My family became close to another family, The Charleses, through church. We go vacation together annually and they’re almost like family. The second-youngest Charles daughter was getting married and the Charleses were stunned to discover that our pastor, Father Shelby, refused to marry them in the church during lent. “But we’re Episcopalians! We don’t let things like that get in between us and what we want and we want a spring wedding!”

It eventually became such a big deal that it contributed to Father Shelby’s ouster a couple years later. The new pastor wisely did not follow Shelby’s policy.

I’d always thought of Lent as primarily a Catholic thing, I’m not sure why. All I really knew about it growing up was that it began right after the Pancake Supper and before the Easter Eggs. Looking back I remember fish on Friday, but I didn’t know that there was a connection except that it was something that the Pope told us to do, even though we were dissidents from the Pope’s command. It’s all kind of a haze.

Anyhow, Estacado has a relatively high proportion of Catholics due to its significant immigration population and those fast food positions that are not taken up by high school (and some college) students are generally filled with Latinos. Often Catholic Latinos.

My coworker Pat has resorted to planning where she eats on Fridays based on Lent-based customer traffic. Long John Silvers, for instance, is a very poor place to eat lunch on a Friday in Estacado for Lent. Taco Bell has special Lent meat-free offerings that I’d never seen before arriving here, though maybe I missed it, as does this other regional chain. Pat even has to avoid those places or find meatless entres because they will often put the order through without meat either because they assume she wants it that way or she ought to want it that way. She has apparently resorted to going to burger places cause, obnoxious in-your-face vegetarians aside, it’s a safe bet that you don’t order a Big Mac without the actual meat so it’s impossible for anyone to assume that’s what you ordered.

It reminds me of the whole debate regarding pharmacists that object to dispensing birth control pills and the like. One proposed solution was to allow individual pharmacists to decline to fill the prescription but require that each pharmacy be required to have at least one pharmacist under their employ that will fill it out. Maybe local restaurants can do the same, “Hey Mike, this guy wants to order meat, can you take over the register for a minute?”

Category: Kitchen

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6 Responses to Giving Up Convenience For Lent

  1. Peter says:

    I’m not particularly religious, yet even so the idea of giving up something for Lent is not completely devoid of appeal. Self-denial has a certain appeal on character-building grounds that is not entirely dependent on a religion.

  2. Spungen says:

    Huh. Your Latino Catholics must be more observant than our Latino Catholics, because I haven’t noticed any similar effect. Although I don’t go to a lot of inexpensive fish places for lunch on Friday, either. I went to a sushi place yesterday, and didn’t notice any particular crowd.

    It shouldn’t affect restaurant employees, because there’s no sin in preparing meat or giving it to someone else. You’re just not supposed to eat it yourself. I don’t even think it’s necessarily a sin if you do, it’s just a strong recommendation. Like the giving up of something for Lent, same deal.

  3. Peter says:

    It shouldn’t affect restaurant employees, because there’s no sin in preparing meat or giving it to someone else. You’re just not supposed to eat it yourself.

    There’s a big fuss going on right now in Brooklyn, right before Passover, because a matzo factory hired a worker who might not have been Jewish. She was an immigrant from Russia who claimed to be Jewish, but apparently questions soon arose as to whether she was telling the truth. The factory immediately fired her when the questions arose, but by then she had helped produce thousands of Passover matzos. Anyone who ate the matzos committed the Jewish equivalent of a mortal sin, even though doing so was totally unintentional.

  4. trumwill says:

    Ever year I intend to give up something for Lent, but I never do. I agree that it’s good to go without from time to time.

    To be blunt, I’d never considered Latino Catholics to be all that devout, thinking it as much a cultural thing as a religious thing (Hey! Like Episcopalians!). But at least the ones around here seem to be more serious about it.

  5. Peter says:

    I don’t know if this is true in your area, but here in the Northeast fundamentalist Protestant churches have made big inroads among the Hispanic population. You can’t go far in any Spanish-speaking area without seeing an Iglesia de Dios.

  6. Hit Coffee » Dining Where You’re At says:

    […] k… and there aren’t many places you can get good duck. During my conversation the other day with Pat, I mentioned that El Taco Patio, a very prevalent Mexican food chain in the area, […]

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