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Acquiring the Taste

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” -Psalm 34:8

Bringing four pre-teen/teenage girls into our home has, naturally, required a lot of adjustments from everyone. Because my husband and I eat gluten- and soy- and mostly dairy-free and the girls have never known such a thing, food has been one of our family’s biggest challenges. Two or three nights a week, I actually cook two different meals. For now. I’m always on the lookout for healthy recipes the girls will eat. Eventually, I’ll have a cooking repertoire that suits everyone most of the time.

In the meantime, we’ve started talking with the girls about acquiring tastes. My husband and I have had to master this skill. Let me amend that. Mike has always been an adventurous eater. I’m the one who had to learn (as I developed a few food intolerances) that there is more to life than hamburgers and French fries, grilled cheese sandwiches, and macaroni and cheese. Moving from place to place required some food experiments, too. And every time we visit our son and daughter-in-law they introduce us to a new food. Thanks to Bridget we now enjoy foods like quinoa and spaghetti squash. I learned the recipes using these that she served us, then scoured Pinterest for more. Just as Mike and I have acquired these tastes, we’re gently coaxing the girls to at least try to do the same.

Just as we’re encouraging our daughters to taste and see that different foods are good, God invites us to taste and see that He is good. Psalm 34:8 is one of those verses that is so familiar, we tend to take it for granted. I’ve always seen it as an invitation to those who don’t know Him yet. As we were having our acquiring tastes discussion with the girls, though, I started to see it differently. God isn’t always an easy taste to acquire, and, though He never changes (Hebrews 13:8), the better we get to know Him, the more intense His unique blend of flavors becomes. He is always challenging the comfort of our palate; with Him, we must be adventurous.

This is especially true whenever we are tempted to doubt His goodness. Perhaps we’ve known Him for years, believing that He is good. Then something painful that we just can’t understand happens, and we wonder how a good God, a God Who loves us could allow such a thing to happen. This is when we must taste and see that He is good. This is when we choose to trust—like Habakkuk did, like Job, like Old Testament Joseph, like Mary the Mother of Jesus, like Paul, like Corrie ten Boom, like Catherine Marshall, like Mother Teresa, and more recently like Stephen Curtis and MaryBeth Chapman, Carol Kent, Ann Voskamp, and Katie Davis Majors. All of these (and so many more) have testified of experiencing challenges, hardship, trauma, and loss, yet, instead of walking away, they clung to Christ. They tasted and found that He is good. At least one even expressed her belief that someday she’ll look back over all she’s been through, thank God for it, and tell Him that she wouldn’t change a thing.

This view of the beginning of Psalm 34:8 connects it more logically to its second half: blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. As we walk with God, getting to know Him more fully and learning to trust Him more, sometimes the tastes will be sweet, sometimes bitter, rich, tart, acidic—you get the idea. But when we choose to take refuge in Him and determine to acquire the taste, we’ll live in the knowledge that He is good, and our lives will be blessed—no matter what.

Father, thank You for loving us enough to challenge our palate, so that we can gain a deeper, richer, fuller knowledge of You. Sometimes this is painful, but it always confirms that You are indeed very good. Teach us to walk in confident trust—for our good and Your glory. We love You! Amen.

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Gluten, Soy, Dairy-Free Lemon Loaf Recipe

I know. This isn’t a cooking blog. But I am just so excited—and surprised—this recipe worked!

A few months ago, someone posted the “top secret” recipe for a certain, popular coffee shop’s lemon loaf. I’ve never tried that particular item, but it sounded good. I just had to make a few modifications, so my version would be gluten, soy, and dairy-free. I’m learning, slowly, that this is not as daunting as it sounds! I just had to do a little bit of research to figure out what ingredients work together under specific conditions in order to produce the desired result.

This was the desired result!

Lemon Loaf

Here’s the recipe:

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 ½ cups rice flour
¾ tsp flax seed
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup canola oil

And for the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350. Blend the first six ingredients together using a mixer. Add the next five ingredients. Mix well. Stir in the canola oil.

Pour the batter into a well-greased 9×5 loaf pan, making sure whatever you use to coat the pan is gluten, soy, and dairy-free. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the glaze. While the lemon loaf is still a little bit warm, drizzle the glaze over the top. Let the glaze set before serving this treat.