Culinary Oddballs (Angel in the Kitchen)

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No, “Culinary Oddballs” is not the title of a new sitcom about a couple of kooky cooks; today we’re discussing those freaky food misfits frequently found in the kitchen: fruits and veggies that have the chutzpah to be DIFFERENT!! These curious culinary nonconformists keep us on our toes; just when we think we know them … we often learn something new and surprising.

Veggies are many and varied. Although most people agree that veggies are the edible parts of plants, the actual classification of vegetable varies slightly from culture to culture. Carrots and turnips are roots, celery and asparagus are stalks and stems, and spinach and lettuce are leaves. What’s a tomato?

Tomatoes go great in salads, hanging out with all the other veggies; but in reality, this red rascal actually isn’t a veggie, at all. The misunderstood tomato belongs to the fruit category. So, one might wonder why grocers don’t display the tomatoes side by side with the apples and strawberries. Perhaps it’s because — unlike his fellow fruit — the noncomformist tomato doesn’t make great jam or taste very good in a pie.

When pondering veggies, the avocado is another of the usual suspects. But again, it belongs to the fruit category. Peas? When we used to leave these little green guys on our plates, our mommies would say, “Eat your veggies!” Alas, peas belong to the category of seeds and nuts. Weird? Well, we are talking about something that lies dormant in a pod until some unsuspecting person comes along and … no, wait, we’ve got peas confused with those things from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Don’t touch it! That’s no pea pod, mister!

Coconuts? They’re also seeds. Really really big seeds. Who knew? But all this just goes to demonstrate: in the kitchen there are certain culinary oddballs that don’t conform, don’t necessarily fit in with the rest of their group, and are generally misunderstood. Do we neglect them? No, because they’re tasty, and we find ways to help them fit in.

In life, just as in the kitchen, we continually encounter social misfits. People who for various reasons don’t quite fit in with the rest of the crowd. Maybe these people think or dress differently, maybe they’re just shy, maybe they simply have different beliefs, interests, goals and dreams.

Have you ever felt like an oddball? Maybe at school, or at work, or even in your own family? Cheer up, and welcome to the human race. We’ve all been there. In fact, some of us never left! But being an oddball isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most intelligent, creative and fun people often come across as a little different. And even the most popular, well-adjusted individual eventually finds him- or herself sticking out like a sore thumb within certain situations, at certain times, or among certain groups of people. None of this means we can’t toss ourselves together to make a social salad.

Face facts: sooner or later someone’s going to misunderstand you, and mis-categorize you. It’s okay. You’re not alone. So relax and learn to be comfortable in your own skin. Repeat after us, “Thank you [God] for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it.” (Psalm 139:14 NLT)

Remember that you have GREAT value. After all, God sacrificed His only Son, Jesus Christ, in order to redeem you! And you will always be an important part of God’s family: “…He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6 KJB)

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (Romans 8:31 NLT)

Thursday: “A Strategy for Salads”

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That Sinking Feeling (Angel in the Kitchen)

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angelic-pop-up-toaster-smiling-with-wings-and-halo-emoji-102714Most of you know by now that we enjoy naming our kitchen appliances. Maybe we’re just eccentric, but sometimes we think these inanimate objects are more … well, animated than a few people we know. These appliances are a big part of our interactions in the kitchen, and we’ve come to view them as faithful friends and allies in our culinary misadventures. Keep in mind that these little guys continue to inspire us — through their various mechanical traits and duties — with many lessons about life, love, relationships, and the nature of God, and perhaps you’ll understand why we’ve grown so fond of these “angels in the kitchen”! (Incidentally, the word Angel means “messenger.”)

So far we’ve written about: Luke and Nuke, the twin microwaves; Thor, the mighty blender; Captain Keurig, the coffeemaker; Mac, the knife block; Fridgey, the refrigerator; Sparky, the gas range; Mister Freeze, the upright freezer (who lives in the garage with Blue the SUV); and our feisty little toaster who can talk. This swinging crowd of kitchen companions is frequently entertained by the musical broadcasts of Orson, from his perch on the country china hutch. (Although we haven’t discussed him previously, Orson is our antique cathedral-style radio!) And by the way, we’re typing this on Hal, our desktop computer.

We’ve also written about pots and pans, boxes and bags, weird cookbooks and funky foods. And that, dear friends, is pretty much the whole gang. Only we can’t shake that sinking feeling that we’ve forgotten someone very important; that in our haste we’ve overlooked something vital to the smooth functioning of the kitchen. Oh, wait a minute. Hear that noise? It’s the indignant gurglings of … the sink! Okay, okay, that’s Señorita Sink, thank you very much! And she’s tired of being overlooked and underestimated.

Have you ever stopped to think how important the kitchen sink truly is? It’s the source of water in the kitchen, and without it, you can’t maintain a continuous free flow of that water. After all, as the water flows out of the faucet, it also has to have a place to flow to — unless you want your socks to get wet!

The sink is a handy place to prepare fruits and veggies for salads and stews. It’s also the place where we gather our dirty dishes — and the place where we wash them. Were we to suddenly lose our sink, we’d sorely miss it. We’d be losing an important member of our kitchen family, one which facilitates the roles of all the other appliances and gadgets. And yet, most people never even think about the sink. It’s practically invisible, in fact: underestimated, devalued, neglected and overlooked!

When you visit the kitchen of a new homeowner, the host will excitedly show off the glistening new range, demonstrate the ice maker on the sparkling new refrigerator, and emphasize the spaciousness of the custom cabinets. But how often does he or she take you to the sink and gush about its wonders? When people walk into a home appliance showroom, they tend to gravitate to the section where the latest model washers, dryers, ranges and refrigerators are displayed. Does anyone ever head straight to the plumbing section — because they can hardly wait to check out the latest in new sink designs?

Oh, Señorita Sink, how we have neglected you!

In society, we have an organization that’s just as vital as the kitchen sink, and just as undervalued and overlooked. It’s the church! Or, if you prefer, the Body of Christ; the faith community; any place where believers assemble — a sink by any other name is just as neglected.

The church, like the sink, is a source of water (the water of the Word); and it facilitates the continuous free flow of the Word in society. It’s a place where spiritual food is prepared. It’s a place where dirty dishes (soiled vessels for God) can congregate — and be washed! But we tend to overlook its importance. We underestimate its influence in the proper functioning of our communities and … yes, even of our government. And many of us totally neglect it. We don’t drag our friends to it and gush about its wonders. Nor do we consider its presence important when we’re shopping for a new home. It’s often just an invisible afterthought in our towns and cities.

But were we to suddenly lose the church (and its Godly influence in society), we’d sorely miss it. Trust us, things just wouldn’t be the same! So ask yourself, do you have that sinking feeling you’re neglecting something important? We hope it’s not your neighborhood church!

Please, find a local faith community, attend regularly, and become engaged in serving. Support it, and pray for its hard-working spiritual leaders. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)

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