This post was written a year ago , on Ash Wednesday. I’m re-posting it today because, 1. it’s Ash Wednesday again (yayy!) and, 2. I’m kinda lazy. I did, however, add a few more thoughts at the end. So, read on…
As we begin the Lenten season, I’m faced once again with the dilemma of what to serve for dinner (oh, and that other thing, what to give up, and don’t just say, “Oh I’ll be nicer to people” – that’s a cop-out, though, admittedly, a nice idea).
Today is Ash Wednesday, which, along with Good Friday, are the two WORST days of Lent. I know, I know. It should be viewed as an opportunity to take a step back from the world by sacrificing in some way, and in doing so, bring us closer to God. Complaining about this Holy Season, it’s really hard to not sound like an irreverent and cynical person – exactly the type that needs Lent. I know. But, seriously, not only is today the official kick-off for this fun season of denial and deprivation, we Catholics also must abstain from meat on Fridays. Every Friday. And, for some reason, that almost always translates into frozen cheese pizza dinners in my house.
And the worst part of Ash Wednesday is that we have to fast, besides. In all fairness, fasting does not mean starvation, but rather, keeping our food intake to a maximum of two small meals (which together, would equal one meal) and one regular meal. So, it’s not really that difficult to abide by. I mean, it’s ONE DAY, for goodness sake (well, actually, counting Good Friday, it’s technically TWO DAYS). It’s just that, when you’re told you cannot have something, you just want it SO badly. Those of you who have ever dieted know what I’m talking about. Suddenly, Corn Flakes smell insanely good. It’s crazy. I’m willing to bet that even the most dedicated vegan, if told he, absolutely, under no circumstances, could not eat meat on Fridays, would find himself obsessing about McRib sandwiches.
But, I do struggle a little with the whole dinner thing. Breakfast is easy – cereal, eggs, toast. Lunch isn’t too hard – cereal, eggs, toast. But, dinner can be a little tricky. For one thing, I think I’d be lynched if I even suggested the breakfast/lunch options. For families like ours, though, which are unapologetically carnivorous (mainly because I don’t know how to make a substantial meal without meat), we’re in a real quandary. My usual meals are: the aforementioned cheese pizza, quiche (cleverly disguised eggs), and…that’s about it. Oh, I guess there’s always meatless spaghetti or frozen vegetable lasagna (Stouffer’s has a great one). So, that’s four meals. Help!! If you have any ideas, I’m all ears. Oh, and we don’t really do fish, so…yeeaaahhhh… no fish, please.
***My additional thoughts, promised in the opening of this post: I love the Gospel reading on Ash Wednesday. It reminds us to keep our sacrifices private. We don’t have to ann0unce to the world how devout we are. We shouldn’t make a show of our “holiness.” We are told to, when giving alms, do not blow a horn on the street. Wash your face, keep your appearance clean. We don’t have to show off about it – God knows our hearts. So, with that, Happy Lent and good luck with the whole food thing.***