It seems that the Creator has turned the heat up under me lately.
I feel like I’ve been joyfully bubbling away—sputtering, bloop-ing and blipp-ing here and there—with a mild, low flame flickering beneath me, rather contently simmering on the stove very slowly making my way toward what would some day be my completion. But now, it seems that the flame has been increased ever-so-slightly, turned up from a 3 to a 4, and I’m feeling the heat a little bit more.
I feel the contents within me beginning to increasingly come alive, as the various “ingredients” and “spices”—life experiences— begin to tumble and move around, and come to the surface and then fall back down again and find their place. In other words, things are coming up for me, and I’m noticing more clearly now than ever that there are various stages of understanding that we all go through—various stages of “cooking”—which mold us and season us into slowly becoming who we are meant to become, if we allow ourselves to be molded.
You see, in this scenario, I’m the soup, the item in process of being prepared to one day be full-flavored and hearty and to be of sustenance to others around me, and God is the cook. And the more I quest to find understanding and the genuine purpose to my existence, the more I come to see that this is the wonderful reality.
The thing is, I’ve always thought that I was the cook.
The Creator has a way of bringing things to light in my life that cannot be ignored, things that perhaps on the outside appear mostly to have to do with others, though upon closer examination, actually have everything to do with me; and I’m noticing that they’re contributing to my shaping, contributing ultimately to who I will become.
I see God as the cook who longs to prepare the most deliciously divine feast, complete with a myriad of various dishes, each with a specific purpose that aids in a healthy and balanced existence. And I’m beginning to think that we are each a part of that very feast, in a way—a dish that is in-process of being prepared so that one day we can be of use and nourishment to another “partaking” in us.
You see, in cooking, there is a whole process that goes into the preparation of a soup; in the early stages, the pot is placed onto the heat, some silky clarified butter is added to aid in things gliding together smoothly, and aromatic vegetables are added to help create some depth of flavor that will continue to come out even as the process continues.
Seasonings like salt, pepper and spices are then also added to create flavor and additional layering; and then more hearty ingredients, such as lentils, come in to round things out and to create the full-bodied soup. The heat under the pot is tinkered with during the process according to what is happening in that pot, until finally, after the perfect amount of cooking time, the finishing touches that mellow things out and tie everything together, like a splash of coconut cream and a vibrant flourish of chopped herbs, are stirred in just prior to the soup being ladled out into bowls.
Different ingredients at different stages, to create a complex, fully balanced and nourishing dish to be enjoyed by those that are hungry for it.
Though I know it’s one of the most (if not the most) difficult things to do, I desperately long to just step aside and let my Creator prepare the “soup”; to begin, season, simmer and finish me, and trust that He knows the perfect ingredients to add at the perfect time, and when to turn up the heat and when to lower it, so that this meal can be prepared according to what is needed in order to then be placed upon the table of life and be nourishing.
The process may be a bit tumultuous, with things simmering more vigorously at certain points during the cooking than at others, and with ingredients being introduced (perhaps) at unexpected times, but well worth the end result.
It all couldn’t be anything apart from exactly what it was intended to be—perfectly balanced, perfectly flavored; and, as is true of all that God touches, painstakingly and lovingly prepared to perfection.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Curried Lentil Soup with a touch of Coconut Cream
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6-8
• 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter), or coconut oil
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
• 1 rib celery, finely diced
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
• 1 teaspoon turmeric
• ½ teaspoon ground cumin
• ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• 1 pound split red lentils (dried)
• 6 cups chicken stock, hot
• ½ (14 ounce) can coconut cream
• 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
• Naan bread, for dipping
-Place a pot over medium-high heat, and add in the ghee; once hot, add in the onion, carrot and celery, and saute for about 5-6 minutes, until slightly tender.
-Add in the garlic, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, smoked paprika and black pepper, and stir to combine; once aromatic, add in the lentils and stir to blend, followed by the chicken stock.
-Cover the soup and allow it to gently simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until lentils are tender and soup is slightly thickened.
-Finish the soup by stirring in the coconut cream and the cilantro, and serve with warm naan bread, if desired.