Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sweet and Sour

"like vinegar"
Proverbs 25:20

I made ketchup the other day.  Or "catsup".  No, I think I made ketchup.

This was not about the joy of creating, like when I make homemade chicken stock.   It wasn't about me being a modern-day Ma Ingalls.  Love those books...

The fact is, I was just out of ketchup.  We decided to have sloppy joes for dinner, which I really don't think I ever made before... and we needed ketchup.

So I decided to just wing it.  I actually enjoy doing that in the kitchen.  I like the challenge of tweaking recipes.  So I found a sloppy joe recipe online that didn't call for ketchup, per se, but mimicked the ingredients in ketchup, and I set to work. 

I had to wing it almost right away.  I didn't have any tomato puree.  But I had canned tomatoes, so I drained those to make it as much like tomato puree as possible.  I set aside the juice, 'cause I do that. 

And I didn't have any tomato paste, either.  And there's not really anything that mimics tomato paste.  But the recipe called for Worcestershire sauce, so I added extra of that, because I love it, and I think it adds depth and a savory quality to foods.

And then, would you believe, it called for about a half a cup of water.  At which point I added the tomato juice I had drained off the canned tomatoes.  'Cause why add water when you can add flavor? 

Some brown sugar, and salt and pepper, and then I went to add the vinegar.  It called for apple cider vinegar ~ which I have ~ but I briefly thought of using balsamic instead.  I love balsamic.  I discovered a brand a couple of years ago that is so rich and flavorful, which just the right touch of the sweetness you expect from balsamic.  And since I like tweaking recipes, I thought maybe I might try that. 

But then I realized that balsamic vinegar is totally different from apple cider vinegar.  And then I started thinking about all the vinegars I have in my cupboard, and how totally different they all are.   Red-wine vinegar, white vinegar, malt vinegar, and a couple of flavored vinegars.  But none of them would work as a substitute in that recipe. 

Vinegars are so much alike, and yet so different.  Made the same way, from the same source, but for different purposes.  And the chef needs to know which one is right for a particular situation. The wrong one will change the outcome.  They just don't compare.

Works that way in life, too.  What is right for your neighbor is not right for you.  And God knows that the addition of that circumstance in your life will change the outcome.  So He might not say "yes" to that prayer.  Which, if you really want His will, should make happy, even if your situation doesn't.

If you're walking in His light, then you want your life to be a blessing to others, and a glory to Him, then you need to trust that He knows just you need for growth ~ good our bad, sweet or sour. 

~ "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed the the one who trusts in Him!" ~
Psalm 34:8

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