Slice of Life 2020: Day 2
The vegetarian cookbooks have all came off the shelves today. The Syrian cookbook from my husband’s family has ventured out. The Vegetarian Planet, a bible-sized tome rivaling any Shakespeare Anthology, came out of hiding and onto my counter. The Crock Pot Cooking book and the Lebanese Cook Book both made their way into the light and were thumbed open and pondered. Even the Vegan Pinterest Board was opened on an iPad.
These resources and books are cherished friends now and they always come out on the first day of Orthodox Great Lent, a time of fasting meat, dairy and eggs. Seeing their well-worn covers and dog-eared pages remind me that its fasting season again. Skimming through these volumes, I can almost smell the aroma of garlic, onions and tomatoes cooking down in preparation for a veggie stew. I can just taste the spicy eggplant bubbling in the ratatouille. I can see the bowl of steaming white rice!
These foods are delicious and bring back many family memories.
As the chief cook and bottle washer, these cookbooks and this kitchen are my happy place. I feed people and keep them going with warmth and nourishment. During this season, foods are to be kept simple so that one has time to work on matters of the heart. Luxurious foods like olive oil and meats are abstained so that one remembers to pray more often. It is a time for self-examination and these foods help keep one in the right frame of mind as the days lengthen and Easter approaches.
That’s the goal anyway. These intentions are noble, but who doesn’t need a high bar to strive for.
“Tonight, it’s veggies on the menu, boys!” I say as I stir the ebullient mixture of red lentils and broth. They know the routine. They know this food.
“Mediterranean Lentil Stew, hot and ready!” I call out to the troops.
No stragglers tonight.
These messy-haired boys lingered at the dinner table, chatting of basketball coaches and spring training, all bowls cleaned to the last drop.