It’s that time of the year again.
chocolate-banana vegan pancake, Shrove Tuesday 2017
I like the idea of Lent, of spending a period focusing on something different from your ‘normal’ life in the hope that you emerge somehow as a ‘better’ person. Traditionally, the day before Lent is designated Fat Tuesday, or the French would say Mardi Gras*, when the rich foods (such as eggs & butter) are eaten to get them out of the house in preparation for a period of fasting, penitence and abstinence. daiskmeliadorn pointed out to me that for a vegan to eat pancakes on Mardi Gras is a little inappropriate, given that a vegan pancake wouldn’t contain those rich ingredients anyway.
I am a traditionalist in many ways, however, and I couldn’t resist the symbolic act of pancake consumption, almost as though the eating of the pancake was an acceptance of the absolution.
I didn’t have any of the egg replacement recommended by daiskmeliadorn (ground flax seed) so I used an alternative no-egg vegan pancake recipe. It wasn’t great, but the addition of banana and chocolate (fair trade vegan, 85% cocoa) probably rescued it as far as the rest of my omnivore family were concerned.
So what does a vegan, this vegan in particular, give up for Lent?
daiskmeliadorn suggested giving up rocket and spinach might be an appropriate penitential sacrifice. I gave up broccoli a few of years ago, but given the parlous state of my physical health at the moment, I’m reluctant to rule any nutritious food out of my life, even for a few weeks. So I have decided instead to attempt to give up criticising other people and organisations. I am not, however, simply going to put on some rose-coloured glasses and pretend that all’s right with the world. I will still think critically about actions and statements, but where I had been inclined to jump in and criticise an individual or organisation, I will instead spend some time trying to figure out why they are behaving/speaking that way. What is the good outcome they are seeking? How might their actions be slightly modified or words be better expressed to give a more positive result. Mr Trump, I’m looking at you…but there’s lots of examples close to home that will challenge me to find the good in the badly expressed.
I will also use the Lenten period for self-examination., perhaps focussing on why I am too inclined to be critical of others.
*The connection between Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) and the festival of the same name which is now a major LGBTIQ event in Sydney, is not immediately clear to me. One day I will investigate, but the historical facts are rather irrelevant – there’s no direct connection now except for the time of the year in which they occur.