Warm French Lentil Salad
This article began as a thought filled dish to Post on Ash Wednesday, the day that marks the beginning of Lent for Catholics, a day of Fasting and no meat.
Though Catholic full day fasting will only occur again on Good Friday, still, with some dispensations toward the very young, elderly, or those ill, all others are required to abstain from eating meat each Friday until Easter Sunday.
Many religions from throughout the world adhere to some type of fasting in preparation of a sacred holiday or perhaps as a form of purification.
As sharing food and feasting has always been a central focus of communal celebration and festival throughout history so too has dedicated abstinence and self-sacrifice from food, or certain types of food thus playing a role of awareness and symbolic direction in the lives of the faithful.
The purpose of fasting or refraining from certain types of foods is not always about the foods themselves but towards truer meaning in conscious self-reflection, prayer, and penance, a continual reminder of keeping the focus on God.
In addition to abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, many Christians will make an additional self-sacrifice such as giving up a favorite food as candy or sweets. Others may look at the time to do a little something extra, being more mindful in their everyday activity and prayer.
Sometimes being more aware and mindful also makes our weaknesses come to light more clearly, maybe you know what I mean if you too fast or make more conscious attempts at any time during the calendar in your own religious observances.
In thought toward a post on Ash Wednesday I realized how many of the required meatless Fridays in my own household have included picking up Pizza from the local Pizzeria.
The truth is Friday is one day, eager to unwind from the busy week that I do not really like to cook. Therefore, though I have been real effective in keeping meat off the family table for years on Fridays over Lent, really, outside of the usual daily dinner blessing, it has not afforded my family or me any extra prayer or sacrifice.
Therefore, I decided each Friday this Lent I would prepare simple meatless dishes that involved a little more prayer and reflection by adding on this little extra effort mindful of my own family. The first dish planned, the Warm French Lentil Salad using only a few humble ingredients but making it a worthy dish of Thankfulness.
As I began sifting through the beautiful French Lentils, the light clacking sound of the beans hitting the sides of the colander, lifting them then letting them fall like a child playing with colorful pebbles out of a wide mouth jar, I recounted on things and began to be more thankful for the bounty, the beautiful sunny day that would provide enough natural light for the photographs. Rinsing the lentils, before pouring them in the pot and covering them with cold water for soaking I returned to appreciating each of the humble ingredients to create this lovely dish.
I suppose, no matter what our religion is one of the keys may be to always remember the purpose on why it is in the first place that we are called to these moments and intentions within self-sacrifice. Surely if we keep the purposeful meanings in mind then following that time, we can then emerge more fully in sharing with others the feasts of the culminated celebrations, including family food preparations like Warm Lentil Salad with a deeper sense of joy.