Monday, March 14, 2016

A lesson in broiler safety

Oven broilers and brown sugar are a dangerous combination. Just ask my Mom and me who learned that the hard way.
It all started with an altruistic attempt to make an apple crisp. I began the baking endeavor that somehow turned out terribly dry. I called in backup, or maybe it should be called bake-up. Mom entered the kitchen armed with more butter, oats and brown sugar determined to salvage my unappealing dessert. She mixed up some more topping, mixed around the apples and increased the oven temperature. Thirty minutes later the crisp wasn't any more appetizing.
Enter plan C. The broiler. This is always a dangerous device in my house and always a last resort. When all else fails and you have nothing more, culinarily speaking, to lose, you enlist the use of the most powerful heating element on hand and hope for the best.
With an apple crisp on life-support Mom felt it best to turn to the equivalent of our kitchen defibrillator, the broiler. She set it to high, sprinkled some more brown sugar on top of the mushy mixture and popped it into the oven with the words, "Don't let me forget I stuck this in there" quietly floating into the air.
We both took our positions at the kitchen counter, engrossed in our internet worlds when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something shooting orange from the direction of the oven. I glanced through the glass to see a fiery pan of flame-broiled apple crisp. I ran to the oven, turned the broiler off and whipped the door open without an oven mitt in hand or a thought as to how I would extract the blazing dessert. The moments that followed are a blur of hurried feet, frantic, incomplete sentences and Mom's arms reaching into the five-hundred degree oven with a flimsy rag. In the end a black, oat and sugar crusted apple mush lay in the sink literally burnt to a complete apple... crisp.
Within seconds Mom and I were in such fits of laughter we could barely stay standing. We laughed so hard we cried, maybe even snorted. It was the kind of laugh that makes your stomach hurt but in the very best way possible.
Although we lost the crisp we gained a hysterical memory and a lesson in broiler safety: freshly sprinkled brown sugar underneath a blazing, hot radiant heat creates fire.
But we learned a lesson that extends beyond the kitchen and outside of the broiler. The lesson of hearts on fire for Christ. The only sweetness that can safely be set ablaze is the sweetness of Christ set on fire by the overwhelming presence of His Spirit in the heart. The fire lit for the glory of God is best uncontained, raging in a bright and beautiful ball of flames. The fire of Christ's love is so sweet that once set it can never be extinguished.
From now on Mom and I are going to keep away from the broiler and practice more responsible fire safety. And from now on we're only setting fires in our hearts that burn with the love of Christ for the glory of God.

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