I enjoy hosting. Hospitality usually ranks pretty high on those giftings tests. I’m definitely not the Hostess with the hostess, but I like having people in my home, serving them, and making them feel comfortable.
In the past (pre-kids), I would have everything tidied up, snacks or a meal prepared and ready to go. I liked to be ready early so I could enjoy our company instead of having to scramble around, still getting ready, as they’re walking in the door.
With each kid (we’re up to 3 now), I’ve had to let a little bit of that preparedness go.
It wasn’t so bad at first, so it didn’t phase me much. With our second, it was a little harder, but I could still manage. Now with three, I feel like if I’m dressed (forget hair and make-up most of the time), I check that as a “win.”
Unlike our other living situations, where we currently live, we have a lot of visitors. Out-of-towners, neighbors, teachers, students, co-workers, and bosses can and do show up at our door at any given moment. A good portion of the time, unannounced.
One part of me loves the spontaneity of a visitor! I love people, and if they’re coming to engage in conversation about something more than when the next snack time is, I’m all ears!
The other part of me is not such a big fan. Couldn’t they have given me at least a 5-minute warning to allow me to change out of my pajamas (hello, I’m a stay-at-home-mama!), bark at the boys to grab as many toys as possible to take back to their room, and clear a space on the couch for them to sit??
I used to be so embarrassed when people would walk into my world of chaos. Sometimes I would just hover in the doorway, waiting to see if they really wanted to come in or if I could just take care of what they needed right there, in the safety of the doorway.
Recently, I’ve been learning to let it all go. I’m facing the facts. Sure, I’d love to have a magazine-worthy home at all times. But who really has that?! Especially overseas! I have 3 youngsters and a lot of other things on my plate.
Now, when I hear a knock on the door, I don’t panic and wonder which task I should do before opening it. Instead, I just look around, chuckle and cringe, then accept it for what it is. And you know what? No one on the other side of the door has ever criticized me for my chaotic home. (Now, maybe they think it, but I live in a culture that saves face, so I lucked out there!)
As I think more about my tendency to resist sudden changes and desire to control, I can’t think of anything else but pride.
Why am I embarrassed about the state of my home? Because I want people to think I’ve got it all together. Pride.
Why am I frustrated that I didn’t get a warning they were coming over? Because I want to control what happens next. Pride.
Why do I put so much weight on what others think? Because I want to please others. Pride.
It’s been a long, slow process. One which God has had to hit the repeat button many times. I’m finally starting to grasp it a little.
You’re warmly welcome to my home! Just don’t be too surprised if you have to move the toys and books out of the way to find a seat, or if I ask you to help me chop some veggies while I help the crying babe.
The main protein we eat here is chicken, so 80% of the meals I make use the clucker. However, due to reasons I don’t (want to) know, the chicken here is tough. Like, inedibly tough. My boys are pretty good at trying new foods. But tough meat? Never. You know the face…wad of meat in their mouth, and they’re gagging and begging with eyes half-full of tears to let them spit it out. I let them, every time. One, because I was that kid too. Two, because I’m having a hard time myself chewing it, but instead of wasting the dish that just took me over an hour to make, I just swallow the chunks half-chewed. Not a good idea for this girl who has choked twice, Heimlich performed and all. I digress.
All this to say, if you have tough meat where you live, I’ve found the secret to making it oh-so-tender!
It finally dawned on me, after having a helper for 5 years, that them adding potato starch to the bits of chicken before they cooked it worked like magic.
Yep. Potato starch. So simple, right? The research behind it is that it simply helps break down the proteins in the meat, making it more tender. Or, in our case, edible.
Today, while our helper prepared lunch, I snapped this pic. She adds an egg to her mixture. I do not and can’t tell a difference. Your choice!
Let the potato starch work its magic for a bit! Doesn’t it already look more tender?!
Slice, dice, or chop your chicken into desired pieces.
Add roughly 2 tsp per pound of chicken, along with a splash of water. Mix well.
Allow to sit at least 15 minutes before cooking. Stir fry, saute, or cook as normal.
*I have tried cornstarch as well. While not quite as tender as the magical potato starch, it still works. Perhaps just let it marinate a bit longer.
**I have not tried this with other meats, but I think it would work the same. Let us know in the comments below if you try something else and it works!
Have you had to let anything go since moving overseas? What has God taught you from it?