Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fire, There's A Fire!

A friend of mine at work was telling us how her husband deep-fries turkeys for Thanksgiving and gives them away as gifts. The more she described how good it tasted, the more my mouth watered. I pulled her aside later and asked for all of the details so I could try it at home. 

“You have to have a really big pot and a lot of cooking oil,” she explained. 

“Uh-huh,” I answered as I wrote down every word she spoke. 

“Here’s a sample package of the marinade that you put inside of the syringe and shoot inside of the turkey. Then deep-fry it at 350 degrees for about three minutes for every pound the turkey weighs.” 

“Can you use this recipe to deep-fry a chicken instead of a turkey? 

“Sure, I don’t see why not. 

“Uh-huh, uh-huh,” I answered again, scribbling with great excitement. 

“But most of all, you have to promise me that you will cook this chicken outside and not in your kitchen. The oil gets very hot and it’s very dangerous to do this in your house. Do you have an outside cooker that you can use?” 

“Uh-huh,”I responded without really paying much attention. My mind was set on trying this delicious-sounding meal as soon as I got home. 

“Now my husband usually does the cooking  outside using special equipment designed for just such a purpose. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be very dangerous. Do you understand?” she asked. 

“Uh-huh, I’ve got it. I’ll be very careful. Thanks for all of the information,” I shouted over my shoulder as I headed back to my desk. 

As soon as I got home that night  I yelled for Robbie Lee to come and help me in the kitchen, “Robbie Lee, we’re going to cook up a delicious fried chicken tonight that will make your mouth think it’s died and gone to heaven.” 

“Fried chicken? I love fried chicken,”said Robbie Lee with great delight. It’s her very favorite meal. 

“Not just fried chicken. We’re gonna deep-fry a whole chicken in just fifteen minutes.”

“How’re you gonna do that? Do you have what you need to deep-fry a whole chicken? Don’t you have to have special equipment for that?” Robbie Lee asked with great worry in her voice. 

“Nonsense, it’s easy. All I need is a very big pot and a lot of oil. I stopped at the store on the way home and bought the chicken, oil, and a thermometer. 

We’re all set. We have everything we need to cook this bird up just right. I can hardly wait to taste it.” 

“All right, I’m not the cook in the family. I guess  you know what you’re doing,” said Robbie Lee. “What do you want me to do?” 

“First pour those bottles of cooking oil into that pot I have on the stove. Then turn on the burner. I’ll be preparing the chicken with this special marinade a friend gave me from work.” 

“But do you think this pot will be big enough? It doesn’t look like it’s gonna hold that chicken very well.” 

“Ah, it’ll be fine. Besides, it’s the biggest pot we have. Go ahead and fill it with oil. I’m sure it’ll work OK,”I said with great confidence. I was so eager to try the recipe that I didn’t want to be bothered worrying about whether or not the pot was big enough. 

“Shouldn’t we be doing this outside?” Robbie Lee asked. “This is a lot of oil.” 

“We don’t have a way to cook it outside. Just be careful, nothingwill happen.” 

Robbie Lee poured all of the bottles of oil into the pot while I washed and shot the marinade into the chicken. I could almost taste it before we started cooking it. 

“Imagine, in just fifteen minutes, we’ll have a whole chicken fried up, ready to eat,” I said. 

I stuck the thermometer in the pot and began monitoring the temperature, waiting for it to reach 350 degrees. I had wired up the chicken with a make shift handle so I could easily lower it into the pot. When the temperature was finally hot enough, I grabbed the chicken, which was dripping with the marinade, and dangled it over the pot. The oil began to bubble up from the drippings, so I sat the chicken back down for a moment. 

“I think we have too much oil in here,”I cleverly pointed out.“Maybe I’d better take some of it out.” 

With a heat-proof glass cup I began dipping hot, hot oil out of the pot and into a glass baking dish. When I had lowered the amount of oil sufficiently, I again grabbed the chicken and lowered it into the pot.Suddenly,the oil came alive and started rising out of the pot. It spilled up and over the rim, until the burner underneath caught on fire. 

“Oh my!”I screamed. “Robbie Lee, quick, come and help me. We’ve got to save the chicken.” 

I’m ashamed to admit that my first thoughts were for saving the chicken, but I was very hungry at the time. Robbie Lee ran around in circles while I finally got up the nerve to jerk the chicken out of the pot, slinging it all around the kitchen while I looked for a place to put it down. Hot oil was being splattered all over the walls and the floor. Robbie Lee was still running around in circles. The fire under the pot had grown bigger and looked very threatening. 

“I’m going to call 911!” screamed Robbie Lee as she finally broke out of her circle and into the living room. 

“Wait! Hand me the salt. Salt puts out grease fires.” 

Robbie Lee ran back into the kitchen, but when she hit the oily floor, she slid half ay across the room. I grabbed her just in time to keep her from falling, and we both danced around for a minute or two. In the meantime, the flames were growing bigger. Robbie Lee finally managed to get her balance and reached for the salt box. Iwas busy fanning and blowing on the flames, which made them grow even higher. 

“Here, try this,” Robbie Lee said, handing me the box of salt. 

I threw salt on everything I could see, but the flames were underneath the pot and I couldn’t get enough salt under there to smother the fire. 

“I’m gonna have to move this pot so we can get salt under there,” I shouted. 

“No, let’sjust call 911,” pleaded Robbie Lee. “You might drop the pot or it might catch on fire.” 

“I can do this,”I announced bravely. “When I count to three, I’ll pick up the pot and move it away from the burner. Then you start dumping salt on the fire. Ready?” 

“All right,” Robbie Lee said, holding the salt in her hand. 

“One, two, three!”I picked up the pot with oil boiling over the sides and moved it away from the fire as myfeet were slipping and sliding in different directions on the oily floor. Robbie Lee dumped the whole box of salt on the fire while screaming at the top of her lungs. 

At last the fire was out. The kitchen was filled with smoke, soot, and oil as far as the eye could see. Robbie Lee and I sat down at the kitchen table and almost broke down crying. We had come so close to burning down our house that I didn’t even want to think about it. 

Once we had calmed down, we began cleaning up the ugly mess. I remembered lecturing Mom about a small burned spot on the kitchen counter she had accidentally caused while we were away one weekend. As I looked around, I could see that this was the Lord’s way of paying me back for my lack of grace and patience with my mother. I looked up with a stupid grin on my face and muttered, “You win. I’ll apologize as soon as she returns home from visiting her sisters.” 

When it was all over, we were happy to find that there was very little damage to the kitchen, but the pot was a goner. 

“I bet that chicken would have tasted good,” Robbie Lee said sadly. 

“Yeah, I’m still hungry. Maybe if we had a bigger pot,” I started thinking. “I bet we can borrow a bigger pot from our friend Judi.” 

“Are you thinking of trying to deep-fry this chicken again?”Robbie Lee asked in disbelief. 

“Why not? The only problem was we needed a bigger pot. Run down to Judi’s and see if she has one. I know she owns every kitchen utensil ever made. She’s bound to have the right size pot. Hurry, go and ask her.” 

Robbie Lee took off running down the street. She returned with a giant pot our friend Judi who was in the process of cooking collards; however, when she heard of our dilemma, she dumped the collards, washed the pot, and loaned it to Robbie Lee. She knows how important fried chicken is to us. 

We started all over again and cooked up a beautiful fried chicken that almost melted in our mouths. Even though we nearly burned down the house, the flavor of that chicken was almost worth the trouble. I sat back with a full stomach and pictured the fire department in front of our house fighting a huge, out-of-control fire. Robbie Lee and I would be on the sidelines with pieces of chicken fixed on a wire coat hanger, holding them over the flames. When it comes to fried chicken, we’re desperate people.

JUDE 1:23 
“Snatch Others From The Fire And Save Them.” 

Have you ever gone ahead with plans to do something risky, even though you felt it was against your better judgment? With warnings ringing all around us, we still proceed because we want to satisfy our own desires rather than heed the wisdom of friends andfamily. The Bible teaches us everything we need to know to live and follow Christ, yet we sometimes fail to heed God’s word. Our curiosity, personal pleasures, and pride guide us away from the straight path and onto what appears to be a more exciting, twisting, turning road. The problems begin when we come to turns in the road we can’t navigate because we’re speeding along, carefree and alone. 

The book of Jude teaches us to pay attention to spiritual alarms and warnings sounded by the Holy Spirit and not to follow our ungodly desires. We may think we are in control at all times, that nothing can trip us up, but when we start thinking we don’t  need the counsel of others and we fail to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts,we’re heading for a fire that can burn out of control, leaving us badly burned and dazed. Listen for God’s voice in His word and in godly counsel. Don’t plunge into something just because you want to do it. You may get your eyebrows singed.

Excerpt from "Life is a Buffet So Save Room for Dessert" Copyright © by Polly D. Boyette"All Rights Reserved."

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