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Wishing My Oven a Very Merry Christmas

Pizza on the stove top.
Pizza on the stove top.
All I wanted for Christmas this year was an oven that works.

It may not look like much, but believe me, my oven is quite a character with quite a history. Some friends of ours bought it for us way back when we still lived in America and way back when I thought cooking from scratch was heating up a frozen lasagna from Wal-Mart.

It’s a special oven, in that it uses gas and has a gas-ignited pilot light. I didn’t even know what all those words meant back when we stuck it in a crate heading to Indonesia. All I knew is that some MAF missionaries told me you couldn’t buy ovens here, and to make sure and find one that uses no electricity and wait, what? No electricity? Yeah, that really scared me way back then when I was convinced I’d never make it over here.

No pretty, but pretty tasty sugar cookies on the stove top.
No pretty, but pretty tasty sugar cookies on the stove top.
I unpacked my oven nine years ago, just about the time I was learning to cook (from real, real scratch), and learning so many other things about living overseas, including the fact that I was “making it” even if most days “making it” looked more like “sweating” and sometimes “crying” and often times “making a big ol’ mess.”

Eric loved the sugar cookies.
Eric loved the sugar cookies.
My oven has gone through some hard times, too. There was the Christmas when a humongous rat took up residence inside of it. And then recently, it stopped working. We ordered an expensive replacement part from the States and had it hand-carried to another Indonesian island, where it was passed into the hands of our friend, who then hand-carried it to us.
It worked. I rejoiced. Our family ate well. And then…

My oven stopped working again. Then started. Then stopped, then started, then stopped once and for all. Eight months later and a replacement part for the replacement part sent in a package, and wah lah. I got what I wanted for Christmas.

But by then, I’d learned to make many stove-top (which still worked) variations of basic meals—pizza, lasagna, sugar cookies. None of it was pretty. But I like to say my cooking, like most things I do, is done with a lot of heart.

And sweat.

And sometimes tears.

And a pinch of “making it.”

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