Junk Food (Angel in the Kitchen)

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When it comes to food, do you have certain “guilty pleasures” you love to indulge in? It’s okay, we all do. We could eat New York-style pizza every single day. But that would be extreme carbo-loading, and since we’re not planning to run any marathons in the near future, we probably shouldn’t. We’re also fans of Edy’s Ice Cream — specifically Cherry Chocolate Chip! It. Is. Divine!

Crunch ‘n Munch? You know, caramel and chocolate drenched popcorn and peanuts? We also recall another brand, Moose Munch, which is an odd bit of nomenclature for a snack … unless you happen to be one of those huge high school football players whose name actually IS “Moose”!

If you bump into this dealer, JUST SAY NO!

Cinnamon rolls. Anybody’s, it doesn’t matter, although Cinnabon — to quote a line from Ben Stiller’s movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty“That’s frosted heroin”! And don’t get us started  on Tiramisu! Please, because sometimes we need serious help. Chocolate eclairs, Lay’s Mesquite Barbecue Potato Chips, and those little donuts that are dusted with a suspicious-looking white powder!!! No, we’re not paid to advertise, although the companies whose junk food we’re listing here … they really should reward us by sending us a year’s supply of everything.

Statistics show that people consume tons of junk food. Bags, boxes, buckets, and barrels full. Why do we love it so much? A couple reasons: First, it’s either very sweet or very salty, very crunchy or very smooth and creamy. These qualities especially appeal to the palate. Second, for many of us, these snacks are our comfort food. After a hard day of work or school, we want to reward ourselves with something sinfully delicious. It’s an old movie cliché, when someone is upset or depressed, they drown their sorrows with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Of course, the morning after some such binge, massive guilt sets in.

Junk food is great — occasionally — but it needs to be balanced out with more nutritional fare. A diet of nothing but comfort foods can lead to serious health issues, such as high cholesterol and diabetes. So let the “consumer” be aware.

There are other types of “junk food”: things we take comfort in; activities we tend to overindulge in; “stuff” we use to escape the pressures of life. Television, movies, sports, video games, graphic novels, magazines, the internet and — what’s your poison?  We love these activities and things because, like junk food, they greatly appeal to our senses. And although such things, just like chips and candy, are not bad for us in moderation, when we binge on them, when we “diet” exclusively on such things, our brains and our spirits can get sick! We need fresh air and sunshine and healthy “spiritual food” to balance out the lighter and — we hope, only occasional — junky snacking we all tend to do. We need to “consume” some of God’s Word, the “Bread of Life,” each day. (Matthew 4:4)

We can continue to escape with “comfort foods,” but we need to remember that it is just an escape; and like snacks that provide nothing but empty calories and no real nourishment, we’ll still be hungry for something more. “The true bread of God is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. …I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again.” (John 6:33,35 NLT)

God’s Word is healthy spiritual food.

Are you continually putting more “sugar and fat” into your system than you are “vitamins and protein”? You’ve often heard the quote, “You are what you eat”? Are you made of junk food? Are you glued to the boob tube? Is your ear stuck to the phone? Have your fingers meshed with the keypad? “As [a person] thinks in his heart, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7) Therefore, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

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The Beauty of Baking (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Not long ago we discussed the “Junk Food” of life, those guilty pleasures in which we frequently overindulge — such as TV, sports, video games, etc. — and how we need to balance our “diet” with healthier fare: specifically,
reading the Word of God. We enjoy making these analogies between food and the Holy Scriptures, and we contemplated writing today’s post on “health food” (spiritual nutrition: which we need in order to stay spiritually strong and avoid getting “sick”: again, reading the Word of God.) However, we think you get the point. So ...  today we discuss the beauty of baking.

Baking isn’t as easy as preparing other types of foods, for a few simple reasons. First, you usually have to stick to the instructions! And follow them in order!  Plus, you shouldn’t add anything that’s not listed. Or subtract anything. Or substitute anything. It’s like a science. Deviate from the proven formula and the cake may fall, the pie may turn out pathetic.

Despite the number of cookbooks sold each year, most cooks rarely refer to written instructions of any kind. They just walk into the kitchen and do their own thing. They stand in front of the range and start to boogie, waving a big spoon in one hand, while shaking out spices with other.

When cooking veggies, for instance, it’s easy to toss in some extra butter and seasonings. And as a result, the dish is usually greatly improved. Cooks tend to do a lot of this sort of thing. They stir the broth, taste it, and then decide it needs something. They add a teaspoon of this and a sprinkle of that. If they’re whipping up one of their favorite recipes and they don’t have one of the necessary ingredients, they improvise! Through experience, they’ve learned that they can make smart substitutions and sometimes even leave stuff out. Or add stuff — strictly in the name of science — like an extra stick of butter (!!) Generally, the dish turns out just as tasty, perhaps even better. But if you try to do this when baking, you’re courting disaster.

Life is NOT like cooking. We often approach it, however, as though it were. In our relationships, our ways of thinking and behaving, we act like we can do our own thing and everything will magically turn out okay. We improvise, make substitutions, leave stuff out, throw stuff in. We often don’t refer to God’s recipe for success in life.

Life is like baking. If we want it to turn out right, we need to follow the directions — in order. So where do “bakers” turn for instruction? Specifically … the Word of God. (Betcha didn’t see that one coming.) Moreover, when following God’s instructions, you can’t leave anything out, or add anything, or make substitutions. Just. Follow. The directions!

Even the Pillsbury Doughboy follows the book!

No baker worth his or her flour ever deviates from what works, and then wonders why their bread is dry or chewy or looks like a gooey mess on the inside. They follow instructions and have great success. (Baker’s Joy ?) And that, dear friends, is the simplicity and the sheer Beauty of Baking!

Moral of this little analogy? When in the kitchen, have fun, sling the spices, do your own thing. But in life, follow the instructions in the Holy Scriptures. That way you’ll experience the Baker’s Joy! “Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.” (Joshua 1:7 NLT)

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