Posts Tagged ‘Mardi Gras’

To celebrate Fat Tuesday, the Bride joined us for a quick Korean lunch of Bibimbap!

After trying out an Uzbekistan restaurant with our Germantown crew last week, we all decided to meet for dinner every month at a new and/or unusual place. Bob and I get to choose the next March culinary pit stop, so I asked my creative daughter for her thoughts – and I am paraphrasing here but – this famous Nashville chef, Deb Paquette, who owns Etch and Jasper’s to name a few famous restaurants has said that Korea House is her all-time favorite! And it’s right in our neighborhood.

I thought about Ada and her friends meeting at a NJ diner every Tuesday, and how I used to join them when I was in town. It was sad to see their numbers diminish over the years, but that sense of predictability and camaraderie appealed to me. Also not having to cook was a bonus. Is this another sign that I am aging; like watching Jeopardy? I think it’s more of a need to stay connected with our Italian cohorts since we moved a few miles away.

My foster parents used to go out to dinner, at the other diner in town and yes NJ has LOTS of diners, almost every Sunday. I would order the exact, same thing every time, veal parmigiana. That was before I learned about veal being a baby calf only six to eight months old and all. I must say that shopping and cooking for your family was not layered with climate or ethical considerations back in the day. I was supposed to clean my plate and that I did because they, the Greatest Generation, endured the Great Depression.

Which meant that nothing went to waste!

I remember giving up PIZZA for Lent, and I remember a priest rubbing ashes on my forehead on Ash Wednesday, and all the statues getting covered in purple cloth at Sacred Heart Church. I’d never been to a Mardi Gras festival until we started traveling, so the whole eat/until/you/burst idea never came up in my childhood… except for the cleaning your plate problem. And Nell never allowed booze in the house, so Shrove Tuesday, aka Fat or Pancake Tuesday, was news to me, but think about it. It almost feels like Yom Kippur.

The whole making your confession thing and asking for absolution – only instead of not eating anything for a day, Christians give up their favorite food until Easter arrives. And then watch out, it’s chocolate bunnies and Cadbury eggs galore! Fasting seems to be a big part of most religions, either for a month or a day; in retrospect, deprivation should lead us to enlightenment, or hallucinations at least. Fat Tuesday, yesterday, was the end of Mardi Gras season, and it makes sense that the custom of drinking and dancing and throwing beads around was just this new Christian faith adapting to pagan Roman rituals.

“After Christianity arrived in Rome, old traditions were incorporated into the new faith and debauchery became a prelude to the Lenten season. This fusion resulted in a hedonistic period of boozing, masquerading and dancing with a heavy dose of religion.”


On Fat Tuesday the world witnessed our President standing in Poland, after visiting a war zone, and talking about meeting the Pope. He was met with a large cheering crowd, wrapped in blue and yellow Ukraine flags while he spoke about freedom. In contrast, the Russian imperialist sat while giving his state of the Russian state speech to a small group of elites in a strangely blue ballroom. He touted lies with impunity and said the West started the war in Ukraine, and I find it hard to believe the Russian people accept this nonsense propaganda.

Following the breakup of the USSR, the numbers of Russians identifying as Orthodox Christians has surged every year. Russian Orthodoxy was the main religion in Ukraine, until the Ukraine Orthodox church recently split from Russia… after 300 years. Instead of fostering healing, peace and diplomacy, Christianity has taken sides.

Ukrainians are not only giving up their brave men and women, their livelihoods and their schools and homes to Russian bombs, during Lent they are expected to abstain from meat, meat by-products, poultry, eggs, and dairy products! I wonder how many soldiers, on both sides, will be getting ashes smeared across their foreheads today. The online Britannica tells us that “The ashes serve as a memento mori and are often accompanied with some variation of the words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” … Ash Wednesday is an obligatory day of fasting and abstinence, where only one full meal and no meat are to be consumed.”

We are all stardust, we are all peace seeking humans. But there are times to pick a side, to stand up to a bully. Silence and indifference must never win again.

This was yesterday on our favorite French island!

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