Friday, November 16, 2012

Practice Makes Perfect

The other day, I was just finishing cooking a batch of stroganoff to divide and freeze for winter when it occurred to me that maybe my local set of priests might like to have some. I kind of shrugged off the impulse to hop in my car and take it to them, remembering that I took them some pierogi just the other week.

After a few moments, I thought, "Well, I do need to ask that these offeratory envelopes stop being mailed to me. I was just going to call but I suppose I could use that as an excuse to go in to the office." I looked at the kitchen clock. It was just about 3:00.

The parish office closes at 4:00, so I sighed to myself, "No... I need more containers from the grocery before I can even put away what I have cooked, let alone give some to the priests."

By that time, my stroganoff was finished. So I turned off the stove, popped the lid on my pot, slipped on my jacket and headed out the door to the grocery. The first grocery I went to did not have the size of containers I wanted, so I went to another. That store did have the containers, which I bought and then I went home. I divided up my stroganoff into the containers and looked again at the clock. It was roughly 3:30.

"I suppose I'm not going to shake this feeling till I drive some stroganoff over to the priests," I resigned myself. So I grabbed one of the containers and grabbed my purse. I was just about to turn my key in the ignition switch when I remembered the envelopes that were my excuse to go in. (Oops.) Whew! I remembered just in time, and got them from the house before leaving.

When I made it to the parish office, I purposely left the stroganoff in the car. I was glad I did when I found out neither of the priests was there. So I took care of my "business" and chatted for a few friendly minutes with the church secretary. On my way out of the building, guess who should be walking in through the same door? Yes, the pastor.

"Hello, Father," I greeted in passing.

"Hello," he responded and stopped in the doorway. "Who are you, again?"

I have to admit that I was a little surprised he did not recognize me, as I just finished working on a church project that required me to sit at a table in the back of the sanctuary, setting appointments with parishioners before and after mass -- for six weeks. Nevertheless, he did not know my name so I gave it to him, "I'm Beth." He did not seem to recognize me, so I added, "I'm the one who made the pierogi."

The pierogi he remembered instantly, "Oh! Say, those were good!"

(NOTE: If you want people to remember you, give them something good to eat. They may not remember you, but they will remember the food!)

This was my opportunity to offer him the stroganoff (under the condition that he must share with the other priest), which he accepted. We chatted pleasantly for a few minutes. As I handed him the container, I issued the following warning, "Now keep in mind that I only have TWO good recipes according to [my personal prodigal] and you liked my pierogi, so obviously that must be one of them." [Not quite true. I never made pierogi for my personal prodigal. The pierogi I made and gave to the priests merely had some of the good elements from one of my "mediocre" recipes that I made for him.]

"Two good recipes," repeated the priest quietly. It took a moment before he added with confidence, "and stroganoff is the other."

"Nooo!" I contradicted, instantly.

The priest broke out laughing. (I can only imagine what he must have been thinking.)

"Stroganoff is my mother's recipe."

"Well," he encouraged, still chuckling, "practice makes perfect."

[Note: It feels nice to be appreciated for a change.]

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