Step up to the gravy!

Cooking is part of my soul. Kitchens are where connections happened in my family and I wanted to be in the middle of the connection so I would spend time in the kitchen. I have many memories in my grandmother’s kitchens on both sides of my family and memories cooking with my mom and my dad. We created breads, cookies, muffins, spaghetti sauce, coffee cakes and countless birthday cakes where I happily licked beaters and bowls waiting for the finished products to emerge from the oven.

Holidays were especially fun as we visited family and enjoyed the loud laughter throughout the house, spending time with cousins, playing games and watching each other grow up. Eventually it was my turn to be the hostess. My first Thanksgiving was in 1992, I was 8 months pregnant with our second son and so excited to host Thanksgiving for the family. Being an early riser, I made the stuffing in the morning, got it into the bird (this was before stuffing a bird was ever controversial) and moved onto the table settings. At 5pm the rest of the family would descend on our home, close to 40 people in all. They would provide the mashed potatoes, the pies, and the variety of vegetables…but there was always one component of the Thanksgiving meal that eluded me…Gravy. On this particular Thanksgiving Day one of my aunts entered the house with great confidence and authority taking over the stove top mixing and pouring, whisking spices and flour into Gravy. I was struck by her confidence, the assertive way she moved around the kitchen without fear. Mixing and whisking making the perfect gravy.

There is something kind of magical about gravy, it has to be done patiently, never rushed and intentionally. Gravy doesn’t just “happen”. It is a balance between stock, butter, flour or cornstarch, the proper whisk, sometimes ice cubes, spices and time. It is intimidating. One wrong move and it can be lumpy, too thick or too thin, too greasy, too starchy tasting or the perfect combination of silky and smooth. At my house you would often here someone remark, “the gravy saved the meal” which was to mean that even if the meat is tough or dry a good gravy can cover a multitude of sins.

It has been a life lesson for me. How to approach the pot, how to handle the gravy? It is as if the gravy knows if I am confident, as if it knows who has the authority. No matter the situation in life, my dad has often said to me, “Jane, step up to the gravy.” Don’t be intimated by the task at hand, stand in your authority, in your ability, in God’s ability. It is our saying. I know what he means when he says it to me and it makes me pause, adjust myself and approach the task from a place of assurance.

This is how we are to be in Christ. We have the power of the living God on the inside of us. Step up; stand in this place and approach your circumstances from victory, your gravy will turn out every time and so will your trials!