“Where do you want me to put this this lemon crud?” I turned around to see Coleman taking groceries out of the sack and saw him holding the jar of lemon CURD. I chose rolling my eyes over correcting him and told him to put it in the cabinet. 

I don’t particularly like lemon. But I like Trader Joe’s. I like trying new things from there, it seems to be the whole point of the quirky food store.  I’m a TJ’s groupie, no shame in that. If I’m in a town that has a Trader Joe’s, I add it to my GPS and indulge. The result is always a sack of the fan favorite: cookie butter and butter waffle cookies… and another sack of treats for a taste fest. I grab a handful of crazy combos, spread them out in the teachers’ lounge at lunch, and we begin… there’s always something that is so delicious it just makes you mad. Because once it’s gone, it’s gone. Until someone goes out of state and lands near a Trader Joe’s. 

Finally they put one of those organic crack dealers in Arkansas. I hit it up and saw the lemon curd and it turned out to be a hit. A big hit. We topped pomegranate cashew crackers with some honey goat cheese and the lemon curd and we were in TJ treat heaven. So I got some more.

This morning, I treated myself to some Trader Joe’s. I grabbed a cracker, dolloped the curd, sprinkled the goat cheese, chomped it down and started building my next one and… oh crud. I put the spoon back in the curd. I read the ingredients for the crackers and sure enough, the “may contain peanuts” warning was staring me in the face. 

Cross contamination is a landmine for food allergy sufferers. “May contain” isn’t a suggestion that you take your chances, it’s a warning that you may be in a life threatening situation if you eat it. I had to assume the spoon had peanut protein on it and that I had transferred peanut to the lemon curd, which made it a jar of forbidden food for Coleman. I turned the curd into crud. 

It happens. I caught it and I made my own warning label… the old “do not touch” post it. He won’t eat it. He’ll be safe. But I turned the curd into crud. 

I’ve cross contaminated before. Not just lemon curd. I’ve cross contaminated a righteous spirit. I’ve listened to an ugly rumor and brought it to another person and their thoughts were contaminated. I’ve brought a foul mood from home and shown zero compassion for my students because I was contaminated with grumpiness.

I’m thankful for the Trader Joe’s lemon curd. It reminds me of the purity we become in the eyes of God through the Holy Spirit. I’m thankful for the warnings on the label and on my note. They remind my that this is not a guessing game and a warning is often given with a life saving intent. 

What has turned your curd to crud? Spite? Neglect? Dishonesty? I would like to give you a warning label that will keep you safe in the arms of your Savior. It’s not harsh and punishing, it’s God’s love. 

“the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” Romans 8:21

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