I’m writing this on the day before payday, eating a grilled cheese sandwich and celery with peanut butter. It’s important you know that it’s the day before payday because usually the day before payday is bleak and dreary and void of good food.
That has been the case all week.
Or so I thought at the beginning of the week.
Last Thursday or so, Guitardude and I decided to “gamble” with the last bit of grocery money for the month. We decided to NOT go get a week’s worth of groceries, but just buy what we needed to get us through and try to save that money. (As it turns out, we needed it for gas money but that’s not important here.)
So this week has been all about cleaning out the cabinet, fridge, and freezer. Anything and everything was fair game. Initially, I was grumpy because there wasn’t anything organized, but as the week went on, I began to enjoy the creativity that was forced upon us to make a meal of whatever we had. It got me thinking about a book I read recently.
The book was called “The Storyteller,” by Jodi Picoult. It was a story about a Jewish girl and her journey from freedom to Auschwitz – and beyond. She survived horrible, terrible, unspeakable tragedies. One of the scenes sticks in my mind vividly. She described the march from one concentration camp to another – I forget the names – but on the march, in the cold, snowy winters of Germany, clothed in nothing more than a flour sack, and with nothing more to eat than a bowl of soup made from water and buttons, the soldiers would throw remnants of their own hearty meals into the campfires at night to watch the girls reach into the flames to try to get whatever they threw in there. This was their entertainment! She describes how desperate they were to find food, and some girls would get blisters and burns on their hands from the flames for one morsel of a potato…only to get an infection and die from lack of treatment.
As the “campers” were breaking down camp and putting out the fires, this Jewish girl would collect the ashes from the burned food that the soldiers had thrown into the fire. She figured there was still some nourishment in the ashes, and stuck handfuls in her apron pocket to eat as they marched to their death.
What a terrible story! As I read that book, I began to see food in a different way. On a typical week, I “clean out the fridge” of any leftovers or half-used blocks of cream cheese or vegetables that have started to wilt or rot. I usually do this the day before payday, when I go grocery shopping. This week, however, I decided there would be no unnecessary waste. No food would be thrown out simply because we didn’t like it or it went bad while we ate something else.
The result? God provides exceedingly abundantly for his children. We still have celery and peanut butter, a chunk of cheddar cheese, a whole head of red cabbage (I don’t know what to do with it, honestly!), and some leftover gumbo. Oh, and some chicken in the freezer and a package of Ramen noodles. And somehow, we have a can of sweet peas and a bag of frozen peas…and we both hate peas! To that poor Jewish girl, this would be a feast!
Do I want to live like this all the time? No, certainly not. I need better nutrients than what I get from eating PB&J every day. But am I hungry? Not today, not tomorrow, and probably not ever, thanks be to God. How blessed we are! What a blessed country we live in, not to have to worry about where our next meal will come from. How convenient it is to drive to the store – your CHOICE of grocery stores – to buy good looking fruits and vegetables, and meat that you know is safe to eat, and milk that you know is good to drink.
So the lesson I’ve learned from this week’s edition of “Get Creative In The Kitchen!” is to be thankful for WHATEVER God gives you, even if it is just a loaf of bread and a jar of jelly, and to remember those who are truly hungry. I’ll leave you with this verse: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” – Matthew 6:25-26 NIV
Ephesians 3:20-21 KJV:
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.