A Not So Swell Christmas
I did not have a very good Christmas. Let it be known that the month of December 2018 shall go down in RoChriMel-II history as the worst Christmas season since December 2016.1 Glossing over the reason as to why, as the purpose of my anger, frustration and impatience with a particular Deity I shall remain my own, I shall move on to the day immediately following December 25th. On December 26th, 2018, I received a gift from my father that was very different but probably one of the best gifts I’d ever gotten.
Rewind the clock, about six months, back to when I first moved in with my two Christian roommates. When everything changed in the Summer of 2018 including both my job and my place of residence, I was very thankful to God and that has not changed. I have not forgotten what the Lord has done in my life and I am very thankful for the social, financial and even Spiritual position He’s delivered me to. I could not have gotten here without my trust in Him and that is the only truth I will admit to on the subject. […] Onward, when I first moved I was very fascinated with making my own room mine.
However, eventually my interest in transforming abedroom into my bedroom was moved to the kitchen. In my prior living environment, a fear of the kitchen I had access to played a large part in my decision to eat out for most of my daily meals. When I moved, I gained access to a kitchen that was fit to accommodate three roommates, complete with organized dish cabinets and separate pantry cupboards. I told my dad, “Now that I have an actual kitchen, I’d kinda like to learn how to use it.”
To change the subject just for a moment, back when I was young, my sister, grandparents and I did many things together. There were times we would go to the bowling alley to have lunch, I remember when we took a vacation down to Monterey to visit the aquarium, sometimes we would even bake things in the kitchen together, like fudge or bread. As I understand it, my grandmother actually went out and bought a bread maker specifically so that we could bake bread as a family. She never made bread otherwise.2 Though, when we made bread, it tasted especially delicious. It was not a terrific time when she finally moved from this world to the next. After the sadness had left, being the child that I was, I asked my father what would happen to the breadmaker.
Back to Christmas 2018, as per my request, my dad wanted to get me something that I could use in the kitchen to contribute toward my interest in cooking. My dad has always liked cooking. He also has asked for cookware as gifts for Christmas or birthdays. He’s gotten things like popcorn makers, griddles, deep fryers so when I took an interest in cooking, he was especially keen. I thought, maybe he’ll order my a set of pots and pans, or maybe a silverware set or a Keurig. Yeah, everyone in my family has one! why not me? Christmas came and passed but due to some plans I had on Christmas, I opened the present from my father on December 26th.
Yes, when I told my dad I was interested in learning how to make my own food, he remembered back to when I asked about my grandmother’s bread maker. I didn’t even remember asking about the breadmaker. In fact, it was probably the last thing I’d expect my dad to get me. When I first unwrapped it, I was actually a little surprised. Honestly, the question that popped in my head was, “what am I gonna do with this?” Let me explain why that question ran through my mind.
As I mentioned at the start, for the entirety of December, I had been in active conflict with my Heavenly Father3. At every “opportunity”, I’d try and pull myself further from the Lord’s plan for my life. When I told my dad I wanted to start making my own food, I had this idea that the Lord may have created me to be a very social person.
…And what attracts people to a social event more than food?
About the second week of December, I learned to focus on me: on what I want to do with the life that the Lord gave to me. I set my focus on what I want to do with my life and even more so on what I presume the Lord would have restricted me from. Simply stated, I wanted to do exactly what I knew the Lord didn’t want me to do and I restricted myself from doing things the Lord might want me to do.4 I’ll not go in to more detail than that but baking my own bread or making food at all just seemed like something the Lord wanted me to do.
At first sight, I didn’t want to make bread. Maybe it was the idea that it was something the Lord might want me to do, maybe it was just the Spiritual symbolism of “breaking bread” with others, maybe it was just the idea of making something myself. When I was eating Jack in the Box or Jalisco’s as my mainstream diet, I thought that it was something the Lord wouldn’t want because it could endanger my health. Making something of my own, even something as simple as bread, would signify (in my mind) that I care about the things I eat. More directly, it would admit that I care so much about what goes in to my body that I take the extra step so as to use and measure out the correct portions to make meals or food of my own, particularly bread. With this in mind, I had a choice: would I abandon my father’s gift in favor of a life I imagine God would find unfavorable or accept my father’s gift and admit to my Heavenly Father that I care enough to make my own food?
Although, I started to consider it: Making my own bread might not be such a bad idea. Whenever I buy a loaf of bread from the store, it always goes bad before I can use all of it. Making myself a smaller loaf could prove financially beneficial considering this much. What’s more, my dad was simply following through with my request and when I told him I wanted to make my own food, measuring out the ingredients for bread was exactly the kind of thing I was talking about. So what if it might be something that the Lord wants me to do? My “disagreement” with the Lord is not about what He does or doesn’t want me to do, it’s about me and what I want to do. For the first time in a month, I asked myself if I wanted to make bread, rather than consider whether or not Someone Else did. …and making bread was in fact something I wanted to do, both to put the gift my human father gave me to good use and to learn a new culinary skill that, in the end, would save me money.
“What’s for Dinner, Dad?”5
Following the removal of the defensive barrier that restricted access to activities the Lord may want me to do, I decided to make bread. The loaf you see to the right was my first bread loaf. It was a bit thick because I equated a “2lb loaf” with a “bigger” loaf. Life is all about trial and error and I learned there that a 2lb loaf really means a thicker loaf. I’ll make 1.5lb loaves from now on. As of yet, I haven’t been incredibly spontaneous with the bread I’ve made; I’ve just made three or four loaves of white wheat, one loaf of Italian Parmesan Bread and two loaves of Apple Cider Cinnamon Bread.6 Still, making bread wasn’t the only change I wanted to apply to my diet.
After I made bread, I started to consider the rest of what I eat but before explaining my change in diet, I want to explain how often I eat. Now, I know it’s not supreme but the truth is my body has learned to depend and work off of one meal per day. I’m not sure where I adapted to that kind of diet or maybe it’s just something everyone can do but they acknowledge the potential health consequences. I’ve had a lot of people tell me how “unhealthy” that is but I assure you, I’ve been eating like that since high school: I’m fine. So, since my job literally serves a full meal for every lunch period, usually I’ll just skip out the rest of the day. Be that as it may, I still wanted to make my own food even if just for the hobby in it, ‘know what I mean?
Did you know that Amazon sells food as part of their Prime Pantry? Obviously, you can’t buy perishables like chicken or beef but you can buy things like stuffing or pasta and other essentials like spices or lemon juice. Before Christmas, a co-worker in security gave me a few cookbooks so I flipped through those to see what I could get on Amazon to make a meal. I like “meals” that can mix well together, so my favorite of the recipe books is the casserole-themed collection. I pulled some money from savings and ordered some food from Amazon in preparation but I waited until payday to go shopping.7 After I got paid, I went to the closest Walmart with my dad to buy the remaining ingredients and soon got to cooking.
To begin my food-making hobby, I started out by using the bread maker to make pizza crust. When I got the bread maker, the user’s guide came with a few recipes for each kind of bread, one of them: pizza dough. That’s right, my first home-made “meal” was a home-made pizza with home-made crust. I really wish I took a picture of it. The crust was extra thick, either too much dough or too much yeast. Something the recipe didn’t call for was the extra garlic I threw in. It didn’t have the effect I thought it would. I shared the pizza with my roommates. One of them suggested that next time, we should try and make two because the crust was so thick. I think I’ll buy a rolling pin next time just to see how far it can stretch and I’ll throw in a little more garlic, maybe even a few other spices.
End of Line
I enjoy my new hobby and I am thankful that my dad got me the bread maker as a starting point. Obviously, making bread calls for the use of bread flour and wheat flour and that doesn’t look good with any of my clothes so I bought myself an apron. I also remember a bad exerience while I was making myself pancakes one morning involving the pancake mix and my pajamas which also encouraged the purchase. Later on, my roommate saw that I was using the apron to make bread and bought me a toque. I wore it one day while making bread. It fits.
There aren’t a lot of things I know how to make yet. I don’t even have a lot of ideas of what to make as meals but I know I don’t want to be eating the way I was for the rest of my life. If Taco Bell or Domino’s sounds good one night, I won’t restrict myself from ordering out but I don’t want to live on that kind of diet but as a daily thing? No more. So what if my Heavenly Father wants me to make my own food? I suppose that’ll just have to be one of the few ambitions for my life that the two of us have in common.
1 It was a bad time, trust me. I’ll write about it later.
2 I might be wrong about that.
3 …and still am. (Any questions, comments, concerns or messages about this will be ignored and/or deleted)
4 …and yes, even if that meant doing things I previously had no interest in doing! (Any questions, comments, concerns or messages about this will be ignored and/or deleted)
5 When I was a child, my dad got so mad at me asking this every night.
6 Delicious, by the way! Really fun to bake and have everyone tear off bites and pieces.
7 It’s not like I have my own car or can drive myself to the store so if I can get anything delivered to me, it makes my shopping list when I have to go shopping at the store a little easier to remember.