Originally published in the News-Graphic in 2004.
“The proof is in the pudding.” Have you ever heard that little statement and wondered what it means? I found out exactly what the true meaning was this past week. I also was made aware of how it applied to certain life situations. Let me explain.
For the past few months I have been trying to lose a few of the excess pounds I have picked up over the years. In order to accomplish this I began helping Betsy with some of our meals. I have, indeed, become a cook. I must add, however, that I am not a very good one.
I’m real good with chicken noodle soup and not too bad with bacon and eggs. I even made my own recipe for chili this past Sunday. It wasn’t the best I ever had, but except for adding a little too much chili pepper and using tomato soup instead of tomato paste, it was all right.
My favorite desserts that I have learned to prepare are instant Jell-O and instant pudding, and that’s where the story begins.
You see, to make the instant Jell-O, you add four cups of water to a package of your favorite flavor, stir it up real good and put it in the refrigerator. That’s it. Sometimes I add a little cut-up fruit like bananas or strawberries, but that is only when I get real creative.
Pudding is a little different. Instead of adding water, you add milk, and this makes the difference.
I am always careful to read the directions each time I make these two desserts because I’m still learning this culinary art, but last week I got in a hurry. When I made the pudding, in my haste I got the directions mixed up and added water instead of milk.
I placed it in the refrigerator as usual and waited for it to set up. It looked great. And then it was time for my bedtime snack. It was evident something was wrong. It tasted terrible. My pride and my confidence were shaken.
Maybe it was just me.
“Betsy, try this and see what you think.”
“Are you sure you made this right? It’s not fit to eat,” she replied. “Maybe you had a bad mix.”
“Yeah, that’s it. I got hold of some bad mix. There is no way I could mess up something this simple.” At least that was what I thought.
It was about midnight when I woke up and began to think about the pudding one more time. A good cook like me surely didn’t mess up. Then a light flashed in my mind.
“It was the water. Now I remember: I put water in instead of milk.”
It was my favorite flavor, too: butterscotch. It looked great, but the proof was when I took that first taste. It was then I knew the proof truly was in the pudding.
There is a moral to this little story, but it is important. What is inside a person is what makes their character and not necessarily what you see on the outside.
You have often heard the saying “What you see is what you get.” That’s not always true.
A man was once asked about his character. His reply: “Find 10 people who truly know me. What they tell you will speak louder than anything you see.”
You see, the most important test of a person is that the person you know is really the person you know. The proof is in the pudding.
George Lusby is the former Scott County judge-executive. “The Best of Crawfish and Minnows,” is available at the News-Graphic office.