My children gave up cabbage for Lent.
My symbolic sacrifice has been chocolate in other years, and I can recommend that.It feels slightly smug and totally masochistic to deny oneself such a sensory pleasure for six weeks,
The only downside is, that you hope that your Easter egg will be the one that you have hinted at and longed after, for the last six weeks and if it isn’t there is a long way down, or a long way to find any shop that still has a decent Easter Egg on Bank Holiday Monday.
And that’s where you find the Lenten glow – the appreciation and value invested into that first mouthful of chocolate, the time taken to savour the first silky mouthful after weeks of denial, and the lingering aftertaste, that nothing can beat, until the next mouthful. But for the rest of the year nothing can beat that first taste, after the long denial.
We have plenty of cheap food and a huge variety, year round strawberries,and Big Eat crisps and I do question the relevance of denying oneself. Surely this is a redundant ritual, a sacrifice no longer needed with failsafe fertilisers and 24 hour food. But isn’t that the point? It means we can appreciate again our good fortune and how far we have come. The fact that Lent does end, and we are ‘allowed’ to savour our pleasures again is the point, when for so many in the world the fast doesn’t end, and pleasures of the table are few and far between.
And on that note – shouldn’t chocolate, coming as it does from some of the poorest regions in the world, be the last thing that we give up for Lent?? Next year it will be Starbucks Hazelnut Soy Lattes that I deny myself. Or cabbage.