Sunday, May 1, 2011

The seasonal vegetarian

I recently enforced, on my little family, meatless Fridays for 40 days this past Lent. Then, for 6 holy days leading up to Easter Sunday, we were vegetarians. Prior to the Lenten season, my husband decided to give up the occasional alcoholic beverage. He asked me what I was giving up. Before I could reply, he offered, "You should give up steamed white rice." I smirked. Was he nuts? You see, I grew up with the stuff. I'm wired to like it, it's practically part of my DNA. On occasion, my husband would wake up to me sitting in bed beside him, watching TV, chowing down a bowl of hot, white rice. I am to white rice as Peggy Bundy is to bonbons. "Facebook," I declared. Well, he's woken up to me, in bed staring at the bright screen of my laptop like a moth to a flame, checking out Facebook. That went out the window by the time Ash Wednesday came around.

So, meatless Fridays it was which he insisted, Shorty, who's 3, should observe it as well. I agreed. We take her to church, perhaps she should experience this too. We planned meatless options: salads, spaghetti marinara, grilled cheese sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, egg sandwiches, and rice in various shapes or forms. I don't know how vegetarians and vegans do it.

One Friday evening, Shorty was jonesing for a hotdog and I told her, "We can't eat meat." "Why not?" Not wanting to have to explain Lent, I said "Do it for Jesus." "Okaaay," she said with resignation. I was surprised at her willingness to participate. By Holy Week, Shorty seemed to look forward to having meat more than the scavenger hunt. To distract her, we made our own pizza which was a favorite activity of hers. When all the toppings were on and I was about to put it in the oven, "Wait," Shorty stopped me. "We forgot the pepperoni," she said with clear panic in her voice. "It's holy week," I said flatly. I tried to say it sweetly like a patient mother would, but I was having withdrawals myself. She hung her head, arms limp at her sides. "But mommy," she whined, "I love meat."

When Easter Sunday finally came, we went to Mimi's Cafe after church and had omelets with the most anticipated, most beloved bacon. Sigh. Oh for the love of all pigs crispy. Then, in sheer joy, arms in the air (and strip of bacon in hand,) Shorty exclaimed with a greasy grin, "Thank you, Easter time."