As my regular (19!) readers know, I am not the biggest fan of Lent. That being said, I do love a good theme season, even more now since we have been in the "contagion" theme season for almost one year.
To quote my mom, I just need to "break up the monotony."
Anyway, we are not Catholic and in fact, we do not have any dietary restrictions or Lenten rituals we feel religiously compelled to follow. But, I do love fish on Fridays during Lent because of everything I mentioned above and because I like fish and fish is good for you, so I should eat more!
Which means my family has to eat more too, even under duress.
Tonight, I grabbed some cod (note: I did not catch the cod myself and I am feeling like a total failure), organic corn flakes (because that was all Whole Foods had in stock for delivery and I am a recluse) and this recipe from EatingWell to make a lightened up version of a fish sammie. There have already been some complaints; but I am optimistic everyone will LOVE it! Since it is organic (and I'll lie and say someone I know caught the fish for us.), they will eat it out of guilt.
I know that kids (and husbands) can be particular about food choices. For example, my children would prefer a filet mignon to buttered noodles any day. They will eat a meaty crab claw, but gag at the site of a crab cake.
And if the pasta is shaped like pumpkins/dump trucks/hearts/the state of New Jersey, I should just put it down the drain.
There is also an ongoing aversion to "creamy" things.
But anyway, I digress, this blog is not about my own problems, it is about helping YOU, my dedicated readers navigate Lent, get some extra Omega-3s or whatever, not choke on fish bones, break up the monotony and feed your gorgeous, albeit tricky, families!
So, without further adieu, here is my guide to feeding your family during Lent:
1. Before the rooster crows, your children will ask you three times what's for dinner.
Since this is the season of Jesus, it is really a bonus that you can explore Bible stories via mealtime. Since the are suspicious and always hungry, they will each ask you three times what's for dinner. You might think they are not listening or they suffering from some sort of childhood forgetfulness, but they know exactly what they are doing:
THEY ARE DENYING YOU JUST LIKE THAT SLIPPERY DISCIPLINE PETER.
Do not give in. They will ask you and ask you and ask you. You will start to doubt yourself and consider ordering pizza, because they are so annoying. DO NOT DO IT.
Instead, photocopy Luke 22 and hand it to them while saying "FISH WE ARE HAVING FISH."
2. Don't tell them this will happen every Friday.
There is absolutely no need to tell the children this will happen every Friday. First of all, they have so much to keep track of with Zooms and Tik Tok and dumping out everything in their drawers and not cleaning their rooms and practicing their eye rolls. They don't need the burden of meal planning!
And they also might dread it and you'll have to listen to them complaining for 40 (really 46!) days and 40 (really 46!) nights. This is completely unnecessary and while this is a season of sacrifice, you do not need to sacrifice your own fragile sanity.
3. The one who seems happy about the menu is lying.
One of my children, the one who is always smiling, is the biggest liar in the family. He will, indeed, become a politician or go into public relations or work in customer service. When he learned we are having fish on Friday, he jumped for joy!
His jumping was a diversion.
4. One will genuinely not care. They are also lying.
The one who shrugs and acts like eating fish covered in organic corn flakes is like no big deal, is also a liar. They will be the ones who scream at the table and then begin sobbing as if they are being asked to walk the plank or eat cockroaches.
5. One will develop a fish allergy.
My children have particular tastes. Tonight, one developed a "fish" allergy and suggested that we have oysters on the half shell with mignon sauce and maybe a lobster tail.
She is lying like the others.
6. DO not tell your teenage daughter the health benefits of fish.
She will immediately be offended and tell you that you are accusing her of being unhealthy, list every time she saw you eat a french fry and stalk up to her room disgusted by your existence. However, if you tell her it is unhealthy and a fun food, she will accuse you of trying to fatten her up and make her look like you. There is no winning. Just give her $20 and say nothing.
7. Don't bother to google "Fish children will love."
Doing a search on Google or Pinterest for fish your children will love, will lead you into the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. It is similar to looking up "is the earth flat." Spoiler alert: it is NOT FLAT and children don't LOVE fish.
8. Feel free to call the fish by another name.
When our children were younger, we got them to eat things other than chicken by calling it chicken. We were inspired by the oddly named "Chicken-Fried-Steak" which still confuses me. Pork was "pork-chicken" Fish was "fish-chicken." Salmon was "pink chicken." Yeah, we lied and sometimes people are disturbed when our kids discuss how much they love pink chicken! But they have strong stomachs and a varied, impossible to remember list of foods they will eat.
9. If they make you really angry, grab the Bible!
I think sometimes a little Jesus can go a long way into reminding your children that Jesus was the fisher of men and he liked fish, so they should be like Jesus and eat their freaking fish sandwich on Friday and love it.
Also, you can go ahead and pray for patience (and forgiveness!) after you shame them with Jesus. I also recommend going outside and weeping bitterly (like Jesus did after the whole Peter situation).
10. Don't be afraid to entirely give up and order pizza.
I mean, honestly, a good theme is only good if you are enjoying it. And God forgives. So order the pizza or serve them ritz crackers and an orange.