A New Take on Lenten Dinners
I remember Friday fish Lenten dinners around the Catholic home front when I was growing up. They were simple fare and, because I usually gave up sweets for Lent, there were no cookies, candies, or ice cream lying around to tempt me.
Not so at our local Catholic church! Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Carmel Valley has offered Friday Lenten dinners to their parish and community members for the last nine years. Each Friday, except Good Friday, there is a different Sicilian oriented menu which always has a salad, a fish entree, usually a pasta and garlic bread accompaniment, wine and beer (for those who so desire) AND desserts, as in varied and plentiful. “Eat your heart out, Catholic-Lynn-of-my-youth.” There is also music provided by a singer/ guitarist, or two, and at times an impromptu song by a talented parishioner.
I love these meals–not only because the food is very good (quite amazing considering that a crew of amateur, though talented, parishioner chefs is doing the barbecuing and cooking), but also because of the camaraderie and community feeling of the event. Many church members attend but there are always many other attendees from the neighborhood. Anywhere from 100 to 150 people of all ages appear each Friday and there is always a feeling of exuberance and sharing. Parishioners do the food serving and the cost of the meal is $15 to $25 dollars, depending on whether you are a wine/dessert consumer. All proceeds benefit the church and their social ministries.
SO…next year, check to see if Lenten dinners are happening in your community. Or if you find yourself in Carmel Valley and are hankering for a good meal and “up” feelings with lots of friendly folk, check to see if Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church is again doing their Lenten meals. If so, wend your way there. You, and your sweet tooth, will not be disappointed!