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Cindy Maddera

Remember those days when I used to celebrate Fat Tuesday and make Everything Jambalaya and sometimes even beignets?  Okay, I only made beignets that one time. It was the first and last time I used a Fry Daddy and I was so disgusted (and overwhelmed) with the leftover grease that I threw the whole thing away and I've not deep fried anything since. But we always had Abita beer and that's the second most important thing of Fat Tuesday. Then, because of Tiffany, we'd all give up something for Lent. I tried to keep up with that Fat Tuesday tradition, but it isn't really a thing up here. I think it has something to do with being more north and also our distance from the Mighty Mississippi. 

So instead of Everything Jambalaya, tonight we will be having soyrizo tacos with mushrooms and black beans, which is what we have every Tuesday. Though, I think pancakes are the thing up here. They replace the "Fat" with "Shrove" and eat pancakes because making pancakes uses up all the things in the kitchen that are considered to be rich foods. This way, you use up all your butter, sugar, milk and eggs (if you don't have chickens) before you start your forty day fast. I like how Wikipedia describes fasting for Shrove Tuesday as "refraining from food that would give pleasure." I should give up cheese for Lent. We will not be eating pancakes because Michael hates pancakes (I know, how can you hate pancakes?). Sometimes traditions change and morph. We cooked crawfish on Saturday and I drank a couple of Abitas at work on Friday. A conversation with Talaura yesterday made me feel at peace. Absolved isn't really the word to use so I'm going to replace it with peace. Tomorrow morning, I'll smear some dirt from the garden on my forehead. 

I think it is funny that Lent, for many people, has gone from eating bland foods or eating just for the basic sustenance of the body to giving up something that brings them joy like chocolate or soda or cookies. We give up things we have formed habits with. We commit to forty days of something like writing or yoga or meditation or jogging. I am guilty of committing to something like forty days of yoga (never jogging). I am also guilty of giving up things that do not serve me like self doubt and worry. There is nothing wrong with being guilty of any of those things. The whole point of Lent is taking time to be mindful and reflective and if committing to something or giving up chocolate helps you do that, then so be it. Personally, I am leaning towards forty days of Buddha bowls and simple meals of lentils and greens. 

I spend a lot of time on making a weekly meal plan that is not only nutritious but one that will not lead to Michael pulling a face of disgust. The meal plan is more than a plan devised to appease my OCD tendencies. It keeps us on a budget, which is really important right now if we want to pay for the camper and be able to use it. I could free up time for reflection by just making the weekly meal plan out to be beans and rice every day for forty days. I'm sure Michael would love that or I could just spend the next forty days only being responsible for my meals and let Michael fend for himself. This is also something I doubt he'd be all that pleased with. I guess the bottom line is that I am probably giving up nothing for Lent. I am probably not even really committing to anything. Instead, I am just going to try harder to be more mindful and reflective every day. 

Like I said. Traditions change and morph.