To marinate or not to marinate? That is the question…

I love to cook.  Did you get that?  Let me say it again:  I LOVE to cook!  It is by far my most passionate “hobby”, and also the one that causes me to use my brain the most.  But, as much as I enjoy cooking (did I say that already?!), there is one facet of preparing food of which I am not a fan:  marinating.  When I see that a dish needs to marinate for an hour, three hours, twenty-four hours, or six weeks (I know, most recipes don’t have anything marinating for six weeks!  I’m being a bit silly!), that recipe immediately goes into the “probably not” file in my mind.  Why do I do that?  I have had great success with dishes that need marinating–some truly yummy concoctions have come from that little extra time of soaking so that all the flavors can “marry” (some chef talk I’ve heard).  For some reason though, girls, I just don’t like to do it.  Even if a dish only has to marinate for thirty minutes, I still don’t really get excited about fixing it.  So, today as I was putting together the marinade for Salt and Vinegar Chicken (link at the bottom), I started to question why exactly I have such an aversion to this process.  I think I may have come up with the reason why marinating and I just don’t get along.

What do you have to have to marinate?  Yes, besides all the necessary ingredients.  You have to have time to put the marinade together, and then you have to have more time to actually allow the marinade to do its thing.  And then, you have to have time to actually bake the marinated food.  I would say that is a lot of time that you have to have.  Ding, ding, ding.  I have figured out the problem.  It has to do with patience.  How many of you knew that was the answer before you read it?  Well, pat yourself on the back, because this is a major revelation to me!  I don’t think that I have the time or patience to fix the marinade, let stuff marinate, and cook.  The whole reason that I have been avoiding delicious-sounding recipes is because I didn’t think I had the patience to wait.  Do I feel like a bum?!

So why is time/patience such an issue?  Well, we live in a society where everybody is constantly saying that “I just don’t have enough time or patience to get (fill in the blank) done.” Or, “I spend so much time doing (fill in the blank) that other things just don’t get done.” Or, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything I need to get done, done.”  Sound like you?  It certainly sounds like me.  But, as I usually do, I found myself wondering about this as I was prepping the food.  Why do we always feel so time crunched?  Why do we avoid doing something because it will take more time, with no instantaneous reward?  Have we allowed ourselves to become so “driven” by others, responsibilities, or our own desires that we can’t take the time to do something that could turn out to be positively fabulous?

In Galatians 5:22, patience is mentioned as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control.”  How often have I heard “Oh, please don’t pray for patience for me.  I don’t know what I may have to go through in order to receive it!”  Why don’t we have patience?  Why don’t we enjoy moments and wait for whatever needs to happen?  Why do we want our chicken done in thirty minutes instead of two plus hours? (sorry, cooking had to come in!)  Maybe it’s because we’ve never truly learned how to wait on the Lord.  The Bible talks about waiting on the Lord in Psalm 27:14, Isaiah 30:18 and 40:31 and Lamentations 3:26, among others.  In each of those verses, something is promised for those who wait on the Lord.  So, it sounds to me like waiting is a good thing, a valued thing in God’s eyes.  And we know that waiting takes patience, doesn’t it?  It is so much easier to just go ahead and do whatever needs to be done, or give up on something, than to wait on the Lord’s timing.  I’m saying this to you after I have said it to myself girls.  I have run ahead of God, I have given up on God, I have done it all.  And you know what?  The way I have “fixed” something was never exactly the way it should’ve been fixed.  I found  out later, that as a result of my impatience, something that could have been so wonderful either was just OK or an absolute failure.  I have learned through many battles and subsequent scars that it is best to wait on God, even when it looks like He isn’t showing up, or He doesn’t care, or He hasn’t heard my prayers.  Is it tough?  You bet.  Is it worth it when you see how He has worked out something that you just didn’t think would ever work?  Absolutely, positively, yes!  Patience is a gift, one that doesn’t just happen I think because we don’t let it happen. “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 NIV  Doesn’t that sound like something we could all use in our “hurry up, hurry up” world?

As for my chicken, well I am ready to put it in the oven.  My level of patience has increased, and my viewpoint on marinating has changed.  Now I will see that time that I am waiting as time to spend with God, time to work on things that matter, time to rest.  No more marinade-phobia for this chick!

And as a side note–this chicken was marvelous!

Before the cooking began, waiting in marinade…

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After the cooking is over–with some baby asparagus

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Want to try the recipe?  I got it from Allrecipes.com, a fantastic website.  Here’s the link:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/salt-and-vinegar-chicken/detail.aspx

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