Real Cooking

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CHERYL JOST
I was sitting at a table engaged in an activity with some elementary school students when my fellow para-educator, Carol Pantle, entered the room.

As she passed by, she caught my eye and, nodding toward the bank of windows we both were facing, asked in a calm yet urgent voice, “Are you keeping an eye on that?”

“Sure,” I answered somewhat hesitantly, glancing toward the one window that I had a clear view of and not fully understanding why she seemed so concerned by a few puffy, light gray clouds that were now coming into my line of sight.

If I had had the time, I would have asked her then and there to explain herself, but the kids needed my attention. The explanation would have to wait until we had a break, I thought to myself.

But the answer came sooner than I had anticipated. In a matter of minutes, the lighting in the room noticeably changed. I looked up from my work and my eyes immediately went to the window. Dark, menacing clouds had erased the blue sky.

It was time for the kids to leave and I sent them on their way hoping they wouldn’t notice the storm that was brewing outside. I quickly gathered my books and papers and walked around the panel that divides the room and joined Carol at our desks by the windows.

Now I had a full field of vision, the one that Carol had when she had entered the room a few minutes earlier. She had seen the developing dark clouds rushing in and had been alerted to a possibly dangerous situation.

From her vantage point, she was well aware that a turbulent storm was on its way in all of its springtime fury.

Carol had seen the big picture. While I, on the other hand, had only a narrow view of the situation. I only saw through the one pane of glass that was before me in my line of sight, while Carol had the advantage of seeing through all five windows. Yes, Carol had seen the big picture.

We laughed as I explained how surprised I was when I had finally understood what she had known all along.

“Isn’t this like life?” I said. “Sometimes we only see just a portion of the whole. We only see the part of a situation that’s right in front of us; what is most pressing or most important to us at a given moment in time. We dismiss the warnings signs and we disregard how our actions might affect others or what the consequences or long term effects might be.

“From our narrow vantage point, everything is hunky dory, we’re doing what we think is right and good. But if we were able to see the entire picture, we might make totally different choices. It’s unfortunate that we allow our tunnel vision to blind us from seeing every aspect.”

“This is how God must view the world,” Carol responded. “He sees it all in its entirety…from beginning to end.”

For a few moments, we stood there and searched the sky for signs of funnel clouds, noting the swirling patterns that the wind was making in the heavens above. Soon the rain began to fall and more students entered the classroom. Our lovely moment of quiet speculation was over.

* * *

In a prior column, I wrote about my co-worker Judy giving me fits about loosely using the word hillbilly in a column I had written prior to that one.

Now I’m getting ribbed by Judy for spelling her last name incorrectly. It’s Prior, not Pryor. Please forgive the Pryor in the prior column. OK?

And speaking of prior columns, sometime back I included an asparagus salad recipe that called for using watercress. At the time, I made the comment that watercress would be impossible to find in Marion County. Well, I was wrong.

Shortly after that column ran, I received a lovely e-mail from Patsy Waner telling me how she and her husband would routinely go to a site near Florence to harvest watercress that grew in the wild.

I never knew such a place existed. Thanks Patsy, I’m always glad to hear from my readers.

* * *

Last Thursday, parents and students of the seventh-grade class honored the staff at the middle school by bringing refreshments for Teacher Appreciation Week.

Since I’m on site council, I went in to help clean up at day’s end. Several staff asked if I could get the recipe for the delicious bars Kathy Woelk contributed. Kathy was gracious enough to share the recipe that she had found on the Internet at www.allrecipes. com.

Kathy contributed the bars marked No. 1, but I included a second, similar recipe as well.

Butterfinger Bars (No. 1)

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup white corn syrup

1 (18 oz.) jar crunchy peanut butter

3 cups cornflakes

2 cups milk chocolate chips

Heat sugar and syrup together in a heavy pan until boiling. Add peanut butter. Mix well until blended. Pour over corn flakes, stirring to coat well. Press into a 9×13-inch pan. Melt chocolate chips and spread over peanut butter layer. Chill for 20 to 25 minutes. Cut into bars.

Butterfinger Bars (No. 2)

4 cups oatmeal

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup butter, melted

1 cup milk chocolate chips

3/4 cups peanut butter

Mix together the oatmeal and both sugars. Stir in the melted butter until well blended. Pat the mixture evenly into the bottom of a greased 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until toasted. In the microwave or in a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together, stirring until smooth. Spread over baked crust. Cool completely before cutting.

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