Wasn’t it just last week that I put away the last of the Christmas decorations and gifts? And if that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, it was probably the week before that. In fact, scratch that. I’m not exaggerating at all because just last weekend Joe finally put away his train set that goes around the Christmas tree. Oh, the pine needles. They can still be found in the living room, and the hallway, and any other place they may have fallen off as Joe carried the train board to the basement.
Now that we’ve confirmed that Christmas is a very fresh memory around here, maybe a little bit fresher than those pine needles, we’re forced to race into the next Christian holiday season, because the lunar calendar doesn’t allow a holiday breather this year. This week Catholics enter the pre-Easter season of Lent, kicked off by one final day of partying, Shrove Tuesday.
While I would usually make some kind of cajun food to commemorate the day, this year I decided to follow the other Shrove Tuesday tradition and make pancakes (and breakfast sausage) for dinner. And we all know that any time breakfast is served for dinner, it’s a celebration. I mean, carbs… butter… syrup… warm comfort for any meal.
Last night was Ash Wednesday, one of the few remaining days of the year when Catholics are supposed to abstain from meat. I would bet you there are plenty of Catholics that now subscribe to meatless Monday, almost making Ash Wednesday’s abstinence a non-event. I like to cook meatless meals, much to Louisa’s disappointment, but there are certain dishes that jump out as traditional meatless meals for the Lenten season, particularly lentil soup. I’m sure it has something to do with my mother and my grandmother cooking lentil soup on meatless Fridays, Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday. It’s an Italian thing, for sure. And, I admit, when I was a child I didn’t really love it.
Which is why, when Louisa groaned about our dinner last night, I did what every mother has done since the beginning of time, and pulled out the best guilt speech I could muster. It went something like this:
“Louisa,” I said, “someday, maybe ten years from now, maybe 20 years from now, you’re going to look back and think, I should have appreciated my mother’s traditional Italian dinners while she was still around, especially those bowls of Lenten lentil soup.”