Pepper Jack, Food Network & Being Two

I’ll never forget the day I discovered pepper jack cheese.

An extended relation on my dad’s side was getting married. With the pronouncement of Mr. and Mrs., the guests rushed from the outdoor garden to the reception area; escaping the heat and the bees. Weaving my way through dancing couples, I approached the buffet table and found an assortment of square cheeses on tiny toothpicks.

Not a fan of cheese, I picked the non-cheddar one to sample. Instead of the dry, crumbly texture I was used to, this cheese felt smooth on my tongue. My curiosity about the red and green flecks was satisfied when the cheese bit me! This cheese fought back! The spice took me by surprise, but I liked it. Loading up my plate with six or seven more cubes, and the obligatory carrots and ranch, I headed back to our table.

My dad seemed familiar with this species of cheese when I showed it to him, which bugged me because I wondered why we’d never had it at home.

Pepper jack.

I’ll never forget that moment.

::

As a new mom, I discovered that my life consisted of  a lot of sitting: to nurse, to rock, and to hold while he slept, because he’d wake up if I moved him. This was with my first child, I have since learned how to put them to bed without waking them up. All of that sitting meant I watched a lot of TV. Food Network became my new best friend.

During our first few years of marriage cooking proved to be something I had a talent for. Not having much need for it before my marriage, I was as surprised as anyone at my ability to turn out food that was not only edible, but delicious. Wanting to increase my knowledge and abilities, I watched everything; 30 Minute Meals, Everyday Italian, Barefoot Contessa, Iron Chef America, and Good Eats were my favorites.

Slowly the culinary world opened its doors to me, and I began to discover new foods.

Pancetta, béchamel, extra-virgin olive oil and pesto.

With each new discovery, I wanted to learn more. Cooking was exciting. I felt like an explorer in some uncharted territory.

I’m still discovering new foods, new techniques and new recipes, but it’s not as easy for me to get excited. No wonder professional chefs and food critics are so snotty; there’s not much they haven’t experienced. Losing that joy in discovery changes it somehow.

::

Ezra’s in one of my favorite stages right now.


He’s two.

Two is inquisitive and excited about life. Questions are two’s main form of communication, and there’s always more to figure out.

See y’at, Mommy?

Guess what, Mommy?

How spell? {this one is because an older six-year-old brother is learning to read and write, so “How do you spell…?” is a common question}

And if something isn’t a direct question, it becomes a question in the mouth of a two-year-old:

Ezra, do you want a sandwich?

Sandwich?

Yes, do you want a peanut butter sandwich for lunch?

Butter?

Two has me cracking up, and wrapped around his pudgy, sticky finger. His eyes light up with joy at things familiarity has made mundane: a motorcycle, two birds flying in a dance together, bubbles popping and leaving a wet circle on the ground. Every day his vocabulary increases, and a new word or phrase has to be tried out at least a hundred times before it feels comfortable in his mouth.

::

New Christians are like two-year-olds, or budding foodies. They are eager about everything. All things have become new.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. {2 Corinthians 5:17}

Over time, the shine tarnishes and the colors fade on what we once saw as new and exciting. It’s easy to look at ourselves, beings that have been declared “new creatures” and see old. We lose our hunger for God’s word; our search to discover who He is, who we are and what He has to say becomes stale.

We think we’ve seen it all. We become stodgy and dull in our walk, with rare moments of that first excitement. Believing that there’s nothing new under the sun, we give ourselves up to a life of same-same and hope we can make it through to the end. Our hearts aren’t in it and our minds aren’t stimulated by it.

Today let’s look at the world around us through the eyes of a two-year-old.

See the new things God is doing around you. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Reach for the pepper jack instead of the cheddar.

 

For those of you fasting with me, today begins our second week! The newness of the idea may be wearing off, and the day-to-dayness of it setting in. How can I encourage you today? How can I pray for you? What has God shown you? I would love to hear it through a comment below or in an email.

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19 thoughts on “Pepper Jack, Food Network & Being Two

  1. Ironically, I’m reading this as I’m sitting here during my second day in Dubai. I’m really looking at things like a two year old! It’s so much fun to discover this part of the world. The trick will be to keep that awe when I get back to the USA.

    • You’re my first official international reader/commenter! {smirk} I can’t believe you’re in Dubai! I am so excited to read what you experienced while you were there. Talk about blog fodder. Haha! Praying for you, Jason.

  2. There is something so special when you become a new Christian. You are in such awe of the beauty of God in all things. It’s amazing!

    I remember when my wife was pregnant with our first child and someone once told me, “You are going to learn a lot about God through your child”. At first I was all like, “hmm, OK buddy”. But how true this has been. I have learned what is like to be curious, forgiving, dependent, loving and many, many more.

    • I feel like I was cheated out of that New Christian period. No, wait, that sounds ungrateful. I was lucky to be raised by Christian parents in a Christian home and attend Christian school. I never had that transitional period that had me thirsting for more of God. Rather, I have always had that presence in my life and have had times where I’ve taken it for granted. That person was right! I think having children has helped me to realize how patient, understanding, loving and gracious God is with me. It has also revealed my own selfishness and inability. The only other thing that has pointed it out as much is being in ministry. Haha!

  3. 2 year olds can have such profound insights at times! I absolutely love seeing how God teaches us new and fresh things though our little ones. It is almost like Him saying to me, “Hey there… slow down, be simple, rest a little, and look at things a little differently.” It’s pretty cool!

    • Be still and know…four words God is saying over and over to me. It’s like that “sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-sh” noise you make when you rock a fussy child. It’s the repetition that brings the peace. He’s just patting my back and holding me tight and repeating, “Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am God…” Totally cool. :)

  4. Wow I remember when you just learning/practicing cooking; very glad to have been around for it (boxed brownies? Really?) You introduced us to pepperjack cheese at a Thanksgiving event years ago and have loved it ever since.
    Love you all!

    • I have to say, I still love boxed brownies!! Maybe it’s because I’ve had some really awful from scratch brownies. The one’s I’m making for you tonight are not from a box though…and they’re magical! :)

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  6. I laughed when I read this because it made me think of my sister. *Sad story alert: She got cancer when she turned 21. As she would lay at home sick she would watch The Food Network for hours on end. When I got home she would tell me about all the shows and all the cool recipes. *Happy Ending alert: My sister got a bone marrow transplant and has been in remission for 13 years. Now she is the absolute best cook I know. She credits it to all that time she spent watching the shows.

  7. My husband is our in-house foodie. I have discovered many new foods because of his adventurous spirit. He’s made everything from homemade yogurt to pickled beets to sourdough starter to bbq ribs rolled up in corn pancakes.

    Great, thoughtful post. I have a 2-year-old and know exactly what you are talking about. Everything is fascinating and needs to be explored. He’s hungry to see what’s around the corner, in the box, up on the shelf. I wish I had that same hunger to dig deeper into all the good things God has. I’ve Archie-proofed our house as much as possible. Thankfully, God hasn’t Gretchen-proofed the Truth. I act as if he has, though.

    • Oh my goodness! I want to come eat at your house! :)

      “God hasn’t Gretchen-proofed the Truth.” I love that! I think there is a sense that He keeps some things hidden though, because don’t we always look harder for something when it’s not right in front of us? When we have to work for it?

  8. Oh how I want to seek His goodness out and be stirred to more devotion. Such fabulous, truth-filled insight here. So, so good!

    okay…that scripture. we have a rap song for it. i know the all the words, but um, yeah, er…bella and maddie will perform it for you! ;)

  9. Looooooove me some pepper jack cheese! It is so much better than cheddar on a big, fat juicy burger. Recently at Costco, they started selling a package of string cheese that includes pepper jack! It was an exciting discovery for me since I always buy the cheese for the kids. Now, it’s like there’s a little mommy surprise in there. he he he

    It’s very easy for me to get jaded about my faith. Growing up in a Christian home, I never had an amazing conversion experience so it’s hard for me to think about what the “old” was like, since I became a believer around the age of 4. But, there is still an “old” nature in me-the fleshly desires. And, I’m so grateful that He is willing and able to make me new every single day. The hard part is me realizing I have to surrender to His will every single day.

    • Keri, I hear so many with a similar story regarding their growing up in the church. It is my story. I find that frequently I’m ungrateful to have grown up in the church, I want to be able to look at a specific point in time and say, “From then on I was different.” Then God reminds me that although I may have been saved since age 4, I still have a long way to go. :)

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