If You Don’t Understand the Recipe How Can You Cook the Dish?

17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.
Matthew 5:17 (NASB)

As a younger man a very good friend of mine taught me how to do many things in the kitchen.  He taught me how to make sauces, how to marinate meat, how to sauté vegetables, and every other aspect of working in a kitchen.  Since those days he’s gone on to open quite a few restaurants, selling many of them to investors.  One of the single most invaluable skills he taught me is how to work with a recipe from a book or other source.  A lot of people say they can’t cook, but that’s because they don’t want to cook.  It is a very true statement that if you can read you can cook.  If you adhere to the following rules you really can teach yourself to cook, I promise.

Step one, buy yourself a copy of the 1953 version (or earlier) of Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker.  Don’t get a more recent version, yet.  The reason for this is that the older versions talk about skills and situations in the kitchen that are the foundation to the more modern ways of doing things.  In a nutshell, the older book will tell you about the lost art of cooking the way your grandmother did things.

Step two, when you plan to cook something ALWAYS start with the Joy of Cooking recipe first.  Read it.  As you read it, any words or techniques the book talks about, look them up and read about them BEFORE you start cooking.  This is very important. If you don’t understand how to sear meat, what a lardon is, what roll fat plays in the cooking process, what a divided ingredient is, and so on, you will not be able to recover from mistakes or make substitutes when ingredients are missing.

Step three, before starting a new recipe read it ALL THE WAY THROUGH first.  This makes sure you understand the process the author of the recipe expects you to complete, how much time it will take for you, and you can visually see that recipe happening in your kitchen.  Most importantly, reading the recipe all the way through allows you to take inventory of all the ingredients, ensuring you have each on hand before you start cooking.

Step four, always cook the recipe the first time exactly how the author of that recipe says to do it without substituting ingredients or techniques.  This allows you to see how the author of that recipe envisioned the dish, or as near as you’re able to recreate it.  This also lets you see how it tastes and if it matches the description of what the author said it should taste like.

Step five, NEVER make a new recipe for the first time for guests.  There are a lot of factors that go into cooking a new recipe for the first time that can negatively affect the presentation to guests.  You’ll feel a lot of pressure already with guests over anyway, so don’t add the pressure of having to get the food right and having zero experience with the new recipe.

How is this at all a devotion for the scripture listed above?  Simple.  God gave us the recipe for life in the Old Testament.  He laid out all the ingredients, gave us all the techniques, explained how we should combine with one another, and turned us loose.  Most of our ancestors didn’t take the time to read the Recipe for Life and just mucked about as they wanted or saw fit.  They fouled up the dish so bad the Author conducted His own cooking show to demonstrate how this recipe should be executed.  We have what amounts to a transcript of that ‘show’ in the New Testament.  Unfortunately, all the new cooks that came after haven’t bothered to read either the recipe all the way through or the transcript of how to make that recipe work, and we’ve been mucking it up again.

If we apply the five steps to cooking a new recipe to the Bible it might look like this…

Step one, buy yourself a King James Bible.  Step two, any question you have about life, research it in that Bible by starting with a word search.  Step three, before making a life decision read all that the Bible has to say about it, both Old Testament and New Testament to fully understand what the Author intended it to look like.  Step four, try it the Author’s way the first time.  Step five, have some experience under your belt in a life-situation before trying to present a ‘better way’ of doing things to ‘guests’.

God gave us the recipe for Life in the Old Testament.  Jesus came to us and showed us how to execute that recipe in the New Testament.  The Holy Spirit is moving amongst men and women all across the globe right now, today, to help them understand the grand Cook Book.  God did all of this specifically for you not because He’s upset that you’re doing it wrong but because He thinks You Are Worthy.

Questions for Reflection

  • Name some of the ‘recipes’ you might find in the Grand Cookbook that is the Bible.
  • List some of the ‘ingredients’ that go into these recipes.
  • In cooking if you don’t read a new recipe all the way through before starting to cook, don’t understand all the terms and words used in that recipe before starting to cook, and don’t try it the way the chef who wrote it said to do it; why do you wonder that the dish didn’t turn out right or even edible?

This devotion relates to the scripture used in the book You Are Worthy by Mark Malcolm, coming to Kindle soon.  To be kept up to date on the release of this, and other writings from The Cavalier, join us on Facebook HERE or follow us on Twitter @FirstChevalier.

You are not trash.  You are not wasted.  You are not broken.  You are loved.  You are pursued.  You are wanted.  Because God says…

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Ajay Pollarine

Nice post, thanks for writing.