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

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!)

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.”

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

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.]

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.

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

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.

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. 


The Cheese Stands Alone!


We often make baked ziti, which (for those poor souls who’ve been culinarily deprived) is a lot like lasagna — layers of noodles, marinated
ground beef, and different cheeses. Once we took a huge dish of it to a friend’s house to share, and it was absolutely delicious! Wish you could’ve had some. 🙁

When we returned home we were tired, so we did the cook’s equivalent of that old housekeeper’s trick, “sweeping the dirt under the carpet.” Well, it’s not THAT bad. We decided to wash the messy pyrex baking dish in the morning — after we slept on it, so to speak. So we stuck the dish into the oven, where we wouldn’t have to look at it. Bad move!

Who wants to wake up to a messy dish in the sink? Not us, which is why we hid it. Honest, we were going to wash it the first thing when we got up the next morning. Only we hid it a little too well. “Out of sight, out of mind.” We didn’t give that dirty dish a second thought! Not the next day, when we were busy writing; nor the next, when we ran errands; nor the day after that, when we … well, long story short, we didn’t use our oven for days! Sure, we cooked on top the range, but we didn’t need to bake anything.

When we finally did open the oven, to look for the pizza pan — What? You don’t store your pizza pan in the oven? Ours won’t fit anywhere else! — we were confronted by that messy baking dish. Sitting there. Alone. In the dark. Sulking. Hardening the cheese and sauce of its aching heart … until all that was left was a dried up, crusted over scab of forgotten ziti. Okay, we’re being dramatic. But the cheesy residue of our long-forgotten meal was almost impossible to clean up.

We destroyed our kitchen sponge, using the coarse side of it to scour the dish — and to no affect. That cheese had hardened to cement. A jackhammer wouldn’t have been totally out of the question, but we settled on an SOS steel-wool pad and several minutes of hard labor. A just penalty befitting our crime of neglect and forgetfulness. And then — yuck! — we needed to toss out the SOS pad!

In life, just as in dirty dishes, we all face problems that are much easier to handle when dealt with quickly. Sooner or later, we all manage to make a mess of something, and it’s a lot easier to clean up our messes when we deal with them immediately. Hiding from an issue, avoiding an unpleasant task, leaving a hurt friend or family member to “harden” while we “sleep on it,” only makes the job more difficult — if not impossible to handle.

When dealing with people, never allow angry or harsh words to thicken and crust over, creating a barrier that separates a relationship. After an argument or misunderstanding, work quickly to resolve matters, bring peace, and heal damaged emotions. “I’m sorry” should never be the least-used words in your vocabulary! Don’t wait until later, either. “Don’t go to bed angry.” (Ephesians 4:26 GW) Swallow your pride; for the sake of harmony, humble yourself and seek the person’s forgiveness. “…God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6 ESV)

Keep those relationships sparkling!

There are far too many cheesy messes in our homes and workplaces, our neighborhoods and houses of worship. And in many cases we’ve allowed them to harden. Know what? God wants us to do the dishes — no matter how hard we need to scrub. “…If you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar … and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there…. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God” (Matthew 5:23-24 NLT)

Take care of your cheesy messes before the job gets tougher. Don’t put it off. Don’t talk yourself out of it. Things will just get harder. Do it quickly, so both your dishes and your relationships will sparkle.