“One whole stick of butter, because you deserve it.” –Ree Drummond
Mmmmm….. a whole stick of butter. Just one of the yummy ingredients you’ll find in a recipe for a sumptuous chocolate lava cake that Ree Drummond, AKA The Pioneer Woman, lovingly whips up for her family on her cooking show. And I agree with what she’s telling me and the rest of her TV audience: While I may not deserve a lot of things, I’ve earned my right to savor some tasty butter every once in a while, and this lava cake, too.
Risking kitchen damage to my iPad, I follow Ree’s steps to a “T” from her website. With every added ingredient, the mixture’s aroma becomes more intoxicating. I can hardly wait to hear the approving grunts and exclamations of “Yum!” from my family as they dig into this culinary expression of my love–and I’m looking forward to some grunting and exclaiming of my own.
How I first got turned on to episodes of The Pioneer Woman is quite ironic. I’m an exercise junkie, so much so that even after a long day of corralling a full classroom of frenetic first graders, I religiously head to the gym. The physical workout helps me slough off the stress of the day, but my mind craves something more soothing. Unfortunately, the ten TV screens hanging from the gym ceiling don’t offer much to induce a relaxed state of mind: the news, forensic murder mysteries, volatile athletes, and the icy glare of Nancy Grace just don’t do it for me. But among these ridiculous choices, Ree Drummond’s cheerful, dimpled face and rib-sticking cuisine literally sparkle. By default, her show quickly became a welcome source of comfort, even though most of her recipes would easily offset my hard work on the treadmill.
“…life is too short to always pass up bacon, butter, American cheese, and chocolate. “
I wasn’t instantly impressed with Ree and her cooking style. She’s not particularly glamorous, she uses way more canned ingredients than most TV cooks because she lives in the middle of nowhere, and she doesn’t apologize for serving food that no one will blog about for being low-carb, low-fat, or low-calorie. I resisted her at first, but after a few episodes, her friendly manner and comforting words broke me down. Her warmth makes me feel like I’m her dearest friend; she shares her personal stories with me as she explains how to create delicious meals that will make people adore me, and she assures me that just this once–and probably even a few more times–it doesn’t matter how many calories I consume, because life is too short to always pass up bacon, butter, American cheese, and chocolate.
This might surprise you, but I think this is not at all unlike how I would feel in Jesus’ kitchen.
I didn’t always think this way about Jesus, and I’m sure I’m not alone. In my experience, most mainstream Christian groups present Jesus as standoffish, unwelcoming, harsh, critical, and issuing many more don’ts than do’s. I bet most of us think His disapproving eyes would scrutinize our less-than-perfect appearance, then He’d list every reason in the book to pass up lava cake; and we certainly can’t picture Him actually preparing something delicious and indulgent for us. And if we actually could hang out with Jesus in His kitchen, we’d probably refuse anything He offered us to show Him how disciplined we can be, simply because most of us are conditioned to think all He wants from us are performance and sacrifice.
“I bet most of us think His disapproving eyes would look over our less-than-perfect appearance and list every reason in the book to pass up lava cake…”
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