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Sunday, March 28, 2021

Menu Plan: Holy Week

The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

We have made it to the hardest, most draining week of the year. It is our walking the Via Dolorosa with Christ. Meals this week are lighter and simpler, and follow the strictest fasting rules. Traditionally, a full fast begins on the evening of Maundy (Mandatum - from the new mandate/commandment Jesus gives, as He established the priesthood, the sacraments of the Eucharist and confession), and goes through the end of the Vigil on Saturday, as we await Jesus by the tomb.

For the first time in our family's history, most of the people will be keeping most, or all, of that fast. Usually, we have too many little people, I have been pregnant or nursing, or something else like that. This is going to be odd, because it is really hard for me to cook for only one or two people. For after the Maundy Thursday service, I can have some fruit and cut vegetables out for the littlest ones, though. Even Nejat, our little sweet one, has told us that she is fasting from one meal on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Jerome's diet continues for 13 days after the Paschal feast, but he refuses to break the fast completely and take his diet as his discipline, and had to be talked into eating the dairy and egg. So, it is only Mariam and Nejat who will be eating on Friday or Saturday. Mariam has been abstaining from two meals on strict fast days, and I have encouraged her to have dinner, so she does not go to bed on an empty stomach. These kids continue to amaze me with how they fast within their strength and understand how important it is to the practice and growth of our faith.

Rich has given me a mandate to break the fast earlier than everyone else, so I can taste the food I am preparing. It is a hard thing for me to do this and feel like I am "cheating" and enjoying things my family cannot have, but in submission to my husband, and for the benefit of my family, I do it, and try not to show them my tasting things too obviously. It is a sacrifice for me to break with the fast at this point. In many ways, Jerome's diet was my sacrifice, too, because I had to do so much more planning and checking and cooking. I'm looking forward to that being over, because I will be walking it with him through April 13. We have been looking for ways that Jerome can still enjoy the foods we make for our feast, beacuse so many of them include grains and/or sugar! Even the bacon and eggs we break our fast with after the vigil includes sugar in the cure. So, please pray I can find some good sugar free bacon for not too much so he can share in it. The plan now is to freeze many of the things that he can't eat, either as is, or prior to cooking them, so when he is able to have them, I can thaw or cook them for him to enjoy. He may share in our Paschal lamb, the hummus and baba ghanooj, the hot sauces, the laban bi chiyar, the vegetables, olives and pickles, and if I leave out the rice from the meat mixture in a separate batch, he can have the waraq 'ounab (grape leaves). Our breakfast is mostly things he cannot eat, so I am going to make my own sugar free chorizo to wrap his scotchicanese eggs, and leave off the panko, so he can have that and the fruit in the morning. I also figured out a way to make him hot chocolate with his monkfruit sugar, so he can have that, too. He is being so good about this, and encourages us to eat the things he cannot, even when we all feel a bit awkward having them in front of him. The kids have really made me so pleased and proud this Lent.

May you have a blessed Holy Week! If you are Orthodox, I pray for a continued Holy Lent.

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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