For those of you who know me, you know that I am a very picky eater. I don’t eat cheese, eggs, anything that swims, or anything white (sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, or plain yogurt). This usually isn’t a problem for me, until Lent.
Growing up in a Catholic home, my family strictly followed the Lenten observance, participating in Stations of the Cross, fasting, and self sacrifice. Although children and those who are ill aren’t required to follow Lenten rules, in my family we all participated.
Back to the picky eater. Since I had to follow the Lenten rules, Fridays in Lent presented a problem. My mom usually had fish, mac and cheese, grilled cheese, or pizza. None of these foods were on my hit parade. And there were no special meals made. Either you ate what mom made, or you were on your own. Can you say peanut butter and pickle sandwich, toast, or saltines and butter?
On nights that my mom made or ordered pizza, I would peel off the cheese and give it to one of my siblings. I would just eat the crust. And don’t worry, my mom made sure that the pizza sauce wasn’t made with meat. Sometimes I got super lucky and my mom made breakfast for dinner. Pancakes and French toast are foods that I eat; therefore, I didn’t have to scavenge for food.
Another bane of my existence is the fish fries that are popular in Western Pennsylvania during Lent. The fish fry is used as a fundraiser for many organizations, Churches, and fire halls, and my parents often supported them at least once during the Lenten season. Another hurdle for me to overcome. Although you can get French fries at a fish fry, they always have a fishy taste to my picky palette. My parents said it was my imagination, but I knew differently, I could taste it. What about the coleslaw you ask? It’s made with mayonnaise, one of my taboo foods. More peanut butter and pickle sandwiches for me.
As part of the Lenten observance, my parents made sure we fasted and participated in self sacrifice. I wanted to give up watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew, but these weren’t acceptable. One, they weren’t in season, and two, I didn’t like them. This is where my parents stepped in and determined my Lenten sacrifice. Unfortunately for me, they chose junk food, specifically potato chips and chocolate (which included chocolate milk and hot chocolate), two of my favorite things.
Fat Tuesday is the day before the Lenten observance starts. This past Tuesday millions of Americans celebrated Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday, in anticipation of the Lenten observance of fasting, abstinence, confession and penance. Why is Fat Tuesday celebrated you ask? Eating hardy meals, candy and desserts came about because people needed to empty their pantries of many items restricted during Lent, or so I’m told.
Fat Tuesdays at home were filled with tasty treats and culminated in a big family dinner. Something we looked forward to. The following day, we went to church for ashes and started our Lenten journey.
As I got older, I recognized the significance of fasting and self sacrifice. My choices reflected my maturity, but still, meals on Friday were an issue.
This Fat Tuesday, I ate chips, chocolate and a big dinner. I still haven’t outgrown my picky eating habits, but I have more foods available to choose from, making Friday more tolerable.
Do you have a quirky eating habit? Are you picky like me? Somehow I don’t think that’s possible. Share, we’d love to hear about it.
For my writing friends, what quirky habits do your characters have? Do you use them to make your characters more believable? Do you use that quirk to change your character? Share with us, we’d love to hear it.