They say the spiritual essence of Fat Tuesday has been lost in the secular swirl of obvious merriment preceding Lent.
Yet in the run up to researching this year’s Fat Tuesday recipes, I stumbled over a wonderful “Mardi Gras Prayer” for the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It turned up on the Creighton University site http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/Lent/mardigras.html and it really shone a light on the fact that if we use it right, our Fat Tuesday feasting anticipates our fasting.
I tacked this prayer up on the bulletin board here at work and also included the major portion of it in The Monitor’s Prayers of the Week section. I’m so happy to be able to share it with KTF’s visitors:
A Mardi Gras Prayer
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for it is from your goodness that we have this day to celebrate on the threshold of the Season of Lent.
Tomorrow, we will fast and abstain from meat. Today, we feast. We thank you for the abundance of gifts you shower upon us. We thank you especially for one another. As we give you thanks, we are mindful of those who have so much less than we do. As we share these wonderful gifts together, we commit ourselves to greater generosity toward those who need our support.
Prepare us for tomorrow. Tasting the fullness of what we have today, let us experience some hunger tomorrow. May our hunger make us more alert and may it heighten our consciousness so that we might be ready to hear your word and respond to your call.
As our feasting fills us with gratitude so may our fasting and abstinence hollow out in us a place for deeper desires and an attentiveness to hear the cry of the poor. may our self-denial turn our hearts to you and give us a new freedom for generous service to others.
We ask you these graces with our hearts full of delight and stirring with readiness for the journey ahead. We ask them with confidence in the name of Jesus the Lord.
I plan to make the prayer a special part of this year’s Fat Tuesday celebrations, sharing it with everyone who stops by our house for a taste of “fat food” on Tuesday.
Since my brother Pete and I both have to maintain low fat diets for health reasons, this is the one day when we really relish endulging in the kind of food we once regularly consumed: whole eggs, bacon, cheese, heavy cream and the like.
Every year at this time, I dig into my treasure trove of cook books and prize out two of the all-time favorites by a wonderful Bayou writer and cook — Marcelle Bienvenu.
She is the author of “Who’s Your MaMa, Are You A Catholic and Can You Make A Roux?” and co-author with Emeril Lagasse of “Louisiana Real and Rustic, Emeril’s Creole Christmas, and Emeril’s TV Dinners.”
On Fat Tuesday, choose one of her specialities: French Fried Potato Omelet or Eggs Beauregard
French Fried Potato Omelet
Ingredients: 1 russet potato, peeled or unpeeled according to your taste and cut as for French fries; canola oil; 3 whole eggs; 2 tablespoons cold water; salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste.
Directions: Fry the potatoes in enough oil to deep fry. When they are golden brown, remove and drain on paper towels. In a small blow, beat the eggs with water and poor over the potatoes in a hot, oiled skillet. Give a couple of stirs and fold over. Season with salt, pepper and tabasco.
Ingredients: 1-1/2 cups chopped celery; 1/2 cup chopped sweet green pepper; 4 tablespoons sweet butter; 1 -1/2 cups heavy cream; 4 whole eggs; 1 cup grated cheese such as Cheddar, Swiss or Colby. Salt and pepper to taste.
Directions: In an 8-inch skillet, saute the celery and sweet pepper in butter until transparent. Spread the vegetables evenly on the bottom of the skillet. Pour in the cream but do not stir. Allow cream to set. Drop whole eggs a couple of inches apart and let them poach in the cream. When the eggs are cooked to the desired doneness, sprinkly with grated cheese. Cover the skillet and let cook for a few more minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, cut pie-shaped slices, making sure to have one egg in each slice.