Last week, I pulled out an old recipe. It my great-grandmother Muddy’s recipe – her corn fritters. I don’t know why I hadn’t made them in such a long time. For a season, Muddy’s Corn Fritters were a dinner-time staple. . . until they weren’t.
The old recipes, like Muddy’s corn fritters, handed down for generations mother to daughter, from Mary Francis to Sue Eva to Mary Eva to Mary Edna to Linda to me – Maryleigh – always reminds me of this scripture: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6: 16).
There is comfort in the old ways – in handmade quilts that Nanny made, canning tomatoes and pickles like my husband’s grandmother taught me, in walking the same paths to church on Sunday morning, and meal-time prayers . . . and recipes handed down. The old ways aren’t adventuresome. They comfort and are comfortable.
My youngest son walked in – the one who last Spring had stood in the kitchen telling me, “Mom! You’re slipping. You used to make the BEST breakfasts. What happened? You have only two more years before I’m gone, ” he said, waving two fingers at me, moving into his oration zone. The zone where it’s time to just take a stool and listen because there’s no entertainment better in town. “Mom! Mom! You need to push through. You need to start making all those awesome breakfasts you used to make: the eggs and bacon with ketchup on toast, the chocolate chip pancakes – and those things with the chocolate chips and the stuff that’s in the box with the man in the white wig!”
That gave me pause – who was this man in with a white wig in my kitchen! Then I remembered.
The man in the white beard is the Quaker Oats man – and, he was talking about my granola bars.
I’d felt hugged and loved in the kitchen that night. I pushed through the rest of the year to cook up some good breakfasts – with the old and true recipes.
Last week, he walked into the kitchen, saw Muddy’s Corn Fritters and didn’t remember them. The older boys did, though. That inspired look came into his eyes. He drew himself up into his oration stance. It wasn’t those beautiful corn fritters that inspired him, though.
It was the deep-fryer.
I tried to steel myself against the effectiveness of this son in his oration zone. Really! I did!
“Mom! Mom! You need to make some deep-fried Oreos,” he said, waxing eloquent about the country fair’s deep fried oreos. He felt sure I could make them.
Dazed, I almost regretted enrolling him in a school a few years ago where he learned about logic and its fallacies, Socratic circles and argument development training, and oration.
There I stood with Muddy’s Corn Fritters stacked high on a plate. It was such a good thing – those corn fritters. An old way of doing things – and he was asking me to do something different. Something I’d never done before. Something radical.
Not just radical – I wasn’t sure Deep Fried Oreos was something a mama should do: Unnutritional Decadence beyond anything I’d ever done.
“I don’t have a recipe,” was one excuse I used.
He found one on the internet similar to the corn fritters I’d just deep fried. I had the eggs. I had the pancake mix. Too late to hide them! Drats!
Really – wasn’t one deep fried dish enough for one day?
“I don’t have Oreos,” was another excuse I pulled out.
“I’ll go get them,” he said. Double Drats. (The silver lining of my son being able to drive himself to soccer practice betrayed me at that moment).
I tried negotiating: “How about I do them tomorrow?”
“You already have the deep fryer out,” he said. “Besides, aren’t you the one always telling me, ‘Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today.’”
I cannot explain the combination of annoyance and pride I feel when these boys to men of mine throw my words back at me.
Exasperated and wise enough to recognize I’d been out-maneuvered, I threw out: “I don’t have any cash.”
“I have $5,” he said. “Mom. Mom! This is the best time to make them. You can do this,” he said – and he was out the door, triumph oozing.
Drat! Drat! Drat!
I’d made a stew with chuck roast, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and and turnip greens, which they thought were carrots, potatoes and spinach (laughing emojis here if I knew how to put them), and Muddy’s Corn Fritters. Wasn’t that enough?
Did good moms even make Deep Fried Oreos? Words like nutritional negligence, deep fried imprudence, fatuous fatty-liver enabling came to mind.
About 40 minutes later, those Deep Fried Oreos fried and bubbled happily in my kitchen. I wasn’t going to eat one – really I wasn’t. Who wants to fully participate in something they’ve been run rough-shod into, cornered and corralled?
But I wanted to take a photo of what the inside looked like. Just one bite – for the photo.
It was delicious. I ate more than one. It was a beautiful thing.
Someone I loved had walked into my kitchen on an ordinary everyday with a radical recipe. Maybe not radical to you, but it was decadently radical to me. Radical is not something I easily step in to. As a matter of fact, it makes me want to settle back more deeply into the comfort of what has become everyday ordinary – even if right now my everyday ordinary was once a radical idea (Let me just insert here, 5 sons was a radical way of living at one time. Now it is my everyday ordinary. That would be fun to do – to list what we do today that is everyday ordinary but was once something radical to our experiences).
Those Deep Fried Oreos aren’t a God-radical thing, but God calls us to radical living. Radical living is where we let God take our ordinary and turn that everyday ordinary into something extra-ordinary. As we draw closer to God, God draws us away from comfortable into a different way of living – a new way of living. New things are always uncomfortable. God-new things are worth being uncomfortable for.
Feeding my family is something everyday ordinary. Yet, God wants to turn the dinner table or kitchen counter living into something radical, something extraordinary.
He wants us to feed his sheep.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” ~ John 21: 15-17
Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to talk about living a lifestyle to Feed God’s Sheep by making room for one more at the table. We’ll discuss who our sheep our, our responsibilities to those sheep, and how to feed them.
Let’s turn the dinner table or kitchen counter living into something radical, something God-extraordinary.
I hope you’ll join me.
Deep Fried Oreo Recipe
(Modified from Lil’ Luna’s recipe my son found)
1 home-friendly deep fryer (size determines how many you can fry at one time)
1 large egg
1 cup Milk
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup pancake mix
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar
One package double-stuffed Oreos or any other cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies. This recipe does not use up all the cookies.
- Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Whisk together the egg, milk, vanilla, and 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a bowl until smooth. Stir in the pancake mix until smooth.
- Dip the cookies into the batter one at a time, turning them 2 or 3 times until the tops and sides are fully coated.
- Carefully place into the hot frying oil. Avoid over-crowding. How many depends at a time depends on how the size of your deep-fryer.
- Cook until the cookies are golden-brown, about 2 minutes.
- Drain on a paper towel-lined plate before serving.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Feed My Sheep Part I: When Kitchen Living Becomes God-Radical
Feed My Sheep Part II: Living a Lifestyle of Making Room at the Table for One More
Feed My Sheep Part III: Which Sheep are Mine to Feed
Feed My Sheep Part IV: How do I Feed All these Sheep? (When there’s Nothing in the Fridge)
Feed My Sheep Part V: A Heart Looking with Joyful Anticipation