Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Lesson from the Secret In-N-Out Menu

"those things which are revealed belong to us"
Deuteronomy 29:29

When our little family of four did our holiday traveling, we went up through California and into Nevada, to join the rest of the family for Christmas.  On the way, we carried on a hallowed tradition, honored by everyone in my family, on nearly every road trip ~ stopping for lunch at In-N-Out Burger.

We love In-N-Out.  The restaurants are always clean; the employees are always friendly, and the food is simply prepared, which means it's hard to screw up, which means it's reliably delicious every time.  They make everything fresh, too.  You can stand there waiting for your order, and watch whoever is in charge of French fries, cutting up the potatoes.  So, no reheated frozen fries here!

And no, I'm not getting paid for this; just sharing my humble opinion!  :)

The menu is just burgers and fries.  And shakes.  Their menu board is one of the smallest you've ever seen at a fast-food place.  Your choices are:  hamburger, cheeseburger, or the "Double-Double" with or without cheese.  That's it.

Or at least, it seems like that's it.

Because In-N-Out also has a "secret" menu.  That's what it's called by the people who know about it.  Which is a lot of people... It's not a very well kept secret.  I think the folks at In-N-Out refer to it as their "not-so-secret" menu.

Basically, the secret is the variations.   You can have more than two burger patties if you want.  You can have three, or four if you want.  But if you do, I hope you have your cardiologist on speed dial...

You can also have whatever number of cheese slices suits your fancy.  You can have your onions grilled or raw.  Whole or chopped.  No "spread" on your burger, or extra.  You can also have any of those options applied to your fries.

As someone once told me, if they have it on the premises, you can have it.  You can mix and match and create the lunch of your choice. 

My favorite lately is to have a cheeseburger without the burger.  In other words, a grilled cheese.  I love their burgers, but I love their grilled cheese, too.  It's got crisp iceberg lettuce, a slice of big red tomato, and a healthy dose of their spread, which is something akin to thousand island dressing.  I get extra of that.  I also get whole grilled onion on it, as opposed to chopped.  Delish.

I remember the first time I ordered it, I was a little hesitant.  Since what I was ordering wasn't on the printed menu, I was a little afraid that my request would be met with confusion, or that the order-taker would say, "Sorry; no substitutions."  But he knew exactly what I meant, and I got my order, no problem.  I've ordered it several times now.  It's a great alternative to their cheeseburger.  A little smaller, for when I'm not as hungry, and a little cheaper, if that's my goal for the day.

So when we stopped for lunch on our way to Nevada, I ordered that sandwich.  And as they always do, the order-taker immediately called back to the grill area that they needed a whole grilled onion.  I guess those are ordered less often, or take a little longer to prepare, so they need to get it started.  He just turned his head and shouted, "Whole grilled!" in the direction of the grill area.  I kinda grinned to myself when he did, wondering if the other customers near me would know what that meant.  A couple of years ago, if I'd heard an employee call that out, or a customer order it, I would have wondered what they knew that I didn't.  I used to see customers receiving their fries "animal style" and wondered what it was and how to order it...

So, here's a riddle for you:  how is the menu of a In-N-Out like the Bible? {Aside from the Bible verses that are printed on the cups and burger wrappers.}

I think that sometimes the Bible seems secret to people.  They think it's confusing or mysterious or ambiguous. 

It's not, of course.  It's God's Word to us, and He's brighter than we are, so there are going to be parts that are above us.  There are parts that can only be understood in the context of other parts.   There are parts that we are not going to understand until we understand Him better, and we can only understand Him better through His Word. 

Sound paradoxical?   Maybe; but it's true.

But once you understand something complex in the Bible, that knowledge is yours.  You understand what seems incomprehensible to others.  A concept that once was beyond you, or that might have felt "secret" to you, is now yours for the keeping.  Knowledge, especially spiritual knowledge, can never be taken away from you.

The hard thing is, we don't know what we don't know, until we know that there's something we don't know.  But then all we have to do is learn it.  Read.  Study.  Re-read.  Write.  Memorize.  And read some more.  There is treasure there, if you're willing to seek. 

~ "those who seek the Lord understand all" ~
Proverbs 28:5

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