Master Thomas eased near the door of the summer kitchen. He could hear Izzy, the family cook and house maid singing softly one of her favorite spirituals. "I wants to go where Moses trod, O de dying Lamb! For Moses gone to de promised land, O de dying Lamb! To drink from springs dat never run dry, O de dying Lamb!”
Normally, this was one of Thomas’ favorites too, but today he was bored and decided it was time to stir things up a bit. As he burst through the door he shouted, “Izzy, stop that confounded singing and come out here and play with me”.
Barely frazzled by Thomas’ outburst, Izzy calmly turned and responded with a tone of calm confidence that immediately put Thomas in his place. She said “Now Masser Thomas, you knows I gots ta finish up this lunch for yo family. Yo father done give me direct orders ta have this here lunch on de table at 12 o’clock sharp or there would be some kinda trouble.”
Of course Thomas was not about to take no for an answer. He shot back with his customary tirade. “Izzy, my Paw also told you to obey me. You are just a dumb slave and even though I’m only ten years old, you are supposed to do what I say. Now come on outside and play with me or I’ll have you whipped.”
Izzy quickly turned away to keep Master Thomas from seeing her big toothed grin. She couldn’t remember how many times he had made that same threat and not one of them had become reality. She quickly changed the subject by inviting him to help her prepare the meal.
“Masser Thomas, why don’t you hesh up a bit and come over here and stir this big pot of chicken and dumplins fo me. You know how your father hates it when I burn de dumplins” Izzy said boldly.
Thomas was easily distracted and quickly came over to do what Izzy had suggested. He grabbed a big wooden spoon and began to ferociously stir the contents of the big pot.
“Now slow down Masser Thomas”, Izzy said. “This is not a pot of laundry. You’ve got ta be careful with dumplins or you will turn them into mush.”
Thomas did as he was told and began to stir the pot slowly. “Why Masser Thomas, I think Jesus is gonna make you one fine cook some day,” Izzy said with a smile. “As a matter of fact, I think Jesus has something great in store for a fine young man like yourself.”
“How can you be so sure” Thomas asked.
“Well, Masser Thomas” Izzy replied, “because He done promised. And my Jesus He don’t break His promises.”
As the cooking lesson continued, Izzy began to sing her song again and Thomas joined in. It seemed as though a life lesson and a cooking lesson were being taught in the same kitchen.
15 years later.
“Chef Thomas, where on earth did you learn to prepare such fine Southern cuisine?” the elegant Southern Belle asked. “Why, I haven’t had such perfect chicken and dumplings since I was a little girl.”
“Thank you kindly” Thomas replied. “I had a great teacher who taught me a little about cooking and a lot about life.”
As Chef Thomas returned to his kitchen he began to sing "I wants to go where Moses trod, O de dying Lamb! For Moses gone to de promised land, O de dying Lamb! To drink from springs dat never run dry, O de dying Lamb!”
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