Publisher: twinger Volume No. 3 Issue No 1 Date Feb. 27 04
Lent is a forty day period which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday). The Catholic Church has traditionally used ashes on Ash Wednesday to mark the forehead of believers as a reminder of our mortality and a symbol of mourning and penance. During Lent we are encouraged to reflect on Our Lord’s forty day period of fasting in the desert. Lent is a time to pray, fast and do acts of charity in order to bring us closer to God. The Catholic Church teaches that Fridays are a day of abstinence from eating meat in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. This specific form of penance ensures that Catholics will do something as set forth in the law of God for man. (Luke 5:35).
I love Lent and all things that come with it. I am from Alabama, and some of my fondest memories come from visiting Tootie, my grandmother, and eating the wonderful seafood meals she cooked for us. Gumbo is my favorite dish. It is a soup that is prepared with vegetables, shrimp, crab meat, and roux. The roux is at the heart of great gumbo, and Tootie is the queen of gumbo. Roux is a combination of fat and flour heated until it is the color of copper. Making roux is a painstaking and delicate process for even the best of cooks. My first attempt at making roux occurred last night. I consulted many cookbooks and recipes, the most important of which belonged to Tootie, to determine my course of action. After 45 minutes of careful stirring and heating, I felt the process was complete. The vegetables and stock were ready and I added the roux to the mix. I was a little disappointed in the outcome, but experience tells me that perfection comes from repetition and refinement. I only wish that I had had the presence of the queen to guide me in my endeavor.
Today is Friday and we ate that gumbo for lunch. My palate anticipated the meal from the get-go this morning. I was not disappointed, but my goal is to achieve the perfection of the queen. I am thankful for Lent because it gives me the opportunity to set aside a time for this pursuit through the requirement of abstinence. The Holy Season of Lent is like making roux. It requires patience, repetition, refinement and the constant application of heat to accomplish the proper “marriage” of ingredients. Unlike the absence of Tootie during my attempt at making the perfect roux, we can rest assured that God is present in our pursuit of Him. My prayer today is that my desire to seek him is as strong as the one to emulate Tootie.