Every year, Max and I make a nod to our shared Irish Catholic heritage and give up something for Lent. This year it's a biggie: alcohol. For a food writer who usually drinks wine with almost every meal, this one is a challenge. We did it once before, but it was before food and wine were such a big part of our lives.
We're only a few days in, but after the initial shock to my system (a meal out at a French bistro proved frustrating) and confusion of those around us ("why couldn't you give up something like herbs?") we are settling into our new routine.
I'm finding that I pay more attention to what I'm eating, although I eat more quickly, I drink more water, I go to bed and wake up earlier, and a feel just a tad lighter on my feet.
While I believe that wine and food are a natural love match, this forty-day break from wine will be a chance to reflect on why I eat and drink what I do, and to give my system a break. Spiritual pursuits are part of it too. There are many thoughts on the meaning and origin of lent, and many of you can probably speak more authoritatively to those aspects. One food-related origin of the fast was the simple need, in early spring, to fast as many of the foods stored from the previous autumn's harvest had either run out or gone bad.
While the quantity of the wine on our rack may be a little less these days, it has certainly not gone bad. But a break from drinking it is a chance to focus on other things, not the least of which is our food.
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