You know you’re supposed to fast but what are you supposed to eat? We have some ideas.
While Lent fasting has fed the soul for centuries, it has also led to a considerable amount of innovation in the kitchen. From bread created by an Italian monk to stealing traditions from Ramadan, there are some diverse and tasty options that have united Christian around the world and have helped them observe the fast for centuries.
For a greater connection to the universal Church, here are 5 foods to try during Lent this year.
You might think of soft pretzels as a concession stand snack, but in reality, it is the traditional Lenten bread.
In the early 600s, an Italian monk set out to make bread without milk or eggs for Lent. He shaped the dough to imitate the prayer poster of the time, arms crossed over the chest. Whether you have it as a snack or add it to a meal, meditate and give thanks for long history of Christians who have made this Lenten journey.
- Shepherd’s pie
Skip the corned beef and cabbage this year and eat a real Irish dish on St. Patrick’s Day. Shepherd’s pie is hearty and simple, making it a perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day while still observing Lent. Plus, it should bring to mind the Good Shepherd carrying us back home and all the shepherds He has sent since to lead us.
However, if you are trying to avoid meat all Lent, add soda bread to any meal or enjoy a cup of Irish crème coffee and shortbread cookies.
- Aquas frescas and ice cream
In Oaxaca, a Sovereign State, in Mexico, Catholics call the fourth Friday of Lent la Samaritana to commemorate the Samaritan woman who gave Jesus a drink at the well. On this day, aquas frescas, fruit drinks, are handed out outside churches. Jamaica, or hibiscus flower, is one of the most popular flavors. Ice cream and fresh fruit are available as well. If these fit into your Lent fast, enjoy them with friends and meditate on John 4:1-42.
On March 19th, the feast of St. Joseph, try this traditional Sicilian dish. Made with sardines, this is the perfect way to celebrate a feast during Lent. Toasted bread crumbs are sprinkled over the dish to imitate sawdust to remind us of the faithful carpenter.
Basbousa is a sweet, spongy semolina cake garnished with almonds. Why would a cake be popular during a fast? Not only is it a simple desert, but it is made without eggs and can be made completely vegan if you’re observing to strictest fasting traditions.
This cake was long part of Ramadan before Christians in Egypt and around the Holy Land began enjoying it during Lent. Fix a cup of coffee and connect with Christians in the birth place of Christianity.