I am embarrassed about something. But before the big reveal, the story…I grew up loving graham crackers. They bring back fond memories of Sunday school and campfires. I decided to make them from scratch; something I’ve been eager to do for awhile. So, I made sure all ingredients were in order and mixed the dough to let it rest overnight. I began to wonder what graham flour actually is. Embarrassing drumroll reveal…there is no such thing as a graham plant. I thought about how silly that sounded, but it’s true. All these years I thought it was a special grain. I had to find out what graham flour was and why it was named graham.
Well, graham flour is a form of whole wheat flour including all parts of the wheat berry (endosperm, bran and germ) and is a bit coarser grind than whole wheat flour. The endosperm is separated out and ground into a fine flour, then the coarse bran and germ are mixed back in. This type of flour was invented in the 1830s by Sylvester Graham, who tried to promote healthy food. Graham crackers are typically sweetened with honey. The version I made also includes molasses. When I removed the first batch from the oven, my glasses fogged up, so I was fairly certain they weren’t dry enough to create a nice crisp crunch when bitten into. So back into the oven they went.
Next embarrassing drumroll: my baked graham crackers came out so hard, a dog could have chipped a tooth (maybe that’s why they’re called “crackers”?). So, I enrobed each square in a thick layer of melted dark chocolate, thinking that might soften their rock-hard interior. Wrong again. I had to hold them in my mouth long enough for them to soften, but the chocolate sure tasted delicious!
Final attempt to save them: I used my chocolate chopper on the entire batch. It was a total body effort. At a mere one-quarter inch thick, the crackers were more difficult to chop than a three inch block of chocolate! I then poured milk over them, and after ten minutes I could eat them like a crunchy dessert cereal. Yes, I will try to make graham crackers again, but next time I’ll try soaking the graham flour in liquid overnight before baking. Maybe there’s a reason it’s called “stone ground”?
I am amazed at how much a good soaking does. When my soul is dry as dust and my interior is rock-hard, I know it’s time to be filled with God’s living water and breath of life. But I must make room for God and allow him in, or I will remain dry. As Ash Wednesday approaches, I am reminded of our frailty in that that we are all made of dust and to dust we will return. During this season of Lent, what might I say “no” to so that I can say “yes” to God?