Lent season is upon us. I personally find beauty in the annual ritual of selecting and making a sacrifice for a higher power. For me, it’s a time to reflect on my daily choices and give back some form of tiding for the blessings that I receive. This practice typically involves food.
I attempted this process once before back in high school. My youth preacher asked the group to give something up for Lent and after careful consideration I selected Sprite. This may seem trivial but soft drinks are very important to a teenager and Sprite was my absolute favorite.
I rose to the challenge and was proud of my daily sacrifice for my faith. However, once my friends who were not participating caught on to what I was doing the temptations grew exponentially. They made fun of me, taunted me and tried everything in their power to get me to drink Sprite. They even hid it in cups trying to trick me. Needless to say, I eventually succumbed to the pressure. Despite my good intentions, I failed.
I’ve decided to give it another shot now that I’m older, wiser and not surrounded by rebellious teenagers. The only tempting party will be myself. I’ve racked my brain for weeks trying to decide what offering could be challenging but not impossible. I considered giving up sweets, fried food and carbs. However, I didn’t want it to feel like a punishing diet in the name of Lent.
This morning it finally dawned on me what my sacrifice should be…..red meat. A lot of factors went into this particular choice. As you may already know, I recently lived in Argentina for six months. Our rental home was situated right next to an agricultural center where they conducted cattle auctions. They were always held at night and you could hear the cows being driven in, lots of mooing and the auctioneer rattling off bids in Spanish into the wee hours of the night.
There were also two dogs who lived on the rental property that we took care of while there. On at least three occasions, a mysterious leg or rib cage would show up in the yard the morning after an auction. The dogs would just be lying around, casually gnawing on what appeared to be very fresh meat of something that was very recently alive.😱
This was shocking to see. I mean, a dog running up to you with a leg dangling out of its mouth is a bit jarring first thing in the morning when you’re trying to feed the chickens. That brings me to another point. After taking care of animals that supply you with food, such as fresh eggs, you gain more appreciation for them. You respect the farm to table process. You start to question where the food you conveniently purchase in the grocery store actually comes from. You wonder how in the heck did that cow’s hoof wind up in your yard?!?!?
Third, ground beef really bothers me sometimes. I hate seeing all of the blood in the package when I buy it. It just looks so violent. I love dishes with beef but don’t always like cooking with it. Same with steak and roast.
Fourth, I’ve been seeing a lot of stories in the media lately about how eating less meat can help the environment. Joaquin Phoenix has been trying to raise awareness in his rewards show speeches about animal rights and taking better care of the planet. He described the anguish of a calf being torn away from it’s mother after giving birth so we can enjoy milk in our morning coffee and cereal. I did feel more than a little guilty at breakfast the next morning. Does coffee creamer count? Food for thought. 🤔
In the same vein, I also recently read a post on WordPress by Liza Monroy titled “Soli/dairy/ty” about this very issue. Of how we don’t really think about the conditions in which our milk is produced. You assume that dairy cows have unlimited milk on tap but after reading more into it figure out that, like us, in order for a cow to be lactating they must have recently given birth. Now Joaquin’s speech starts to make more sense. We don’t want to think about these things but it’s becoming harder to ignore.
So this is how it all came together for me to offer red meat as my sacrifice for Lent. I even checked out a book at the library to help with the cause. It’s called Meat-Less and it’s about how to incorporate more vegetarian foods into your lifestyle. I even got my two year old a vegetable alphabet book. She may be giving up red meat by default.😏
So, for Fat Tuesday I decided to make baked bean casserole with ground beef. It was delicious and a good sendoff for my 40 day red meat fast. You can find the recipe below. I may have to repeat without the meat during Lent. Enjoy and wish me luck!🤞💜🍴
BBQ baked bean casserole
Pour two cans of baked beans into a casserole dish. I used Van Camp’s.
Add browned ground beef. I used a half pound of chuck.
Add sautéed bell pepper and onion.
Add a few shakes of powdered mustard and half a bottle of bbq sauce. I used Kraft original.
Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.😋
Mood Ring Kitchen
I’m a self teaching home cook and aspiring foodie entrepreneur. I enjoy coming up with creative ways to prepare flavorful food such as snacks, desserts and everything in between. Cooking is a way for me to challenge myself and satisfy curiosities about different ingredients.
The hope is to produce something thoughtful, memorable or every once in a while maybe even wonderful. I enjoy following my “gut” and exploring new recipes that can be comforting, exciting and nourishing. Above all else, I enjoy exploring the emotions surrounding food and writing about those experiences. 😝👩🍳👩💻