By Sharon Stevens

My husband was preparing supper on the stove. He does it all the time and I, for one, am so very proud that he does. But this is not what my blog is about this week.

I decided that I wanted to have a little sweetness after the meal and found packages of JELLO pudding up in the cabinet. After choosing “cheesecake”, my favorite, and reading the directions I gathered everything together and began to mix. One problem became apparent though. The instructions said to mix for two minutes. Well my husband was at the stove and the timer was on the microwave aboveYou may think this was no big deal. “Tell him to punch in the time” you say. “Yea right”, I say. By the time he turned from the stove to ask how many minutes, and then by the time he turned back around to set the timer, and then by the time he asked me again, “how many minutes?” the whole shebang would be over. I know this from past experience. Of course there is no way you can ever ruin JELLO pudding. They give so much leeway when you purchase the product. The directions are just guidelines not set in stone. The company just wants you to mix until everything is mixed together and a little more.

You see I can’t even bake bread, or a decent cake, or brownies. Just because the recipe says to cook in a 350-degree oven for thirty minutes this doesn’t mean MY oven or MY temperature or even MY minutes. And when they say cook until the surface springs back, or that a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, well then Heaven help us! This just doesn’t apply to me.

So many times we have the same problem in our writing. How can we ever know it is done? We keep mixing and adding until the most basic recipe is lost in translation. Sometimes we step back to let it preheat or to stew just a little bit thinking this will fix it. Oftentimes the results are far worse. If I stirred the pudding mix for 1.35 minutes or 3.24 minutes I really don’t think it will ruin the final dish. What destroys the original is the distress we insert as we go. We may be mad or angry and our spoons become our weapon. We may be happy or sad and the same utensils we laid out in the very beginning become a symbol for our tears of joy or pain. Under mix or over mix, you just never know.

After we ate the “sloppy Joe’s” my husband made for supper, he dished himself up a bowl of desert. I didn’t tell him he was in the way so I couldn’t set the timer. I NEVER want to discourage his time at the stove. I hope when he tasted my contribution that he couldn’t tell that I didn’t mix it for the exact amount of time the instructions on the box called for.

My sweet husband told me he liked it and that’s all that matters.

Must be that the proof was in the pudding.

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