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Learn from my mistakes, and red food coloring

Emails can be full of all sorts of information, and recipes are one of my favorite. When the recipe along with a bigger than life picture of a red velvet cake came across my screen recently, I couldn’t resist. It would be my first attempt at this variety, but the tantalizing picture was too great a temptation.

I purchased the ingredients and scheduled the bake later in the week. However, it worked out that an extra appointment popped up on my calendar for that afternoon. That prompted me to dress for the appointment instead of the kitchen. I told myself that’s the reason for aprons.

A crème top and dress khakis were my cooking attire as I began selecting ingredients from the cabinet. As I pulled the apron over my head, I breathed a quick prayer for the Lord to help me keep the batter in the bowl and off my clothing.

The recipe wasn’t complicated, so the preparation was running smoothing until . . . I grew careless and a bit sloppy. After measuring a tablespoon of red food coloring, I failed to toss the ring of measuring spoons in the sink. Instead, the tablespoon sat near the edge of the counter, still holding small droplets of food coloring and waiting for me to bump it which I did.

The spoons bounced on the floor near my feet, and I gasped in disbelief. I was familiar with the concentration of red food coloring.

My shoes escaped the spattering but not my slacks. The apron was spotless, but my right sleeve — the swiping sleeve — had several small, red spots.

My slacks had matching small dots from the knee down but only on my right leg. The stain might turn to concrete if left alone, so I grabbed a cloth and turned on the hot water.

A squirt of soap on the wet cloth would help, and I began scrubbing. The spots weren’t set, but now they were spreading. I enlarged my scrubbing circle, and my right ankle area was now a soft pink.

I turned my attention to my sleeve. It, too, was spotted with only a few small drops, but they looked neon against the crème sleeve. With a disgust for red velvet cake and a disappointment in my prayer power, I went to my closet to find another change of clothes.

The red stains came out after a machine cycle, and I finished the cake. Were there lessons I learned in this episode? Absolutely.

1) Don’t ever make red velvet cake in dress clothes.

2) Sins may appear very small, but they can spoil entire lives. When we try to “fix them or water them down, we only spread them. Only God can cleanse sin.

3) When God doesn’t answer our prayers, he has a bigger lesson to teach us. I would have missed a very plain but powerful lesson on sin if I hadn’t created a mess. And . . .

4) I am totally done with baking red velvet cakes.

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to