The Holy Season of Lent is a time when folks may be looking for tasty, easy-to-prepare meatless meals. Over the years, The Monitor’s freelance writer Lois Rogers has created a library of meals in her Keeping The Feast column.
By Lois Rogers | Correspondent
In kitchens throughout the Christian world, the countdown to Lent – which begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14 – is underway.
That being the case, countless meatless recipes are under serious scrutiny.
But before settling on macaroni and cheese, fishcakes and the like for coming days of fast and abstinence, tables will be set for the feasts of Shrove Tuesday and its cousin, Fat Tuesday – English for Mardi Gras.
As a prelude to Lent – the 40 days of fasting and penitence leading up to Easter – faithful have historically observed serious religious customs as well as celebratory ones on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
But one aspect of the occasion always remained constant: using up leftovers – eggs, meat, cooking fats and the like – that could not be eaten during Lent.
In England, for instance, it was customary to go to Confession on “Shrove Tuesday” and be “shriven” (absolved) of sins, something still part of the day for many people.
After Confession, pancakes were the meal of choice on this last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on what was then a rigorous Lenten fast.
It’s written that the ingredients in the pancakes are themselves references to the religious nature of the day with eggs symbolizing Creation, flour as the staff of life, salt for wholesomeness and milk as purity.
In other countries, especially those where it is called Mardi Gras, Carnival or Carnevale, the emphasis is on dishes rich in cream, cheese and meat, all served up festively before the plain eating of the penitential season set in.
With these traditions in mind, pancakes, meat, cheeses and cream will all be on the menu when our family gathers in the run-up to Ash Wednesday for a special adventure in tradition and cuisine with four little members of the latest generation who happily, really love to eat.
I’m contributing a quiche with a Muenster cheese, sausage and mushroom filling. It’s an original recipe that I’ve refined over the years.
The quiche is easy to make and rich. This recipe fills a deep-dish nine inch pie plate and serves six.
An excerpt from the Shrove Tuesday Prayer from Creighton University Online Ministries makes a lovely Grace on this special day:
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation
for it is from your goodness that we have this day
to celebrate on the threshold of the Season of Lent.
Tomorrow, we will fast and abstain from meat.
Today we feast.
We thank you for the abundance of gifts you shower upon us.
We thank you especially for one another.
As we give you thanks,
we are mindful of those who have so much less than
As we share these wonderful gifts together,
we commit ourselves to greater generosity toward those who need our support.
Prepare us for tomorrow.
Tasting the fullness of what we have today,
Let us experience some hunger tomorrow.
May our fasting make us more alert
and may it heighten our consciousness
so that we might be ready to hear your Word.