Finding God in Cooking Pasta

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God taught me another lesson during another of my cooking episodes in the monastery.

On one of our days off, I decided to make pasta for dinner with the mincemeat provided, which I thought should be easy enough since I had done it before. But after finally tasting what I had cooked, I was so disappointed with it, for I found it not tasty enough, and chided myself for not using enough salt.

When a fellow participant came by and had a taste of it, she commented that “less salt is good for you”. I thought she was just being polite. Then another participant who also tasted it commented that despite the salt content, the meat was tasty.

That last comment threw me off, for I couldn’t quite understand how food that didn’t have enough salt could still be tasty. But that’s when I finally realized what God was trying to teach me.

All this time, with regards to cooking, I always thought that what makes food tasty enough was by adding enough additives, like salt, sugar, sauces etc. Similarly, all my life, I grew up thinking that what makes me good enough is when I have enough ‘additives’ in my life, like achievements, affirmations, approval from others, etc. As a result, I used to depend a lot on what people think or say of me, or what I have to prove to others, for my sense of self-worth and value.

But through this cooking ‘failure’, God is reminding me that I can be ‘tasty’ even without excessive ‘salt’; that I AM ENOUGH even without the ‘additives’ in life. For I am already good and ‘tasty’ on my own, but just need the right amount of love and self-acceptance, and placed over the fire of God’s love, to bring out the true flavor and original goodness of my identity and personhood.

Now I know why ‘less salt is good for me’, cos too much of it only masks or denies my true goodness and worth. In this past year, God has removed the excessive additives in my life so that I could finally taste the true goodness and beauty of who I already am. And it is with this authentic and unique flavor of my personal identity and vocation that I wish to be God’s food for others.

 

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Nicholas Lye

Nicholas Lye

Nicholas Lye is a Singaporean currently on a year's sabbatical from the seminary, discerning his path in life and striving to facilitate encounters with God in the workplace and ordinary life.

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