Good Gravy or Grave Glop? (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Haha, fooled ya!

Colonel Harland Sanders always said his original fried chicken was so delicious because it was prepared from a “secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices.” Perhaps at one time the delectable batter-coating did contain 11 herbs and spices. Today, however, KFC (the company that now owns the Colonel’s name and secrets) may need to check their math. There’s a good chance the corporation has myth-calculated the number. In fact, after procuring a batch of the seasoning and having it analyzed, William Poundstone wrote in his 1983 book Big Secrets, the formula consists only of flour, salt, monosodium glutamate, and black pepper. (Hurray, at least pepper is a spice!)

“How many did you say? Dude, you may want to check your math.”

We’re not bashing KFC — we still like their chicken — but we do wish to point out a truth. “Stuff” has a way of changing, not always for the better, and we often don’t even realize it. Or, to paraphrase an oft-used sentence, “What you think you see, is not necessarily what you get.”

We trust that when Colonel Sanders began franchising his famous Kentucky Fried Chicken, way back in the 1950s, he used “11 herbs and spices” (ingredients he insisted “stand on everyone’s kitchen shelf”). But times change, and apparently so does the truth — or does it?

Regardless how many are used, herbs and spices add flavor, aroma, color, texture and, often, nutrients to many recipes. [Time out. Do you know the difference between “herbs” and “spices”? C’est simple! Herbs are produced from the green leafy parts of certain plants. Spices are produced from parts of certain plants other than the leaves. Basil (from leaves) is an herb. Ginger (from the root) is a spice.]

Grinning dude on the left: “Good, huh?”    Colonel  Sanders: “I’ll be the judge of that.”

Sanders, who devised many of the recipes and cooking processes used at his outlets, once said his signature gravy was so delicious, “You’ll want to throw away the chicken and eat the gravy.” However, after the Colonel sold the food chain to a big corporation, the gravy formula quickly changed — without prior warning. Sanders, staying on as spokesperson for a time, compared the new gravy to wallpaper paste. He was known, whenever he popped in to inspect one of the restaurants, to throw the gravy against the wall, and a few choice words (“colorful metaphors,” as Star Trek’s Mr. Spock once termed them) at the staff. Oh well. His name was on the product, after all; but he knew it was no longer the real deal.

Other things changed, too. For instance, Colonel Sanders always fried his chicken in pure vegetable oil, because he felt doing so yielded the best flavor. After purchasing the chain, KFC changed the cooking oil to save money. Soybean oil was substituted because it’s cheaper, albeit more fattening; but the corporation wasn’t exactly planning on publicizing their “fixes.” Again, we’re not necessarily faulting KFC. To succeed companies always have to watch their bottomline. Still, it’s nice to know when things change and exactly what you’re getting.

Ersatz Sanders!?!?!
Altered Reality? … or, The Case of the Ersatz Sanders!

In good faith, Colonel Sanders shared his recipes and sold the use of his name. He imagined that wherever the words “Kentucky Fried Chicken” were displayed, and whoever prepared his signature food, that the same quality and ingredients were assured. Imagine his dismay when he visited various KFC restaurants, sampled the menu, researched the ingredients…. Isn’t anything sacred? Perhaps not these days.

In life, things change — often subtly — whether it’s in relationships or institutions, products or services. Sometimes substitutions are made. Things may look the same, sound the same, and even be labeled the same. But, as Colonel Sanders learned the hard way, regardless of the name, “chicken and gravy” ain’t always what you think; and the same can be said of everything, including misleading things you hear on the evening news and read on the internet, which people then innocently repost on social media. Face it, there’s a lot of misinformation in the world today.

Oh no! I’m evil?

Even what’s often touted as Spiritual or Biblical truth may actually be a misrepresentation of the Word of God or, worse, outright FALSE. An obvious example of this is the frequently repeated remark that “money is the root of all evil”? Sadly, this seemingly harmless misquoting of the Bible has done its fair share of damage. “Money” is a tool. With it you can build hospitals and save lives. As one evangelist once put it, “If money is truly the root of all evil, then the Devil would be delivering it to your doors by the truckloads.” No, the true Bible verse states, “…The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10 NKJV)

There are countless other instances of spiritual error, in which people have purposely altered or entirely dismissed Biblical truth to support their own agendas. Many of these people misrepresent the teachings of Christ in order to justify a particular behavior or lifestyle that is contrary to God’s Word.

The Apostle Paul warned, “…A time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation….” (2 Timothy 4:3-5 NLT)

So, regardless of how it’s labeled, how it’s packaged, where it’s served — always trust but verify! Don’t swallow everything you hear. Know exactly what you’re “consuming.” What seems to be the “Colonel’s gravy” (truth) may actually be nothing more than some “concocted glop”! And that’s a grave (serious) thing to contemplate. 

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Chilly Challenges and Slushy Situations (Diet for Dreamers)

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Dairy Queen serves a cold concoction guaranteed to create an addiction. It’s called a Mocha MooLatté, an icy blend of strong coffee, intense chocolate, and fat-saturated cream. NASA would be wise to jettison orange-flavored Tang in favor of this slushy drink. Having future astronauts consume a Mocha MooLatté right before liftoff could save taxpayers tons of money in rocket fuel. In fact, our astronauts might even be able to reach Mars without a spaceship!

When we bought our first Mocha MooLattés, the lady behind the counter at DQ warned us, “You’ll be soooorry!”

Really? How come? “Because,” she laughed, “you’ll be back tomorrow for another one! And the next day and the next.”

Visions of begging on a littered street corner suddenly filled our heads. We imagined ourselves pleading with passersby for spare change, all so we could buy just one more Mocha MooLatté — Please!

But the pusher at DQ — excuse us, the nice lady at DQ — was wrong. We had no intention of returning the next day. After we drank our slushy drinks, we got back in line immediately! Even she was surprised! Combining all that sugar, chocolate, and caffeine can definitely create an addictive rush, but the real danger in consuming this rich, delicious concoction … this refreshing, invigorating … incredible, absolutely divine drink — gasp, we need help! — is the dreaded side effect that comes from careless and wanton consumption! Sigh! BrAiN fReEZe!!

spock-brain-freeze
Even Vulcans can get brain freeze!

Brain freeze is that sensation you get — that feels like your head is about to explode — when you drink something really cold really fast! However, as we previously discussed, there’s another kind of brain freeze, which makes you feel like your head is about to explode; and it can freeze you dead in your tracks while in the pursuit of your dreams and goals. It’s caused by the iciness of loss, disappointment, and despair; too many rejections, dead ends, closed doors, missed opportunities, setbacks, weaknesses and failures.

As previously stated, the solution to brain freeze is to change one’s perspective on life, problems, and failures; and to foster a CAN-DO attitude. We need to look at our adversities as the perfect environment for personal growth; at setbacks as opportunities for comebacks; our problems as invitations for innovation; and a closed door as a sign to simply keep on knocking. Remember, necessity is the mother of invention.

Have you been frosted over by life’s frequent frustrations? Here’s an anecdote to help thaw your mind: In the late-1950s, Omar Knedlik, a WWII veteran who owned and operated a dilapidated Dairy Queen in Kansas City, created another iconic frozen drink by sheer accident. Knedlik’s restaurant equipment was always breaking down at the most inopportune times; and after his soda fountain finally gave up the ghost, Knedlik was faced with one of those potentially brain-freezing problems.

With customers to serve, each expecting a cold soda to wash down the burger and fries, Knedlik had to improvise: he loaded his freezer with bottled pop, which created a new problem. Knedlik couldn’t get the hang of knowing just when to take the sodas out, so usually the bottles of carbonated liquid were partially frozen. And yet, his customers seemed to like the slushiness of these icy soft drinks, and would typically ask Knedlik if they could have one of the “pops that were in a little bit longer.”

Knedlik immediately realized his troubles were blessings in disguise. Using the air conditioning unit from an old car, he built a machine in the back room which mixed and partially froze flavored waters and carbon dioxide, to create a slushy, fizzy drink he called Icee.

Most of us know Icee by another name: Slurpee. In fact, if you’re like us, you might imagine that Icee (with its polar bear mascot) is a copycat of the more famous drink sold by the 7-Eleven chain. Not so. Icee is the original, but when Knedlik licensed the product to the convenience store chain, he asked that the name be changed so as not to limit further marketing deals. Now that’s what we call fully thawed thinking!

Life is fraught with slushy situations and chilly challenges, but as the Apostle Paul wrote, “Now thanks be unto God, who always causes us to triumph….” (2 Corinthians 2:14 Jubilee Bible 2000)

Out of adversity come change, growth, and innovation. Understand this and you’ll start viewing any circumstance, any problem, any setback as a new opportunity. Dear dreamers and fellow creators, every experience, good or bad, provides a new opportunity to seek God, to ask for His wisdom and direction — and to press onward. And if you’re a writer or an artist (in drama, music, or graphics), these experiences are just more material for your work. If your an innovator, every new challenge is grist for the mill, because the Lord is able to turn every curse into a blessing! (Deuteronomy 23:5)

Yeah, I know this looks bad, but I gotta plan.
Yeah, I know this looks bad, but I gotta plan.

So, if you want to avoid brain freeze, then drink plenty of Slurpees (and Mocha MooLattés in moderation), but keep this positive perspective. Train yourself to NOT allow your problems, weaknesses, failures, setbacks, disappointments, dead ends, closed doors, or rejection to freeze your personal growth or progress as you pursue your dreams. Always remember, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God….” (Romans 8:28 NLT)

Cultivate this positive, victorious mindset, as well as a CAN-DO attitude, and you’ll never have to worry about getting brain freeze.

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