It’s Ash Wednesday and for many, that means a time of choosing to fast from one vice or another in order to devote the time previously taken by the vice to thinking about God or praying for focus or simply remembering Christ’s sacrifice. It doesn’t even have to be a vice, necessarily, but something that you do or perhaps over indulge on a daily or weekly basis, that if you gave it up, it would create a bit of a hole or an inconvenience in your day and force you to remember why you are fasting from it in the first place. Many give up certain foods: sugar, coffee, sodas, fried foods. Some give up distractions like apps on their cell phones or Facebook or watching tv.
Matt suggested that we give up eating out at restaurants for Lent this year. This obviously involves my participation more than his, as I will be doing the majority of the cooking. But I know that for both of us, we lean on the ability to go get something fast and easy too often. I cook a LOT, but I use dining out as a “break” or a “reward” for cooking all week. I use it when I just “don’t wanna” and sometimes when I just feel plain burned out on thinking up another meal to cook at home. I thought it was a good thing to give up, though, and so I agreed. He will no doubt cook more often during this time, too. Today is the first day of Lent and today’s recipe is from our lunch today.
I don’t believe you have to be Catholic to participate in the season of Lent. I believe any tradition that helps us refocus on the sacrifice and life of Christ is a worthwhile endeavor. Borrowing from other religious cultures can enhance our own or refresh the way we see things and shed new light on old habits. Someone questioned how we “do” Lent regarding what we give up and asked if it’s just “another resolution” or if we really pray or do what we’re supposed to do in the absence of the thing we’re giving up. I have never thought of Lent as “just another resolution” and fully intend on dining out at restaurants once the 40 days are over. But for these next six weeks, I plan on remembering a few things in the absence of the convenience of dining out and every time I feel tempted:
1. It’s a privilege to eat out – even fast food, not just nice restaurants.
2. Not everyone has the joy of owning a house or a kitchen to cook in. We do.
3. When I don’t feel like cooking over the next 40 days, I will think of my new friends at Carpenter’s Church who only WISH they had a nice kitchen, but instead have to rely on the kindness of soup kitchens downtown to get a hot meal.
4. Not everyone can afford good produce at the grocery store. We can and I plan on utilizing that honor.
5. Dining out is a break from reality. So many people in the world never get a break from their harsh realities. They have no choice.
This morning I taught my little cooking class at Carpenter’s and our class ended and we finished cleaning up about 10 till noon. Typically, I would have called up Matt and said, “We’ll just come pick you up, I don’t feel like cooking again.” But I called him up instead and said, “I gotta run home and cook – lunch will be a little later today.” I had been to the store yesterday and bought all the items needed (a privilege) for one of our favorite garnishes for Asian type dishes, Ginger Scallion Sauce. We love to put it on just about anything, and today, I tossed it along with some sticky rice and leftover pork we cooked on Sunday, and some pineapple (and a fried egg, of course). A really fresh, tasty meal and it only took me 30 minutes, start to finish.
You don’t have to give up something for Lent in order to be “good” or “right.” It’s not about that. However, in order to be more disciplined in life, there really is no other way than to TRY. Think you’re not disciplined enough to give something up for 40 days? Well… have you tried?
Ginger Scallion Sauce
makes about 3 cups
Look how lazy I am. But there you have it – we don’t alter it so I figured I’d just show you the page out of the book! Everything in the Momofuku cookbook is good, from what we’ve tried, so far. David Chang is one of our biggest celebrity chef crushes and we think he can do no wrong. Pick up this book today! And the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook while you’re at it!