Lenten Food


In case you wondered if all I think about are babies, specifically the one I happen to be gestating, and the church...

I also think about food.

Now, I really do enjoy cooking. I find it to be a calming discipline and at this point in my life I find that I can usually figure out what something is "missing" and rectify the situation.

Occasionally, the something that is missing is bacon...which we don't have at our house.

I have managed to build quite the mystery about what I will, and won't, eat amongst my friends and parishioners. A Lenten discipline of veganism last year (shortly after I began at my parish) really threw everyone for a loop. And, folks don't quite understand why we'll eat meat that other folk have prepared but won't cook meat at home.

I figure, that if folks are kind enough to cook it for me than I will be kind enough to eat it. (Oh, and lest I be anything but honest, we do get meat when we eat out occasionally and, for some odd reason, one of the THREE foods I could stomach during my first trimester was deli turkey) That, and people rarely cook beef for company anymore (I haven't had beef in so long that it would make me sick, and I love you, but I hate diarrhea).

So, back to what we cook at home, or don't cook in our case. Our objections to the regular consumption of meat has a great deal to do with the ethics of meat production and the amount of edible (by humans) grain used to produce meat (I think it's something like 8 pounds of grain for 1 pound of beef). Not to mention the water resources diverted for livestock propagation; coupled with an awareness that if everyone on the planet ate (drove, built, bought) like Americans this world would be in for a great deal more hurt. Oh, and to be honest, neither of us likes: gristle; meat on the bone; or those bloody veins that occasionally appear in your chicken breast; and I am afraid of poisoning us because I never learned how to cook meat (those formative cooking years of strict vegetarianism). Tofu is all one color and consistency and you don't have to worry about biting into a gross bit of cartilage hidden behind breading.

So, tofu...Tofu, beans, cheese and yogurt (yes, yes, I know that these come from cows and that these cows eat edible, by humans, grain and drink lots of water) make up our dominant protein sources. But, you'd be surprised at how much protein is in whole grain products (which we eat VAST quantities of) and even some veggies. Why do I know this you might ask? Well, for a week our birth class required a food diary to specifically count the grams of protein consumed each day (with a goal during pregnancy of 70-80 grams). My beloved and I were each getting over a 100 (!) grams of protein a day--without eating meat.

This brings me back to Lent (okay, so I said I think of other things besides my faith)...giving up meat on Fridays is not a hardship in our household--largely because we so rarely eat meat. And, I don't think it's a hardship for most folks...

What if we all ate meat only on Fridays (or pick one other day)? Perhaps, using meat like most of the world does--as a condiment. Methinks we'd all be a bit healthier--and so would the planet! And, our food might taste a bit better because we couldn't fall back on meat, veg and starch as a standard meal.

That said, I'm off to the grocery store...family will be in town this weekend and I have to feed my omnivorous relations food that we'll all enjoy. Bring on the homemade macaroni and cheese (I hate to think what would happen if we tried to get them to eat Indian lentils with sweet potatoes!)!

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