Exit Ramp

I am beginning to experience the creative joy of cooking. One day, I came across a recipe on preparing Vegetable au gratin.

Every cook, being human, errs, bungles, botches, and screws up in the kitchen once in a while. But for a novice cook like me, a recipe can become a dangerous minefield.



The cream sauce turned out lumpy. The vegetables were both bland and soggy. And the potatoes tasted raw.



My brother tried to hide his distaste, unfortunately, he almost choked on it. Even so, he lauded me for my ingenuity.

In her article, Cooking Blunders: Whatever do you mean?,Marjorie Dorfman emphasizes, “It is important, however, to re-trace your steps and understand the error of your ways so that you do not repeat the mistake.”

Mustering up courage, I decided to do it again.



2 large potatoes, diced
a handful of frozen corn
1 tsp butter
1 cup mixed frozen vegetables
1 cup shredded four cheese
salt and pepper to taste

For the white sauce:
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1.5 cup Natrel coffee cream ( or milk)
1 tsp butter
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

I discovered that baking potatoes requires more time. I went on doing it first.


Apply a tsp of butter at the bottom of the baking pan and then layer the potatoes and corn on it. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Grill this in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 350°F until the potatoes are slightly browned.



Next, add all the diced vegetables and spread them evenly on all sides of the pan.


In preparing the white sauce, you need to warm the butter in a non-stick skillet. Make sure that the butter is melted and not burned. Mix the flour with the cold cream until you reach a smooth consistency. Next, pour this mixture in the sauce pan and keep stirring constantly. Season it with salt, pepper and add a teaspoon of sugar. To avoid formation of lumps, I kept on stirring it over low heat until my potatoes are baked nicely. ( a simple test of patience and endurance!)


The next step is to evenly pour the white sauce on the vegetables. Then top it with a layer of four cheese.

Bake this at 350°F for 15-20mins.

It is a good thing that the highway of imperfection has exit ramps.There is always a way getting back on the right direction whenever we make the wrong choice.

God is always in the process of developing our character.

Troubles help us learn not to give up. And when we have learned not to give up, it shows we have stood the test. When we have stood the test, it gives us hope. (Romans 5:3-4, NLV)

Our shortcomings in life may cause us to fall apart. But in the pain, we can find healing. In Jesus’ name, we can always find meaning.






I intended doing a taste test. Instead, I ended up eating a big slice.


Stepping Back


Me….cook?”, I readily dismissed the likelihood of doing so.




I firmly believe that passion is essential in any endeavour I would be engaging in. Honestly, cooking is not on my list. I resigned myself on the alternative that food can always be outsourced.

As a child, I relish on smelling the aroma of my mom’s cooking every morning.

I do know how to use a skillet and any food that goes with it. ( as long as I won’t end up burning something along the process.)

Living independently is quite challenging especially when I’m just beginning my career and I only have modest resources. My first few months in Canada taught me to keep everything within a budget. Buying a burger meal from McDonald’s everyday is considered a form of luxury.

However, I am learning there is a big difference between responding and reacting to my present circumstances.

In the Book of Romans,God promises, “He makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him.”(Romans 8:28, NIV)

God is developing a new skill in me in the midst of my present situation.

I encountered the following recipe in which I took the liberty of modifying to tailor-fit it with my available ingredients.


Pesto Potato with Bacon and Cheese



One potato cut into bite-size chunks

2 evenly sliced tomatoes

2 tbsp pre-made pesto sauce

shredded cheese

5-8 bacon strips, cut into bite sizes

salt and pepper

¼ tsp Magic ginisa mix

¼ tsp chopped garlic



Carefully lay the bacon strips in a non-stick frying pan and fry for 5-6 minutes over medium heat, or until crisp and golden-brown.



Remove it from the pan then cut the bacon strips to bite-size pieces. (it is really tempting to just eat them and forget about the entire recipe.)


Add chopped garlic at the bacon drippings. Then lay the potatoes on it undisturbed for 3-4 minutes until golden and crisp; turn and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden all over, about 2 minutes. Season it with salt, pepper and magic ginisa mix to taste. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the bacon and stir in the pesto. Then top it with a layer of cheese.


Hmmmm….tomatoes, pesto, and cheese really go great together. And I am just discovering it.

Passion is subjective. It is shaped by our interests. Our interests broaden when we step back and see the bigger picture. It leads us to develop a stronger conviction. Our interests change eventually.

Nick Vujicic, a motivational speaker, inspires us, “The challenges in our lives are there to strengthen our convictions. They are not there to run us over.”

For God promises in Jeremiah 29:11,“I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.”

Life always has something more than what we already thought it contains.