Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for Habits


Have you ever stopped to think how many things you do simply because they have become a habit? Webster's Seventh Collegiate Dictionary defines habit as "the prevailing disposition or character of a person's thoughts and feelings: mental makeup; a usual manner of behavior: custom; a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic expose that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance; an acquired mode of behavior; or an addiction. It goes on and on but we get the picture. A habit is something that you do over and over again.

Habits can develop and continue without rhyme or reason sometimes. There are times we do things repeatedly without any understanding of why we do them. Case and point:

A young woman married her high school sweetheart. Fortunately she was an excellent cook and loved to cook. One of her newly acquired husband's favorite evening meal was roast beef, mashed potatoes, brown gravy, snapped green beans, buttered muffins, and pecan pie. As fortune would have it his new bride was a wizard when it came to his favorite foods. She knew how to cook them just to his expectant delight.

Everything Thursday evening was roast-beef night and mashed potatoes night. She would start early in the day so that the meal was just right when they both sat down to eat it. She would prepare and cook the roast beef the same way each Thursday to her husband's happy delight. She would pull out the roast beef pan, trim all four corners of the roast, apply the proper spices and place it all in the oven to cook at the right temperature.

As the roast beef was cooking she prepared the potatoes, gravy, and vegetables. She always baked on Tuesdays so she would have a wonderful slice of pecan pie for her husband as a tasty desert. Thus each Thursday dinner came, was immensely enjoyed, and heavily complimented by her adoring husband. This talented and endearing young lady would prepare the roast beef in the same manner each time in order to ensure it met with her husband's approval. Everything was the same each and every Thursday. Her habits and routines  gave her great comfort.

However, this Thursday was a little different. Her husband was able to finish his work at the office and come home early in the afternoon. This gave him an opportunity to watch how his loving wife prepared the delicious roast beef that he enjoyed every week. From a safe distance, having been forewarned by his sweet bride to stay out from under foot, he watched the preparation intently.

He watched as she selected the her favorite roasting pan. He watched as she carefully cut off and trimmed all four corners of the roast beef. He wondered about that and wisely kept his question to himself while she finished preparing the rest of the meal. Having his curiosity satisfied he sat down and read the evening paper while the roast slowly cooked. Having gotten home early he didn't realize how long it could take and all of the preparation that went into the delectable feast that his adoring wife prepared every Thursday for him.

Finally, the dinner was ready and placed on the table. After the giving of thanks for God's goodness and as he tasted that first bite he couldn't contain his curiosity any longer. He began, " Much thanks to you my dearest, this roast is as succulent and delicious as all the other roasts you have cooked for me. But, I am wondering about something? Why did you cut off the four corners of the roast?" She looked at her husband and thought deeply for a moment and replied, "Well, Darling, I don't know." "Do you do it each time you cook a roast for us," he asked. She thought again for a moment and said to him, "Why yes,each time I cook a roast I cut off the four corners." "You don't know why," he asked again? "No, I don't know why. Other than as a little girl I watched my mother cut off the four corners each and every time she cooked a roast for us." She said to her husband, "since we are finished, let's go visit my mother and ask her why she cut off each corner."

So, they got in their adorable Buick Century and after securing Fi Fi their miniature poodle safely in the back, they drove over to her mothers home. Fortunately mom was home that night and was delighted to see have her daughter and son-in law to come calling. After all the greetings and pleasantries were exchanged, mother asked them what was the occasion of their visit.

"Well," her daughter began, "When I was a little girl I watched you cut off the four corners of the roast beef every time you cooked it for us. Now I find that I do the same thing each time I cook one for my husband and myself. He asked me why I cut off each corner just before I cooked the roast beef. And Mother, I don't know why I do that other than I watched you as a little girl do it too. So, why did you cut off the four corners of your roast beef each time you cooked one?"

Mother replied, "Daughter, now that you ask me, I don't know why I cut off all four corners of the roast beef before I cook it either. I remember seeing my mother do it each time she prepared roast beef for her family." Let's call your grandmother and ask her why she did such a thing." So, they quickly picked up the phone and called grandmother and asked her the question that no one could answer. "Grandmother, why did you cut off the four corners of the roast beef as you prepared it for cooking," they asked.

"Honey, darling," said the grandmother, "I cut off the four corners of the roast beef because the roast was always to big to fit in the only roasting pan I had. I just made it fit the pan, that's all."

Why did two generations of cooks do the same thing?

What cooking habits do you do religiously?

What do you do out of "habit" that you don't know why you do it?


Ma said...

Cute story!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Excellent story Gregg.

Have a great sweek-end


Anonymous said...

Great story Gregg

I have so many ruts and routines (habits) i could right a book! When something works for me...I stick with it. Although I do try to break "bad" habits that border on additions. Example: a few years ago I made a conscious decision to change my eating habits. So far so good :-)

Have a great weekend :-)

Jan said...

I know that story and it has made to be mindful of what I do.

Nicki Elson said...

Oh haha, that story was not what I expected---but still thought provoking and adorably told. :)

Well, it sure does look like my husband married the wrong girl. Succulent toast beef & potatoes every Thursday and no questions asked. I think it's funny that she, and her mother before her, never asked why. Life might be easier if I could learn to trust so blindly...but think of all the beef I'd waste!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Thank you Gregg for leaving a comment.


Grammy said...

Hi, Gregg, thanks for reminding me of that humorous story! it does show us how many things we do out of habit, for which we have no real explanation. I am sure I must have some habits like that, although right now, I can't think of a single one. Ha.
Thank you for stopping by my post the other day, and i hope you'll be back.Ruby

Jennee said...

Great story! Habits are both good and bad!

Nate Wilson said...

The only cooking habit I do religiously is turn my roast to face Mecca before I slice it. :)

As to what I do out of habit without reason, I'll have to ask my wife about that one. Whatever it is, I'm sure I don't even notice I do it.

Great story. Gregg.

Penned Pebbles said...

Cute and clever post! And the moral of the story is? Always ask grandma first. :-) Blessings!

jan said...

There are some people we simply trust to do things, of course, we want to follow their example. Without question.

N. R. Williams said...

I read that if you practice something for 30 days you can make that something, like reading the Bible, into a habit. Good example of human behavior.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

anthony stemke said...

A very entertaining story.

Brianna said...

Very funny, Gregg!
I'm hoping the challenge gets me in the habit of writing every day.

~Rasz~ said...

Great me thinking.

Brian Ray Todd said...

I have good and bad habits. SOme I don't even notice that I'm doing them, but it is my prayer that I develope godly habits always. Good habits in myself for the Lord's glory and my growth as a Child of God. More of Thee and less of me. I want to please the Lord.

The Writing Goddess said...

Hi Gregg - fellow A-Z blogger here, came through the link on Arlee Bird's page.

I've heard this same story, in other variations, from other sources, but you tell it very well. You've got some good posts here, and if my religious beliefs were more in line with yours, I would be a definite follower.

I wish you all the best in your continued blogging.

Eve said...

Hahahahaahha! Awesome story Gregg! I thought it was gonna be something like they saved the corners for the old lady across the road or something..this is even better! lol! :)

Heather Henry said...

Great story, I love it!
I don't know about what cooking habits I do religiously, I try to keep my surfaces clean as I go.
I am in the habit of procrastinating, I am really good at it to. I am working on changing it though! It's tough to do, I've been good at it for so long. :D
Great post!! :)

Seams Inspired said...

Monkey-see, monkey-do! LOL

Hmm...My Mom and Grandma always talked about the 'art' of getting each dish ready to put on the table at the same time. They would talk out the order of preparing each dish. I do that too. :o)

Great post! Happy Sunday! :o)

Trisha said...

I've always thought this was such a funny story....and so true, too! :)

How wonderful that you get to visit with Diane and her husband next weekend! God bless your time together!