Friday, February 15, 2013

Life Lessons from a Pan of Failed Sausage Gravy

Happy Valentine's Day!!

I know, I know. I'm a day late, but yesterday was about being with my man and, as much as I love you all, he's coming first when he's home.

Everyone of you who know my husband can attest to the fact that he is not easy to shop for. He's got weird tastes, which seem to constantly be changing, so, even after 19+ years of marriage, most of the time, I'm just stymied when it comes to buying him gifts.

I, on the other hand, am not so hard to shop for. I like jewelry. I also adore GOOD chocolate. And I love seeing how my man's brain works. This last one means that he pretty much always knocks it out of the park when it comes to gift-giving (he's never satisfied with just "phoning it in).

Now, put those two things together, and add in the fact that I must have things balanced in my life (nothing can be all give and no take) and you can see how I might end up feeling like I'm not pulling my fair share of the gift-giving weight. So what's a girl to do? What did I do? I cooked.

Sausage gravy and biscuits for brunch, and fish sticks and macaroni and cheese for dinner. Yes, you heard me correctly. Fish sticks and macaroni and cheese. There's a story to it, but I'll get into that at a later time.

As for the sausage gravy and biscuits, well...there's a story for this too. Let me begin by saying that, for the last few months, I have come to believe in the truth behind these few words: "If you're gonna do it, you gotta commit." To put it the way my grandmother says it: if you're gonna take the time to do it, you might as well do it right. Or, as the old proverb states: Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Sausage gravy and biscuits, and diets, are no exception.

Honestly, I should've known that when I was trying to find a way to mesh sash sausage gravy with my points-counting system that something was going to go awry. But, it never occurred to me. I've been making sausage gravy for years, and have never had it turn out like it did yesterday. You see, my mistake was: I used skim milk. I never use skim milk to make gravy. Why? Because, really, it's like sitting down to eat a large pizza, or a big bowl of chili cheese nachos and drinking a Diet Coke, hoping the soda will counterbalance the calories.

Yeah! Not gonna happen!

Well, yesterday, I did it.

Do you wanna know what happens when you make gravy with skim milk? It separates. Honestly, you might as well try to make cream gravy with water. You'd get just about the same results. Not being one who likes to just immediately scrap something just because it doesn't look right, I tried it. It tasted "separated." Unfortunately, I awakened my husband before I tasted the gravy, so now, i had to go Since I had already awakened my husband to inform him that he could lay back down for another 20 minutes, until I could make another batch. However, since he was up, he insisted on trying it. He liked it well enough to eat it (he did not rave about how good it was though), and chided me for being too hard on myself (I love this man.) and then, we called the kids. They tried it and were fine with it. So I ate biscuits, and they ate the gravy and there was none left at the end of the day.

Before I started typing about this today, the thought occurred to me that I do this a lot: try to mesh two things that don't want, or need, to be worked together. I've never seen apples growing on orange trees. Surely, there are some things that just can't be forced into a compromise. Now, don't get me wrong, I do not foresee a day when I will never eat gravy. I want to be healthy and in good shape, but I also enjoy a good plate of biscuits and gravy. I don't believe there is anything wrong with that. The problem, yesterday, came when I tried to make something healthy that was never really intended to be a health food. Yet another saying comes to mind here: "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." You just can't do it.

Making a "healthy" sausage gravy, HA! I might've had better luck if I had used turkey sausage, but you still need milk with a fair amount of milk fat in it and a decent amount of fat to make gravy.
You just do!

So why do we do this to ourselves?

I did it for years with my marriage and, sometimes, either directly or indirectly, with my husband. By the time I got married, I had several ideas of what marriage was "supposed to" look like, and my marriage only seemed to resemble the fact that we said we were married. I also had several ideas of what men and husbands were like, and my man met only the genetic requirements. Of course, I also had a lot of ideas of what it was supposed to be like to a wife, but the fact that I wasn't living up to my own standard was directly attributable to the fact that neither my marriage nor my spouse looked like they were supposed to.

As a result, I spent a lot of time not appreciating what I had, and also not doing my job. I was too busy trying to make what we had into something it what I thought it was supposed to be. You see, I am hard-up on supposed to. At least, I used to be. And I have a hard time not comparing what I am, have, like or do with everyone else's. My marriage and my spouse were no different.

What does all this have to do with a pan of failed sausage gravy? Whenever I have tried to force anything, or anyone, to being something it was never intended to be, I have come away disappointed. Worse than that, if it was a person I was trying to force, that person ended up feeling resentful toward me, and feeling like I don't love them for who they are - which, obviously, I didn't. But that has never been the person I have wanted to be. You see, my "supposed to's" got in the way of my loving them. And because I tried to force them into my mold of "supposed to" I failed to see the beauty that was already there, and I failed to relish what they had to offer that made my life better, to see what challenged me to be a better person.

So...what have I done to make my life a little easier? I have summarily dropped the words "supposed to" from my vocabulary. If I use them now, it is with a wink and a nod, and with full knowledge that I am no longer boxing myself into a corner with them, but am using them as a reminder not to set up unrealistic expectations.

Also, I have decided to just let my sausage gravy be the yummy, fatty goodness it was intended to be, and I will just eat less of it. I will enjoy what I do eat, relishing every bite of how it was intended to be, but within limits. I will not force it to be something it cannot, rather, I will change the ways enjoy it. And for those times when I cannot, because I am not dealing with ACTUAL sausage gravy, I will accept at face value what I have before me, and trust that God will show me how to deal with it, believing that He allows all things into my life to continue to transform me into the person He wants me to be.

Who'd have guessed you could learn so much from a pan of failed sausage gravy!

1 comment:

  1. The taste of the sausage gravy was fine. It was a texture issue. As the gravy cooled, it seperated and became almost gritty. It not change the flavor much though. I still loved all of the effort Patty put into making my Valentine's Day Special!!