The "Resemblance of Chicken" Tacos
This is Mandy. This is her in her optimal crumb catching position. She's basically a pro. She LOVES it when I don't get it right, and things go a little sideways. Or in this case, downwards...
I love to cook. It was one of the first areas I found as my niche as an adult. When I started coming to my church, I was a mess. It was the end of the summer after my senior year of high school. I barely survived the last two years of high school and I had no desire or skill at being around people. Before I knew what was happening, I found myself in a small group of awesome people. Next, I ended up taking my brother to the junior high group on Wednesday nights.
Strangely, and I still don’t know how or why, I volunteered to make sweet treats for the kids every week. And I did this faithfully through the time my brother made it into high school.
I had also started bringing dessert to my small group. And each week people raved about how much they enjoyed what I made. Bringing people joy through food, was something I quickly fell in love with. It built in me a confidence I had never experienced before. I was good at something. People recognized me for my skill and effort.
Throughout the years I continued to cook for people. I made meals in massive quantities for college guys. Chicken enchiladas. Lasagna. Stir fry. Spaghetti. Tacos. Cheesy tortellini soup. I learned from people around me. I had people over to my house and cooked for them. Brought food to parties. Taught others how to cook.
I made birthday cakes. I started simple then moved on to more complex things. Eventually I made my way to wedding cakes. I’ve done my fair share of weddings.
So needless to say, cooking was something I felt gifted and comfortable in. It seemed to come easy. Basically it’s been that way for 7 years now.
Well and then I started dating four months ago…
I’ve messed up pretty well every. single. meal.
What in the world has happened?
I even burnt chicken in the crockpot. Burnt it black. We’re talking charcoal in the bottom of my crockpot.
All because I followed an online recipe for chicken tacos.
Pretty sure I also broke my crockpot. Cracked it right through the middle. Had a little puddle of dried, burnt chicken juices on my counter.
And you know what my lovely boyfriend did? Offered to eat it. I was horrified until we picked the chicken apart and found the middle wasn’t burnt. It was a weird mushy texture, but it wasn’t black. I grabbed a can of refried beans from the cabinet to supplement and hide the taste.
We ate tacos for the next two nights. Several days later we were talking about the tacos and he referred to them as the “resemblance of chicken” tacos. Yep. I laughed.
I laughed again thinking about it almost a week later. I told my friend at lunch and we laughed hard again. I told my counselor and again we laughed. I told another friend tonight while we ate pizza. More laughter.
I’m pretty sure the “resemblance of chicken” tacos will live on for many years. What could have been an average everyday meal, turned into a sweet memory that still brings me joy. A story to share with my friends. A moment to see the character and heart of the sweet man I get to date.
A moment that I got to let go of a bit of the perfection that I hold myself to. Letting go of a bit of the pride that I had in being an “amazing cook”. Being able to not take myself so seriously, and instead laugh it off.
In the moment I wasn’t as gracious to myself. I did beat myself up a bit. I felt the weight of messing something up. Of being so disappointed. Of not being good enough. I could have chose to continue down that path of being so harsh to myself.
But once we sat down to eat, it faded. We held hands and prayed. We ate food and talked. And honestly it wasn’t so bad. They tasted pretty good, somehow.
I want to continue to learn how to be kind to myself. To have the same gentleness and grace that I have with others. And to laugh when things go not as expected.
The truth is I’d rather have the stories of craziness than a life of perfection anyway. It’s way more entertaining.
And it's also convenient when I have a dog that gladly eats all of my mistakes anyway. Win-win.