New Food Peak

November 3rd, 2010

Progress Never Stops

Last night I had the best Italian (maybe “Italian-style”) meal of my entire life.

Since I stopped working in my church’s cafe, I’ve been getting lots of food ideas. I got some wonderful ideas for improving my garlic rolls.

One big change involves the structure of the rolls. As you may know, many people make garlic rolls by tying strips of dough in knots, which improves the texture immensely. I like to cut the strips lengthwise before tying them. This way you get two strips, which are better than one. This week I decided to divide them one more time, into four strips, and I took steps to prevent the strips from re-joining during the rising process. I also twist the strip assemblies like candy canes before tying the knots.

I’m also using sourdough now. I made my own starter using bacteria from a very unlikely source, and I made a big batch of dough without yeast. The idea is to keep portions of this stuff frozen. When you need one, you put it in the fridge. It can sit there all week (maybe longer), and whenever you want to make rolls, you mix it with fresh dough, and in a fairly short time, you have excellent sourdough with a beautiful texture.

If it gets old, throw it out and thaw a new portion. They probably cost fifteen cents to make.

Yesterday I decided to make three rolls. One with all the improvements, and two the way I was making them last week. I bought the cheapest grating cheese (mystery-brand romano) I could find, since I was only doing a test. I also made spaghetti rigati (spaghetti with longitudinal ridges) with sauce based on tomato paste and Cento cherry tomatoes. I had a can lying around (bought it so I could try it in pizza sauce), and I figured it was time to use it.

The cheap cheese turned out to be the best grated cheese I had ever eaten. It didn’t have a lot of weird, funky flavors, the way many expensive cheeses do, but the taste and texture were perfect by my standards. The sauce was a thing of beauty; I think I know of better tomato products to use, but the cherry tomatoes were very good, and I left the skins in for fiber.

I made the spaghetti, buttered it, dumped half of it in a bowl, piled a lot of thawed-out mozzarella (still cleaning out the deep freeze) on it, added the rest of the spaghetti, tossed it slightly, added sauce, and grated cheese over the result.

The roll…I can’t describe it. I would almost describe my response to it as reverence. I covered the rolls with garlic sauce and grated cheese, and I ate them one at a time, and while all of them were excellent, the one I did the new way was on its own plane of existence. It fell apart beautifully. The mix of textures was a joy to behold. The sourdough flavor and aroma transported me. And that cheap cheese complemented it perfectly.

I think I have a way to improve the dough even more, but I would lose a little bit of the convenience. I can’t wait to use it in pizza.

There is no doubt about it. God guides my cooking. The ideas fall like rain. They land on my head when I least expect it. What is the purpose? I can’t even guess. I thought I was supposed to be making this stuff in church, but I was not able to do that.

I would love to open a pizzeria and sell nothing but pizza, rolls, and cheesecake. I honestly think people would faint in the parking lot. But people keep telling me quality doesn’t count in the pizza business. It certainly hasn’t counted for much in other business ventures I’ve been involved in, except for law. Oddly, law practice seems to be a purer than average meritocracy. Gladhanding and office politics count for something, but if you’re good, work will come to you, because the people who aren’t good are afraid to stand on their own feet; they will want you to do their work for them and hold their hands.

It would be great to do things for my church, but it’s extremely difficult to bless Christians. It seems like they mess up every good idea you give them. Buy your church a new chapel, and they’ll use it to store fertilizer. Buy them chef’s knives, and they’ll use them as screwdrivers and chisels. I suppose this is what God has to deal with every day. “Here’s a pillar of fire and a cloud to guide you through the wilderness and defeat all your enemies, and WAIT! Get away from that golden calf! What are you DOING? Get back here! Stop burning your babies for Molech this INSTANT! Are you listening to me?”

I assume God will not help a church make good use of things, unless the people in the church are on the right spiritual wavelength. If there isn’t enough prayer and enough determination to walk by faith instead of jumping into projects that seem right to our limited minds, God takes his hand off what we do, and the enemy wrecks it. Maybe. There has to be some explanation. Maybe I am pushing my church to accept things God wants me to keep, or maybe God is teaching me to have realistic expectations when I deal with churches (my pick for likeliest explanation). Anyway, it looks like my only hope of accomplishing anything with the good things God gives me is to hold onto them, do my best with them, and support God’s work from whatever profits I receive.

I am really enjoying the ideas I get, even if they don’t bless anyone except me and my family and friends.

This week I’m repeating the fast that delivered me from overeating. I do that once in a while. I felt it was time. It seemed like gluttony was trying to creep back into my life, which is to be expected periodically.

I couldn’t get anyone to join me on this fast. Oh, well. I’ll get my blessings, and I tried to help other people get theirs. What more can I do? When you’re a Christian, you have to accept the fact that very often, you are going to have to step out on your own, because other people will not want to go forward with you.

The armorbearer team at my church fasts every Monday, but it’s not much of a fast. It’s surprisingly hard to get people to go a day without calories. We fast on Mondays until 6 p.m., which amounts to less than 24 hours when you count sleep time, and we are allowed to have any liquids we want. You could have ten milkshakes on this fast. I think it’s better than nothing, but I don’t think it achieves nearly as much as a zero-calorie fast, and I was starting to accept it as my standard fast. So I needed to upgrade. I’m back to zero calories, and I’m doing this two-day deal, which is called the Armorbearer Freedom Fast.

Mike has lost over 35 pounds since he went on the last Freedom Fast. That’s a good result and a great testimony to God’s power and kindness.

3 Responses to “New Food Peak”

  1. anne Says:

    Hi Steve. I’ve been wanting to incorporate fasting into my life for awhile now; I think this post of yours has finally encouraged me to just do it. Thank you.

  2. Steve H. Says:

    That’s great, Anne. I have to admit, I really hate fasting, but it’s so powerful, it’s worth it.

  3. Greg Zywicki Says:

    Maybe your ideas aren’t how God wants to Bless others. Yet. I’m confident that you are blessing others. Ask Mike or Aaron about that, maybe?