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|Scallions or scallops — or was it shallots?|
Most folks who have hobbies enjoy talking about those hobbies. For many of us it is a sport or a craft. For others it is gardening. Some enjoy reading, while others enthusiastically mention hunting or fishing. Personally, I enjoy cooking. Most evening meals include a package of this and a can of that. But when time permits, I enjoy cooking meals that require detail and creativity. Since my mom also enjoys cooking, we often share recipes. Rarely do these recipes include a can opener or a microwave, but I consider it to be worth the time and effort.
My first attempt was an entire meal that the cookbook recommended; Oyster Stew, Standing Rib Roast with Madeira Jus, Yorkshire Puddings, Herbed Horseradish Sauce, Potato and Celery Root Puree, Creamed Spinach and Bread Pudding with Dried Fruit and Crème Anglaise. Since it turned out nicely, I was hooked on "gourmet" cooking.
As I began preparing the aforementioned meal, I quietly wondered why such an extravagant menu would not include some type of bread. I did not learn that Yorkshire pudding is actually a cross between a popover and a soufflé (and nothing like pudding) until I took it out of the oven. One would assume that once I mixed the flour and cream and then placed the seasoned batter into muffin tins I might have had a hint. Obviously, I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer. …
In my defense, one must take into consideration that I grew up eating cathead biscuits and red-eye gravy. Even thought it's hard to beat cathead biscuits and red-eye gravy, I do enjoy learning about different foods and ingredients. However, as in the case of the Yorkshire pudding, I am forced to admit that I only know what I know and other than that I really don't know.
A few weeks ago I found myself quite perplexed as I examined the seafood counter at a local grocery. The person behind the counter asked if I needed help. For the life of me I couldn't remember if I needed scallions or scallops — or was it shallots? Since I wasn't sure which was the shellfish and which was the onion, I politely said no. Instead of leaving the store in total defeat (which was my first thought) I chose to ask a random shopper if she could help me determine which was which and what was what. She graciously explained that scallops are the shellfish. Another shopper added that scallions are onions. "But aren't shallots onions?" was my brilliant response. By this time another shopper had joined in; "Shallots are similar to green onions and scallions are onions that resemble garlic." Everyone was extremely patient and kind. As I headed for the produce isle I turned back to thank the group of friendly shoppers who gathered to help me. I guess it really does take a village.
The truth is that we are all students. We only know what we know, but what are we willing to do to learn more? Whether it is a hobby or matters of the heart, everyone has to start somewhere. It may mean learning to thread a needle or paddle a boat. It may mean learning the difference between a running back and a defensive back. It may mean learning what faith is truly about and that God's love knows no boundaries. Sometimes we may even have to learn to say, "This is important to me, can you help me understand?"
"… And if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and will find the knowledge of God… Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul." Proverbs 2:3-5,9-10 (NIV)
Jo Ann Cooper is a United Methodist pastor of the LA Conference.