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Sunday, February 14, 2021

Menu Plan: Quinquagesima, Mardi Gras, and Ash Wednesday

Snow day

With the snow and road conditions, it is looking like we will be missing church. It was supposed to stop snowing three hours ago, and it is still going strong. Our roads are some of the last plowed, and church is on a hilly stretch of road from here, as well as down hill from town.

What a week we have! This is the fiftieth day before the Paschal feast for us in the West, that's what that big name up there means. The past two weeks were also part of our pre-Lenten season, so we actually overlapped our Christmas and Lenten observance this year. That they exist points to the validity of the Eastern practice of meatfare and cheesefare, the counting down to Lent, and preparatory season of giving up parts of our diet, little by little, rather than all at once. It also teaches those of us in the West that the practice of giving up not only meat, but fish, dairy, eggs, wine, and oil, are part of the earlier practice of the Church. Even the shrivening of milk, butter, oil and eggs in pancakes or doughnuts that are a common meal for Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras) indicates that practice to us.

Our family still has people in it who are not required to keep the whole fast, and so we make allowances and don't keep the strictest fast. If we are with those who do not know better and are serving us food, we try to keep the fast as best we can, but we don't make a point of telling them off and refusing to eat if there is nothing we can lawfully consume. On the other hand, we try not to go out or eat out or attend parties during this time, so we aren't in that position in the first place. We struggle within our strength and try to keep our eyes on our own plate (and that of our young children). I have found myself more and more irritated and agitated on social media, so though I will still be posting here and Instagram, I think I will take a break from Facebook for a little while.

My posts here about how we fast are not meant to be holier than thou or preachy, they are to show the reality of how we live out our faith, and to (I hope) give encouragement and meal ideas to those seeking them. There will be some meals that include dairy or eggs during Lent, and we relax the restrictions quite a bit on Sundays, though I try to keep it from being too reckless. However, we will eat meat on many Sundays in Lent, usually excluding it entirely, and keeping the strictest fast, from Palm Sunday through all of Holy Week (as we do for the meals we have this first partial week). We do have some birthdays within Lent, and we have not wanted to embitter our children to the teachings of the Church and have either allowed them to break the fast that day, or celebrated with a Lenten, but festive, meal and dessert. We try to keep the strict fasts on Wednesdays and Fridays, as two days a week will not put anyone at risk, and we want to accustom our children to striving to live in this way, just as we have them fast from one meal or two meals as they are able on strict fast days in which the older family members are not eating at all. This is how we both practice our faith and teach our children to practice their faith. Just as we have grown in this practice, we teach them to do so as well.

Poor Jerome is having to go on a grain free and sugar free diet for 60 days, so he is beginning on Ash Wednesday. At first, he thought it wouldn't be too bad, until he realized that the Paschal feast would be within that 60 days. He asked me to freeze some of the special foods we make so he can have them after the diet, and I have worked out how to make a some of them in a way that he can eat them that day. He was rather upset when I suggested that he take the diet as his fast and that he eat meat during Lent, so we are going to increase his fish and dairy and egg, and he will still eat meatless otherwise, and we will give him alternatives to the grains/pastas/etc that we eat during the fast. I did pick up some cauliflower rice, some vegetable "pasta," and some monkfruit sweetener so he can try to eat some of the things we do, with different side dishes, sweeten his tea and so on. This adds a little more of a challenge to our Lenten observances this year, but he and I are working out a plan.

As for you readers, I pray that this will be a profitable and Holy Lent for you, however you observe it. Please pray for us, as well.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday. Linking to Menu Plan Monday

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We are doing a lentil soup on Wednesday also. It's a nice small meal for Ash Wednesday. I hope you have a blessed Lent.
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