If you have spoken to me since April, you’ve probably heard me say a few things:
1. Covid is stupid.* (Please do not take this as a political statement. It’s my coping strategy. Extroverts need the world.)
2. I’ve enjoyed the extra time with my family.
3. I love my air fryer.
I have become pretty good at bringing up my air fryer in random conversations:
“Did you watch that new show on Netflix?”
“No, I watched Pioneer Woman then tried to figure out how I could air fry her chicken and dumplings.”
“Do you like the color red?”
“Why yes I do! My gigantic air fryer that you could literally cook an entire chicken in (and probably the sides too) is red. It adds a nice, non-subtle pop of color to my kitchen.”
And perhaps my favorite question: “What do you even cook in an air fryer?”
“Everything. Well, except soup. And maybe chicken and dumplings.”
If you know me at all, you know “food blogger” does not appear on my resume. You can ask my husband—and several of my friends for that matter—cooking is not my forte. Yusuph may still need counseling regarding the super thin skirt steak I attempted to cook on my George Forman grill. The Whataburger that night tasted delicious.
But, my air fryer has literally changed my life. No, I’m not selling one. But maybe it could change yours too.
Track with me here. I grew up never cooking. My mom was a good cook, so as an obliging daughter I allowed her to cook all my meals (thanks, Mom!). In college, I lived with several roommates, many of whom enjoyed cooking and were quite good at it. So, we struck up a deal: you can cook using my food if I can eat it when you’re done. Again, no cooking necessary.
Fast forward several years. I fell in love with a dark, handsome stranger on the other side of the world and we pledged our lives to one another. He grew up in a culture where the women learn to cook from the time they toddle. A toddler could whip up a meal better than I could. My poor husband had quite the shock—not only did he marry an opinionated, independent American woman, but he married one who had ZERO cooking experience. Oy vey!
In my romantic, idealized view of early married life, I envisioned us enjoying delectable repasts accompanied by a soft glow of a flickering candle. Too bad reality came barreling through.
As I began cooking for the two of us, I quickly concluded: I can’t cook. I burn things. I overestimate my abilities and underestimate the difficulty level of recipes. I watch things like The Pioneer Woman, thinking, “That doesn’t look too hard,” only to attempt and have an anxiety attack over the fact that my sauce does not look as thick as hers (or the same color for that matter). With each ruined recipe, the self-limiting box grew smaller and smaller, eventually feeling like a coffin of failure.
I told my husband earlier this year, “I don’t think the boys will ever have a favorite, home-cooked meal.” I felt defeated, and I knew with certainty the dream of being a mom whose family loved her cooking would never come true.
And then the air fryer waltzed into my life and swept me off my feet.
My parents gave me the air fryer for my birthday in April (and by “gave” I mean I sent my mom the exact link and she had it shipped directly to my house). Every single day for over a month, I air fried something. Bacon? Delicious and easy. Chicken? Fast and juicy. Muffins? Cute and yummy. Veggies? Crispy and quick. Wings? Life changing. If it couldn’t be air fried, it wasn’t on our menu.
And you know what happened? Each new recipe I tried was good. My family, picky toddler included, ate what I made without complaining (though there were some initial upturned noses). After making a handful of recipes a few times, I started to branch out and try new flavors. I used such spices as “garam masala” and diced my first-ever fresh jalapeño. I started branching out and trying new recipes, with or without the air fryer. And then I realized: my air fryer transformed me.
What started out as an “innocent” belief that “I can’t cook” had turned into a self-limiting lie that chained me to a lifetime of boxed potatoes and take-out menus.
And I wonder: In what areas of your life are you walking with a self-limiting belief attached like a ball and chain? In what other areas of my life am I allowing lies to define me?
I’ve been slowly reading through Romans 8. And by slowly, I mean in two weeks I haven’t even made it beyond verses 1-2:
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.”Romans 8:1-2
There is no condemnation. Those lies that keep being whispered in your head—“You’re a horrible cook.” “You’re a bad mom.” “You’re a dull wife.”—call them what they are. They are lies, meant to keep you feeling stuck and helpless. Are there things we can do to improve ourselves and our relationships? Absolutely. I don’t just magically become a better cook; it requires effort on my part. But we do those things out of a place of freedom, not from a place of condemnation. For believers, the promises we have in Christ are there for us now, not once we feel adequate enough. And when we see God working in our life, we grow more and more confident that He is working and will continue to work.
Like my Christian walk, learning to cook does not eliminate mistakes (I’m still apologizing for a casserole I made for Super Bowl 2020; though now that I think about it, that was pre life-changing air fryer). As a Christian, though we are not condemned, we still make mistakes and repent. However, walking in freedom means those mistakes don’t become lies that define us. The mistakes become beacons of grace, evidence that God does indeed redeem our mess-ups.
So move forward and break out of the box you’ve created for yourself. Don’t stay captive to the lies—no matter how dumb or insignificant they may seem. And if you need a jump start, I know a good air fryer you can purchase.