Celebrating the Christian Year with Food

I was thrilled to discover  the book A Continual Feast by Evelyn Birge Vitz. It's a great match for my passion for honoring the rhythm of the church year and for creating in the kitchen and trying new foods. Maybe this suits you also? The author speaks of fasting and the giving up of particular foods during the season of Lent. The giving up of certain foods and culinary pleasures can enhance this period of prayer and turning to God. If you are keeping everything simple during this season--including your meals--you might appreciate this recipe included in the cookbook.

Lentils with Cumin and Coriander

1 cup dried lentils
5 cups water
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, shopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper

It was for a dish probably quite like this one that Esau sold his birthright (Genesis 25). Lentils especially strongly spiced, were a popular dish at the time of Christ.

Rinse the lentils and carefully pick over to remove any pebbles.

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add lentils and boil for 2 minutes, then remove them from the heat and set aside for 1 hour.

In the meantime, saute onions and garlic in olive oil. When the lentils have soaked for 1 hour, add the onions, garlic, cumin, and coriander to the pan with the lentils.

Cook, partly covered, for 1 hour more, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are quite soft and the water is mostly absorbed. Add more water if necessary to keep the dish from drying out too much, but the mixture should be thick.

Add salt and freshly ground pepper; taste for seasoning.

Yield: 4-6 servings.

What is served at the table when we break bread together can be a visual reminder of the season of the church year at your church dinners and in our homes. Cooking, serving and sharing food enriches our lives in many ways...even during Lent.