Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Face-Brightener

Here are a few good thoughts about fasting from the introduction to our recently published church cookbook, written by our priest:

"Jesus did not say 'if you fast', but 'when you fast.' And that means, basically, eating humbly according to a norm set by the church for the day or the season.

The Spirit may always lead members of the church to radical acts of fasting (and don't make the mistake of thinking that modern people are not up to the task ... in our day in the midst of so much indulgence, asceticism is alive ... usually in secret where it belongs). But the 'norms' of fasting are not intended to be radical. They are intended to free us from overwrought preoccupations with what is on the table, and from spiritual self-absorption, by providing us a simple, external guide. Then we can stop fussing over what is on the plate, and get on with the rest of what a fasting season wants us to experience.

So does fasting mean not enjoying food? Far from it. Many of us have been at monasteries in Lent where simplicity of ingredients and moderation in how much you eat are a positive culinary joy, and the gifts of the community's chef are much delighted in..."

And in this note he also encouraged us to enjoy the fast. "After all," he writes, "Jesus taught that when you fast your face should be bright ... and not because you are faking it."

So having come from the supper table this evening with a nice, bright face from a delicious Lenten meal, I'm going to re-post a recipe I posted last Lent. We tweaked it a bit tonight (and by "we" I mean "he") to make it personal-preference-specific. It was a wonderful meal - and a good reminder to me that there is joy in the disciplines of the church.

Here's the link to the recipe.

And here are the Transposzing tweaks:

  • he eliminated the orange juice and replaced it with vegetable stock (and the ginger flavor just soared!)
  • he cut the soy sauce from 6 tsp. to 3 tsp. Next time we'll cut it back a bit further yet and add some at the table if we need it.
  • he gave it a squeeze of fresh lime, which just generally perked everything up a notch.
  • we threw in a handful of roasted peanuts at the table (which we throw into every stir-fried dish we make)
So if you are observing the lenten fast - go ahead and give it a try!