Friday, June 11, 2010

Good at something

It takes a lot of practice and persistence to be exceptional at something. The World Cup football championship is held every four years. It's the world's biggest sporting event, bigger than the Olympics, bigger than the Superbowl, bigger than the Stanley Cup. It also lasts forever - they won't have a champion team until mid-July! The winners probably have played soccer all their lives, and certainly have devoted themselves to disciplined regimens of rehearsals and deprivation. No Krispy Cremes for them this year!

We're all good at something. My Uncle Erich is champion at cooking and baking German food. This morning I called to find out how to make Hefekuchen (literally "yeast-cake"), a sweet coffeecake with Streusel (butter/sugar/flour crumbs) on top.

My grandma, my aunts (and Uncle E), my mother-in-law, W's aunts... all imported the specialty from Europe and put their spin on it. I flipped through two German cookbooks to see if I could find a good recipe.

"Just call Uncle Erich!" Mom said. "He makes the best one!"

So I called him in Winnipeg. (Clap your hands across a map of Canada, and Winnipeg is bottom and center.) "Put in... oh, I don't know how much flour. I don't measure. Half fill one of those mixers with the hook. Your Auntie Molly and I have had that mixer for over 30 years, still in the old house. It's lasted a long time [KitchenAid]." Our chat brought back a lot of memories.

He explained the ingredients and the process along with his own tips: "In trade school, we learned that yeast doesn't like to mix with fat, so put in the yeast mixture last."

He also gave assurances of eventual success: "Every time you bake this cake, you'll get better. Pretty soon it will taste pretty good."

Luckily, 40-some years of baking experience assist with a "bit of this and that" kind of recipe. The cake is rising in the oven as I write. We'll see if it's tastes like beginner's luck or beginner's disaster.

I do know is it's not the World Cup Final kind of cake Uncle Erich makes, time after time. It's more like trying to kick a goal in high school, when you've casually played soccer with friends.

Read more:
* Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:23-26 NIV 

*Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty! Proverbs 14:23 NLT

*Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV

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