Just When I Thought I was Good at This

Sit right back and hear the tale of my epic team dinner kitchen fail.

The recipe goes like this: a hungry youth group, a spaghetti dinner routine I’ve run at least a dozen times a year for the last 4, the ever-changing landscape of a team cabin kitchen, and, for texture, my habitual time crunch.  Pot on open flame.  Tomato paste, water, cornstarch, chicken bullion, sugar, whisk.  Taste.

Eyes grow wide.  Houston, we have a problem.  Salty like the sea.  How?

Stay calm.  You can fix it.  Add the meat to absorb flavor.  More water, cornstarch, sugar.  Whisk.  Taste.


Don’t panic.  Maybe the chicken bullion just finished dissolving and this new container was more potent than before.  You can outrun it.  No other choice.  Nothing to start over with.  Hungry eighth graders milling around.  Don’t show fear.  They might escalate to feeding frenzy.  Move forward.

Seasonings might help.  Shake in basil, oregano, black pepper.  More water, cornstarch, sugar.  Whisk.

Dear, Lord.  It’s. Not. Getting. Better.  Are my taste buds going numb?  What is going on?  Don’t say that bad word in your brain out loud.

More water, cornstarch, sugar.




Why is the sugar in this jar so white?  Could this be. . . ?



Hurriedly scoop last spoonful of “sugar” out of the pot and toss it.  Brain whirling.  Salt in the cabin always comes in a big shaker.  Sugar lives safe from ants in a peanut butter jar.  The last team must have put a bag of salt in a jar just like the one for sugar.  Oh, look.  The jar actually labeled “Sugar” is sitting right there on top of the microwave.

I had mistakenly added salt, salt, and more salt to balance out the salt in the sauce!

alcohol background bar beer

Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

Dumping in genuine sugar, progress started.  The team got a spaghetti dinner with the punch of a Pringles can.  We laughed that it was more of a pasta dipping sauce than a marinara.  Everyone was fed.  And gracious.  But I had still messed up something I can normally do by heart.  It burned a bit, like the salinity in my mouth.

If revenge is a dish best served cold, humility apparently goes well with salt.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:8 NIV

Have you ever found yourself making a big mistake on your own home turf?  I would love to hear about it below.


  1. ‘Hungry eighth graders milling around. Don’t show fear. They might escalate to feeding frenzy.’

    That CRACKED me up! Last year, when we were there with that big ol’ team of 8th graders, I jokingly told the other parents that we needed to keep the masses happy, lest they form a coup and overthrow us. We were outnumbered. By a LOT. ☺ By the grace of God alone, we all made it home alive and in one piece. Teens are not for the faint of heart.

    Olivia still says that the delicious food you prepared for us was some of the best she’s ever eaten. And she begs to return to CR weekly. I kid you not. It’s literally ever week that she begs – BEGS – to return as soon as humanly possible and cuddle those babies amid those vivid green landscapes and tropical birds. You helped to endure a whole country to her heart, by making it feel like home. It’s no accident that Father made the Last Supper a supper, right? We’re designed to connect with food and through food. You’re doing great, great work there, my friend.

    All my love,

    Mande Saitta
    Ministry Assistant-Equip
    Lifegate Church
    Direct: (402) 905-3375

    CliftonStrengths: Woo | Input | Positivity | Achiever | Communication

  2. So in my newlywed days I was making beef stroganoff and was out of sour cream, so I substituted a can of cream of mushroom soup. NOT AN EQUIVALENT! The resulting grey-brown, mucilaginous concoction was affectionately christened “cat-barf soup” by our dinner guest!

  3. I get you! I’m there myself ☺️
    Paridera God for his special ways to teach us how to be humble. Thank you for sharing.

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