Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pre-Lent Wish List

Ah, I am so happy. My favorite time of year will soon be upon us. Lent! Well, really, Easter, but Lent is the liturgical countdown clock to the big day. Like Dick Clark and the New Year's ball. I love, love, love it. I can't explain why- I think because it's the only holiday where there is a slow and steady build up that involves no stressful gift shopping or turkey procurement. You spend 40 days getting ready for the culminating celebration. And that preparation isn't like Christmas when you are feeling giddy and festive.
Lent is during the most depressing season of the year- everything is gray and gloomy. The last part of Lent is Holy Week, where you spend the whole time meditating on the sacrifices and sufferings of Christ. But it's the darkness of that time that makes the jubilation of Easter morning celebrations so sweet. I guess that's why I love Easter- it's a very emotionally well-planned holiday.
On top of my preexisting love of the season, this year, I will be counting down to more than just the big E. I will also be counting down to being in "Asia Minor" with my church! That's right, we leave on Good Friday, which means that I will be celebrating Easter in one of the seven churches of Revelation. Baller! I am giddily excited.
In any case, Lent will soon be here and the daily reminder of the season will be with me: no meat. No sweets. Oi vey- this is going to be interesting.
So in honor of my coming deficit in culinary delights, here are the 5 things that I have got to make sure I sample before Ash Wednesday:
1.     STEAK: I didn't fully understand the beauty of a perfectly cooked steak until I lived with my aunt and uncle the summer I interned in DC. Pretty sure this is because between my parents, my dad likes his rare boarder line raw and my mom takes hers medium well boarder line hamburger. Neither of which is appealing to me. However, that summer I discovered a medium done steak and I was in love. The rich, savory goodness of a perfectly cooked steak next to some English peas and caramelized onions on top of mashed potatoes might be my favorite meal of all time. If I was going to be hanged, this would probably be my last meal. I've been cajoling all of my coworkers to have a team dinner at Morton's this week- I hope I can convince them!
2.     Ice Cream: If steak would be the main course at my execution, ice cream would be the dessert. Perhaps on top of a fresh berry crisp, perhaps in an ice cream cake- whatever the form, it would have to be there. There is seriously nothing wrong with this food. It's perfect. Texturally, flavor wise- help me, I love it. 
3.     Cadbury Chocolate Mini-Eggs: I discovered these last Easter and they are amazing. Again, this is a textural thing. I've noticed that's a big part of my gastronomic enjoyments- I digress. Made by the same company that makes those disgusting cream-filled eggs, these little ditties are delicious milk chocolate coated into a sugary, crunchy shell. I should probably go ahead and buy a bag of these before they disappear- I'll hide them somewhere in the house and crack 'em open when I get back from "Asia Minor." 
4.     Indian Chicken dishes from Trader Joe's: If you don't have a Trader Joe's in your area, just know that you are to be pitied. This grocery store is amazing. All the stuff is organic, it's pretty cheap, and they have the best ethnic food section I've ever encountered. Enter: Indian Chicken dishes. Specifically Chicken Tiki Masala. Yuuummmm. So good. Luckily, there is also a Paneer version, so I'll just have to satisfy myself with that for 40 days
5.     Surprise Bacon in Salads and Soups: Last, but certainly not least, I will miss not having to be rigorous in my soup and salad procurement at local area restaurants. See, a lot of the times, they don't list bacon as an ingredient, but just let it pop up as a delicious and welcomed surprise. You'll be spearing limp lettuce greens and hit a bacon jackpot- it's like the lotto. Anyways, I will now have to grill every person who waits on me at a restaurant, narrowly determining whether or not any kind of dead animal could be lurking underneath the spinach leaves. 

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