Thursday, May 2, 2013
Love Reduction Sauce (Love - Part 1)
My brother-in-law is a French chef. Yeah, my life is rough. His first Christmas with the family he feverishly worked the whole day before, roasting, baking, broiling, cutting, chopping, creating and I had the privilege of sitting and watching. At that point he didn't trust me enough to hand me a knife, although I did make the cheesecake dessert. But he and a friend were a delight to watch.
The highlight of the meal began in a large 11 quart pot like the one above. It was filled half way with water and put on the flame first thing in the morning on Christmas Eve. As it came to a boil various cuttings were thrown in throughout the day. At one point several vegetables were tossed in - carrots, including their long, green, leafy tops, mushrooms, and celery for starters. Onions were peeled, cut in half, broiled until burned and then tossed in the pot. Frederic was making a side dish with lobster tails and the parts of the lobster he wasn't using were thrown in the pot, as well as some beef ribs he had roasted for a few hours.
Periodically the pot was strained of it's larger bones and vegetables with a long-handled colander and more water was added. Then more scraps would be thrown in. Herbs, seasonings, more vegetables - what I would have normally ground in the disposal, he was throwing in this pot. By the end of the day, the pot was strained one final time and filled to the top with more liquid - wine, water, broth, whatever was lying around. A low flame was left under the pot for the night.
Christmas morning brought great joy, not only in the presence of family and a full Christmas tree, but with the incredible smells of a feast waiting to be consumed. To my surprise, when I lifted the lid on the 11 quart pot, it was nearly empty! I got up on my toes to peer into the bottom of the pan where there I found about one and a half inches of a thick, brown sauce.
Quick side note: Don't ever use the word "gravy" around a French chef. That's a highly offensive Americanism that never graces the lips of true culinary masterminds. The appropriate word is "sauce."
Now this "sauce" - a reduction sauce, I later learned - was so thick your spoon could stand upright in it. And it was rich, brown gold! Oh. My. Dear. I am not joking, this sauce was like getting a glimpse of the garden of Eden in a pot. A spoonful on top of your meat and all you wanted was silence and a fork. It was incredible.
And it should have been - it took 24 hours to make! When cleaning up, I personally scraped every last smudge of that sauce from the pot and saved it in a tupperware, hiding it in the back of my mother's freezer for the next time I came for a visit.
Yes, I really did that.
Okay, Kristen, get to the point.
Love is a reduction sauce of sorts, at least according to I Corinthians 13. It's like taking a big pot of water and adding the following ingredients: patience, kindness, trust, humility, attractiveness, selflessness, long suffering, forgetfulness, righteousness, big shoulders, belief, hopefulness and endurance.
But it's not until you put the flame under it that it starts to really get good. It simmers and then boils, and then everything softens and mushes together, and as the water boils off, what is left is a rich, thick love that most would die to have just one spoonful. But you don't get it without the heat and in practical terms, the heat is adversity. When things really get tough, when the heat is turned up, that's when love really starts to mean something - more of the essential ingredients are needed and when added, the end result is a love that never, ever fails.
But today, when the heat is turned up in life - marriage gets hard, temptation gets real, parenting gets difficult, submitting seems like torture, words become abusive, relationships are torn apart - when the heat is turned up, there is suddenly a shortage of ingredients and love comes up short. It's watery, flavorless and even a plastic spoon doesn't stand a chance.
I'm going to tackle true love here on my blog. I know I've been pretty unimpressive for the past few months at writing new posts but for those who know me, you know I haven't been sleeping in and eating bon bond...well, maybe a few, but it's time to return.
So buckle your seat belts because we're in for quite a ride.