What’s Cooking?


 I accepted the gift of an electric stove after saying no to the idea for several months. My beloved kids insisted it would make my life easier because I use oxygen and open flames are not safe. I’m usually happy to accept gifts but I definitely resisted this one because I knew electric stoves are infuriatingly slow. Surprise! It heats like magic!

I am pretty sure my reluctance to accept my good was based on prejudice rather than not being able to receive. I have grown able to saying yes to the Universe in many more ways but I apparently still have work to do around cherishing outmoded experiences.

Have you ever been absolutely certain about something and discovered you were absolutely wrong? I’ll bet the answer is yes.  We all form opinions based on ideas, facts or yesteryear’s authority that simply aren’t true today.

I really was amazed my stove turned out to be so efficient. If I’d thought about it logically, I would have realized that the last time I cooked on electricity was almost sixty years ago. My information was a bit out of date! Today there are cell phones, personal computers, and thousands of other technological changes. Of course electric stoves would be faster.

When I asked myself, “Where was my head?” the obvious answer was “Stuck in the 1950’s”. This experience gives me insight into my contemporaries who wear their hair the same way we did in high school and hold onto their opinions about matching shoes and bags.

It is a bit embarrassing to be an expert on helping other people change and then discover I have some very basic work to do on myself. When I think about how defiantly I held an outmoded prejudice about kitchen equipment, it makes me wonder what other ancient notions I’m nurturing. I have to repeat that lyric that says, “I love myself the way I am and I am willing to change.”

Then again, there is no place where people are as stubborn as in their own private kitchens. Everyone loves and desires the same meals he or she had in childhood. No one cooks chicken the way grandma did. Food, memories, family and custom are all closely related.

The holidays are a perfect example of this. I doubt I’ll be cooking any turkeys in my new oven but I do know a lot of us will be struggling with old ideas that have no place in new times. We’re moving into the season of Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post painting that portrays the family around the Thanksgiving table.

Families aren’t like they were in the 1950’s. They are smaller and they live much farther apart. Very few of us will be able to reproduce that old Rockwell image but many of us will long for “the good old days”. We will try frantically to bring nostalgia to life. I know this is so because it happens every year at Turkey Time.

Now that the holiday season looms over us, let’s remember to keep our wits and enjoy the season. Too many people struggle to repeat customs that, from the vantage of year 2012 just look silly.

Have you heard the story about the bride, who prepares her Easter ham by cutting off one end? When new husband asks her why, she pleads family custom. But she is curious herself, so she traces the ceremony back to great-grandmother who is playing golf in Florida. Great-granny says, “When I was a bride I only had a small pan so I cut the ham to make it fit.”

Food customs, whether turkey at Thanksgiving, matza at Passover, or tamales at Christmas, are based on history. History is not really doomed to repeat itself but it does seem to morph into nostalgia if we aren’t careful.

This year, when our Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t follow the ancestral pattern exactly, let’s try to remain calm. Even if we could cook as well as Granny, consuming all those calories wouldn’t be good for us. We will live longer if we remember nostalgia is fattening.

Food is very emotional during the holidays and actually, food is emotional all year long. Someone brought cornbread to church last Sunday and, as I bit into it, I felt as though I were time-tripping to age sixteen.

An anthropologist friend told me that the last thing immigrant peoples change in the assimilation process is their food preferences. When people come to this country, they bring their food with them and we are all richer. Diversity works in wonderful ways if we let it.

I’m happy to say that I have changed (after years of resistance), my food choices. You don’t release 115 pounds on the same foods that put it on. My kitchen menu will continue to consist of fruit, vegetables and poultry with some lean meat, on my new stove.

I changed my ancestral food choices because I wanted to be healthier more than I wanted that piece of pie. I began to select healthy food that I enjoyed. I can barely remember what my life was like before yogurt and broiled chicken.

Think about a change you want to see. Are you stuck in the visioning stage? Are you resisting your next step? We all know doing the same thing over and over and expecting new outcome is crazy. So why do we resist change?

Sometimes we are afraid that the world is changing and not getting better. Sometimes we simply need to check out new information. Sometimes we are just caught up in habit.

If we feel stuck in any area of our life, whether from fear, denial, or just not knowing what to do next, there is always and answer available. Fear keeps us stuck. Opening up to change is fun!

The great gift of our New Thought teaching is that we can use our God-given minds to achieve our dreams. We go to church and study our teaching to move ahead, not to analyze failure. We don’t need to know why we resist, we simply need to move forward in the direction of our dreams. One of the first steps is to ask the right questions. And the very first question is, “What do I want? “

The next question, is not, “Why don’tI have it?” but “Where can I go for help?”  “How can I get more information?”  I promise you that your local New Thought church or center, can help get the clarity you need to see change happen.

In Positive Living Centers, we teach prayer patterns that move us quickly to toward the desired change. The first thing we learn is to move from the negative to the positive in our thoughts so that Universal Intelligence can help. Just about every Sunday, you will hear the phrase “Change your thinking and change your life.”

Believe it or not, you are never stuck. You can change. You can have better. Before I let go of that stove prejudice, I was cooking meals in my microwave, and my crockpot. I’m using my stove again. I may no longer be cooking with gas but I’m on all four burners.

Ask Yourself

Do I feel stuck?

Do I resist change?

Am I basing my decisions on life in 2012 or other times?


4 Comments on “What’s Cooking?”

  1. Maxine Kaye says:

    Fabulous, My Flexible Friend!

    Do call me when you get a chance so we discuss SOM Skills

    Love, Maxine

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Jane Pool says:

    One tradition I gladly gave up was thinking I had to be the one to cook the Thanksgiving turkey, My husband used to do it on the rotisserie grill and now my daughter does it albeit at my house.
    A change that some find hard to make is from the church of their childhood to a New Thought Church. The first time I attended one I didn’t quite “get” it but that is for two reasons: There is so much to learn and digest a person cannot know what it is all about in one hour; The second time I attended I was lucky enough that it was Dr. Jane’s church and she was starting a series on the world’s major religions and I knew I had found a spiritual home.

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