Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Nonna used To Say...

Got Agita? It's Not What You Eat; It's What Eats You

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lent: Simple Meals Of Self-Denial

It seems as though we just took down the last red bow and ate the final Christmas cookie, and here it is just weeks before Lent/Easter begins. How different these two liturgical seasons are.  Try as I might to focus on the true meaning of Advent & Christmas, I tend to get caught up in the hype and do more partying than praying. And the consumes my senses. Advent/Christmas bursts into my life, twirls me around and around, then pulls out in a blur. This coming season is different.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday with the words, "Remember: you are dust and unto dust you will return."  It is a time of reflection, meditation and prayer. If time is put aside to contemplate the true meaning of this Holy Season, it is a cleansing experience. In my family, tradition has it that we visit an odd number of churches on Holy Thursday....just to sit and contemplate the significance of that night and the days to come. Good Friday is spent in quiet meditation and prayer esp. during the hours of Noon & 3 PM when Jesus was crucified. On Saturday, we break our fast late in the afternoon as we gather for a meal of Italian cold cuts, special cheese and meat pies (Pizza Rustica & Pizza Di Grano), stuffed artichokes, hard boiled eggs and other simple foods. The sadness and solemnity of Lent is broken with the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday.
"The Salad of Lent" was published in France around 1520. It offered a allegorical interpretation of the penitential dishes of the Lenten season. The salad represented the Word of God, which gives courage. Fried beans symbolized the reception of the sacrament of penance. The puree added to Lenten dishes, passed through a strainer, brought to mind, "the resolution of abstaining from sin." The expensive fish dish, lamprey, foretold the release from sin, the price of which requires the ceasing of all bitterness. The seasoning of Lenten soups and sauces with saffron represented the joy of heaven. The thought of the joy of heaven was essential for good "spiritual soup". (The Magnificat Lenten Companion 2010)
Lent is a time to sacrifice by fasting or at least to eat less, it is an Act of Voluntary Self-Denial. Fridays are put aside to fast from meat. That doesn't mean that a Lobster Dinner is the way to go. I was taught to eat a simple meal that does not include meat.
There was a time when meat was not eaten on any Friday throughout the year. So, many non-meat suppers have been passed down and now each Lenten Season those simple recipes are dusted off and prepared once again. It is a time to enjoy Pasta Fagioli minus the ham, Mozzarella in Carozza, Pizza Margherita or Caramelized Onion & Blue Cheese Pizza, Linguine & Clam Sauce, Pasta with Anchovies & Cauliflower. The most traditional dishes before the grand finale, Easter Dinner, are Stuffed Artichokes and Spaghetti Pie. So although, Lent is a time of sacrifice and must feed the body as well as the soul.

Mozzarella In Carozza

1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into slices (about 8)
Eight slices white or wheat sandwich bread
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt & garlic powder
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (add more if needed)

This is like preparing French Toast.  Beat the eggs and cream in a bowl.  Add salt and garlic powder. Mix. Dip two slices of bread in the egg mixture. Fry one side in olive oil. Be careful not to burn the oil. Flip the slices of bread over, and place two slices of mozzarella on the cooked side of one slice of bread and place the other slice of bread (the fried side) over the mozzarella. Press it down slightly with a spatula so the cheese melts. Fry both sides until golden brown. Repeat with remaining bread and mozzarella. Place on a plate with a paper towel.  Serve with a tomato salad. Peaches in syrup is also good with this sandwich.
Makes 4 servings

***Come back again for my post: Holy Saturday Spaghetti Pie***

Pin It
Remember To Make Memories At The Table


  1. Now see what you went ahead and did. I will need to make this for lent since I haven't had it in a few years.
    Just think, you will be with Jared for Holy Saturday and Easter this year. Tell him he needs to find a good Italian Deli :)

  2. This recipe brings back great memories, doesn't it Joan? I prepare this not just at Lent. Looking forward to your Easter pie! N

  3. One of my favorite holidays(Holy Days);for what it represents and for the food. Mozzarella and Carozza -haven't had that forever!