amanda got home – this is what she saw.
When Amanda returned home, she was immediately ready to eat. She sat down with a glass of sweet tea. We prayed together. Then we ate.
“So baby – what do you think?” I asked.
“It is really good! What did you cook it in?” She responded.
“You know me …. Whatever I think of.” I said with a grin.
“Well – I really like it. It’s delicious.” She affirmed.
When she was finally finished eating – I told her to come over and sit beside of me. I asked her again “Did you really like the dinner?”
She said again, “YES. It was delicious.”
“Good.” I began to pull out my iPhone. “This is what your dinner looked like 10 minutes before you got home.”
She looked at the picture in disbelief – and then began to laugh. “Babe! Your burnt it that bad? You never do that!”
“I know. I was too tired to cook.” I said.
“Well I would have never known the difference. It was absolutely delicious.” She kissed me on the cheek, and then went to take her shower.
There’s a line in the movie “How Do You Know?” that I think is very Biblical. “We are all just one small adjustment from making our lives work.”
Sometimes our expectations for what something should be will make us throw something away altogether. Many marriages fail simply because people get false expectations for how their marriage should work – and when it doesn’t work that way, they get frustrated, angry, and then just throw it away.
Just like with the dinner – my expectation for what it was supposed to be in my mind almost let me throw something away that could still work. Had I not tried to work with what I had – rather than just get angry because it turned out to be something unexpected, I would have never learned to make “Sassy Shredded Chicken n’ Fish.”
Don’t throw your life, friendships, or marriage away – just because they aren’t working out the way you think they should. If you just get a little bit creative – you might realize that sometimes the best way for things to work is when we let go of what we think should be and be satisfied with what actually can be.
I would have never imagined I could be what I am today had Christ allowed me to be thrown to the trash – when I didn’t turn out the way he desired. (John 3:16)