My fella and I are not religious. Other than a desire to be a Catholic inspired by First Holy Communion with pretty white dress, cake and presents (how could that not appeal to a ten year old!!!) and a two week stay at a Buddhist Monastery I’ve never been a particular fan of religion. Both were eventually rejected in favour of alcohol. And sex.
As I confessed in my earlier blog I am however a fan of tradition and custom; and Lent is no exception. It’s got all the right components, to begin with it starts with a day of themed food: Shrove Tuesday aka Pancake Day is a classic example of people jumping on a bandwagon to get involved with a day that essentially has little meaning, at least to most involved. I am a big fan of pancakes, and of Pancake Day. (Incidentally Microsoft Word just autocorrected pancake day to have capital letters- evidentially Bill Gates is a fan too) A day when teachers and brownie leaders up and down the country through out the curriculum and do one of those lessons that kids love- a pancake making and eating lesson. Ideal. For some reason on this sacred Tuesday every year people go Pancake crazy; I for one always have- several times I’ve hosted parties purely for the purpose of eating pancakes. As I’ve got older my tastes have matured and I no longer obsess over the sprinkle of sugar and squeeze of lemon juice I used to adore back in the simply days of my childhood. No, now I like my pancakes stuffed with goats cheese and bacon, with a garnish of salad. I like them filled with cheese and ham or served with a fried egg. That was until this year however, when my fella revealed his hatred for pancakes and all things crepe like. Despite my best efforts to talk him round, or persuade him we could have American style drop scones, he was not convinced. Moreover, I was out late and he was cooking. All I managed was to coerce him into making super healthy sweet potato pancakes and I only achieved that by tweeting the recipe at him. Then it was over for another year. Done.
Regardless of my pancake dissatisfaction I embarked on Lent wholeheartedly, giving up ‘really sugary things’. This meant cakes, sweets, biscuits, chocolate, fizzy drinks; anything with a ton of sugar in, including the much coveted spoonful of sugar in my morning porridge. And it was surprisingly easy. I felt great. I had minimal cravings and was googling alternatives for sugary snacks in no time. I relished my sugar reduced life, and found that I had more energy, and that my mid- afternoon slumps were a thing of the past. It dawned on me that they’d been mostly due to the crash after my sugary treats at lunchtime rather than 3.30 boredom setting in, and so I was healthier, and my teeth and my diabetes risk level were certainly thanking me for it. Lent was long this year, it was something like 47days. FORTY SEVEN DAYS. I’m not being funny but Jesus only did 40. I think giving up all those sugary things might make me a woman of biblical proportions. Anyhoo 47 days later Easter Sunday came around.
In true over the top tradition and theme filled day I planned an Easter Egg Hunt. Obviously. There were thirteen rhyming clues, each attached to a crème egg, hidden around our Easter Weekend Location, at the end of which my fella found his Easter Eggs. I made Hot Cross Buns- the epitome of spring time food. And we gorged ourselves, at long last on chocolate. For all of about ten minutes. It didn’t take long though for us to feel the consequences of breaking our sugary detox, and feeling sick, we took a trip out to a local stately homes farm shop to buy veggie soup and crayfish salad. The Easter Bank Holiday came and went in a carb and chocolate filled haze, and has left me and the fella with feelings of superiority; we don’t sugar. Hell no. That shit ain’t even part of our lives any more. Well that’s not quite true, but almost. I’m proud of my abstinence and feel wise and strong. We have an entire shelf in our dining room dedicated to chocolate. It lies directly below our fancy alcohol shelf, which essentially means that chocolate has elevated itself out of the mainstream and into the special occasion world of food and drink. Which is really where it belongs. Sugar, and chocolate and the like, is naughty, and like fancy booze shouldn’t be indulged in every day. Success then I think from Lent 2014. I’m a new person. But hopefully, unlike Jesus, I’m beardless and not going anywhere.