I want to begin this post with a HUGE disclaimer – I am not a chef by any stretch of the imagination!
I love to cook but lack the patience to properly learn “how to” do it well. Instead, I enjoy creating recipes as I experiment with the meals though no two meals are ever exactly the same. It is a paradox for me as I enjoy planning yet have a “no limits” type of personality within me.
Life is very similar to the way we cook (in my humble opinion). Some follow a recipe with full trust that the dish will manifest into the same creation of the chef who penned those instructions. Others will use the recipe as a guideline to create the dish with a unique outcome. Still, others choose to simply “make it up” based on their emotions given what is available for immediate use (who knows if a new dish will be born of this creative effort?).
Sometimes, I tend to be the latter chef in my own kitchen. Food is food after all and I enjoy cooking freely and experimentally. I often make mistakes but simply chalk it up to learning how “not” to cook or prepare something for consumption. Such was the case this past weekend.
My son invited his good friend to stay overnight on Saturday. It was great to see them having fun, jamming on their guitars, and playing video games because in less than two months, their friendship will be tested to a new level one will be leaving for college miles away.
Sunday morning was very quiet as I quietly walked past these snoring giants and went downstairs to the kitchen to prepare some breakfast for the household. Since we have fresh strawberries, a new carton of heavy whipped cream, and pancake mix, I decided to make waffles with strawberry toppings layered upon the white fluffy whipped cream topping. Ah, the visionary chef has arrived!
After washing and slicing the strawberries, I prepared the pancake mix. The waffle maker was warming up and so I decided to proceed with the whipped cream creation. I have made it before but never knew the right proportions of heavy whipped cream to sugar so I began to combine the blend into the room temperature steel mixing bowl (my KitchenAid). Everything was working as planned… or so I thought.
While the whirring continued, I began making the waffles. Proudly, I walked to the mixing bowl only to see that the whisk was not quite doing the job. Was there not enough heavy whipped cream or perhaps, not enough sugar? Well, as the experimental chef would have it, I poured more of each ingredient into the bowl and started my electronic assistant. Soon I heard clumping sounds and as I peered inside the bowl, I realized that the mixture was turning into….
Mixed emotions welled inside of me. On the one hand, I thought it was rather cool that I invented butter!! OK, maybe that was a stretch but now I know how to make butter should I ever run out of it.
On the other hand, WHY did it turn into butter??? Not wanting to be defeated, I decided to read how to properly make whipped cream topping. I washed out the bowl and whisk, put them in the refrigerator, and cleaned up the first mess.
Fifteen minutes later, I poured the remaining heavy whipped cream into the now-cold steel bowl and added some sugar again (still do not know “how much sugar” to add). I placed it all onto the KitchenAid stand and turned it on. I focused my attention back to the waffle maker to finish that job as the boys would be coming downstairs soon. No worries though – I got this!
Suddenly, the whirring of the mixer caught my attention once again. I turned off the mixer and tasted the somewhat white fluffy mixture. It was not quite ready so I turned the mixer on and retrieved the plates from the cabinet. In a minute, all would be ready!!!
A minute later, I stopped the mixer and excitedly looked inside the bowl to behold my new creation…
Ugh! Frustrated by my efforts (and the fact that I ran out of heavy whipped cream by now), I resolved to serving the waffles with strawberry toppings only. The boys came downstairs and did not mind the missing component. They enjoyed their breakfast as teenagers normally would – devouring the food as if they have not eaten in days!
Later, I researched my problem and learned about the air pockets created by the whisking of the mixer. Needless to say, I whisked it too long but had to laugh at myself for creating such a blunder.
When I reflected upon that experience a few hours later, it reminded me of how life is like that bowl of attempted whipped cream topping creation. The ingredients have to be in the right proportions while the preparation (of the bowl and whisk) must be chilled before use. When the entire combination of equipment and ingredients come together, time is the partner which helps to create the masterpiece for eventual satisfaction.
We all need the right preparations and though we have different walks of life, each story is the “right” component for some future outcome. The ingredients are the learned experiences that have shaped our character. These can come in the form of joys and losses in life, people we have met and befriended, those we have loved and currently love, and the list goes on. When mixed together, time is the ultimate partner as our different paths have varying lengths which will ultimately reveal the masterpiece of our journey.
Life is a combination of ingredients and time which, when mixed together, will hopefully yield a pure satisfaction from others we will have impacted. So, what’s in your mixing bowl?