Monday, February 16, 2015

And so it begins

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, that magical time of year when Catholics remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return.* I don't know, it sounds kind of depressing, but it's not.

There's a point to all this, dude, which I realize is a little bit of a departure from my usual posts. I'd apologize, but it will probably be awhile before that happens again, so never mind.

I'm giving up processed foods for Lent again this year. Because... I have to think about it a bit, and it definitely requires a commitment. It's easy to throw any old foodstuff into your mouth even when you are blessed** with food sensitivities as I am. Plus I am hopelessly addicted to Annie's Cheddar Bunnies.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just a good time to reevaluate is all.

More fruits and veggies. Less Cheddar Bunnies.
Lent is hard.

Anyway, I define "processed" as anything with more than four ingredients, but it's not a hard and fast rule because Fritos have three (uh, still processed) and real chocolate has, like, five or something (may as well be prepared for contingencies). I was surprised last year at how many one and two ingredient foods there are out there. The bulk and produce aisles were my particular friends.

And just FYI, I count cooking from scratch as non-processed. And it mostly is. Whatever it is I'm using cannot have more than four ingredients per item, so it works out pretty well. This is why Mara's Mac and Cheese counts as non-processed (I made that for dinner tonight and have some in containers for my lunches this week. Don't tell Abby or she'll steal it) but, say, packaged tater tots do not. (Even organic tater tots have more than four ingredients. Boo!)

So that explains why I spent all of today--happy birthday, George Washington!***--cutting and preparing all manner of fruits and vegetables. Boring. But it will make meals and snacks easier for everyone, so time well spent, I guess. For them, since they didn't have to do it. (Wow, still bitter. Might be a long 40 days.)

Other projects: I have some baguette from my favorite bakery cut and prepped and in the freezer, awaiting lettuce and cheese (Tillamook Medium Cheddar has four ingredients, thank you Jesus, and so does this bread). And I made a couple of sides and a couple of mains to have on hand for the week as well. I went meatless because A) We don't eat a lot of meat anyway and 2) This way, it doesn't matter what day of the week we eat it. 'Cause you do NOT eat meat on Fridays, you guys. You just don't. Here's what Catholic Online says about that:
Abstinence: The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Meat is considered to be the flesh and organs of mammals and fowl. Also forbidden are soups or gravies made from them. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted, as are animal derived products such as margarine and gelatin which do not have any meat taste.
Oh, jeez, I had no idea we could eat amphibians and reptiles on Fridays. Gag. There's something to be said for stupidity. I can ever unlearn that. Bummer.

I guess the good news is that, having last year's experience under my belt, I know better what to expect: Higher grocery bills, massive amounts of time prepping and preparing, chocolate withdrawals, and overall better health.

There's always a bright side. And it's not supposed to be easy.

P.S. You might wonder why I don't give up coffee, since that would be a logical choice. It's because Jesus loves me, you guys. I figure Americanos are totally in the non-processed zone, although my beloved vanilla lattes, not so much. That's why I've made a batch of vanilla syrup, just in case we get into any emergency situations. Four ingredients--sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and water. Whew!

*And you thought Catholics don't read the bible. ;)


***Technically I did not have the day off, but I did have one last vacation day before my four year employment anniversary that I needed to burn, and with Eric and the girls home, I thought, why not? It's kind of weird that some people get Presidents Day off and others don't, but whatever.


onwritingbymf said...

Awesome. You are pretty much the coolest Catholic ever! You actually do Lent. Do you really not eat meat on Fridays usually? What about Moose? Does that count when your freezer's overflowing? I read a fun post from a woman in the UK that I follow about "Pancake Day", which is a precursor to Lent. It was fascinating.

Shannon Holifield said...

Love it! This is tough to do...been trying to do it for months now. Potato chips get me every time. Last year my step-daughter did Lent...gave up chocolate....about a week into it...I was casually leaving chocolate lay around....because....uh, wow! LOL Great article though! (we are Baptist by the not sure why she did it.)

Trisha Walker said...

We only abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, although pre-Vatican II you couldn't eat it on any Friday. Times were tougher back then. Jesus doesn't care how much moose is in my freezer (thankfully, the answer is NONE... that was so 2006-08), you just don't eat it.

We don't eat meat every day anyway, so it's not that hard. It's just the remembering.

Hey, I've never understood Pancake Day. We gorged ourself silly yesterday on BLTs, barbecued potato chips and vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce. I always think I should serve pancakes after my mammograms, but the rest of the family doesn't get it... Following your link now...

Trisha Walker said...

Thanks, Shannon! It's a good excuse to make healthier food choices --apparently I need the potential wrath of God to keep me in line. (JK. Kinda. My willpower sucks.) So in the Protestant denominations, is there any buildup to Easter? Lent is a preparatory time for us, to get our shit together before the resurrection. (Um, that's probably not how it's written in the catechism, by the way.) I just think it's interesting, the differences, is all... We're also big into Advent, but there's less suffering for that one. ;)