Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Making Hash Browns and Learning About Process

It had been on my mind for weeks to make hash browns.  I kept seeing recipes calling them delicious and delectable, crunchy and satisfying.  Though I'd never been particularly fond of them in the past, I suddenly had an urge to try my hand at making this side dish that others found so tasty.  It helped that I had a few potatoes in the pantry that needed a recipe to call their own.  With an unexpected quiet time yesterday afternoon while three of my four children slept, I started grating potatoes.

I love to eat.  I also really enjoy making the food I eat.  Or at least, I used to find it enjoyable--before I had children.  Now I have less time and more interruptions and cooking is something I often loathe.  Really?  We have to eat dinner *every day*?  Who says?

Because I have learned that daily dinner means daily dirty dishes, I often make a point to double or triple a recipe.  Since my kind husband doesn't mind having leftovers (and my children simply don't know any different), I usually get away with only cooking half the week and having left overs the rest of the week.  It's wonderful.  Truly.

Sometimes, though, a recipe does not lend itself to doubling.  I want to believe that all I have to do is multiply the ingredients, but sometimes that's just not the case.  Yesterday, I got out the largest skillet I own (which is *huge*) and put in all the potatoes I had--four.  The recipe called for two.  And, truth be told, the recipe called for two normal sized potatoes, and mine were like twice the size of a regular potato since, well, that's just how they come in the 20lb. bag from Costco.  I suppose it's more efficient to pack fewer big potatoes into the bag than a whole bunch of small ones.  Way to keep things efficient, Costco.

But, I digress.  The point is, I was practically quadrupling the recipe.  The grated potato was supposed to be sprinkled at the bottom of a buttered skillet and left to cook until brown on one side, and then turned over to cook on the other side.  My grated potato did a wonderful job of cooking on the bottom, but the moment I tried "turning them over" I realized that my dream of deliciously crunchy hash browns was definitely not going to come true.  At least, not with those potatoes.

There were far too many pieces of potato to simply "turn" them over, and very quickly I was left with a mixture of about 1/4 cooked, brown, crunchy potato and 3/4 not-at-all cooked, soggy, non-edible potatoes.  What was supposed to take about 10 minutes of baking time took half an hour, and I was pretty much left with what could be considered extremely buttery mashed potatoes that, with some bites, had a slight crunch to them.

I decided I should be more particular about which recipes I try to double (or quadruple for that matter).  But I also decided this was a great metaphor for some parts of my life.

For how many years, and in how many situations, have I tried to get to my "end goal" through short cuts?  I have a beautiful picture of how I want life to be, but I often try to get to it haphazardly and with little care for the process.  It's not surprising that when I screw up the recipe, I don't get the same results I was looking for.  Know what I mean?

 I can't expect things to work out just like I hoped when I am sloppy and careless about how I get there.  I'm thankful that God has been gracious to bless me even in the times when I've been undeserving and "sloppy" in my process.  And I'm glad to know that even as I strive to be a better runner in this race set before me, He will always forgive me when I stumble.