Today I will not be writing on leadership, quality assurance, diversity or any other serious subject that I usually offer perspective. Nope, this article is designated for travels through the islands of nostalgia and silliness. Like many, I too become overwhelmed with the tragedies, politics and the complexities of our everyday world, so when I received the inspiration go off track, I followed my instincts and started writing away.
A Lenten Story
Taking a page from that famous holiday movie, A Christmas Story, perhaps one day a script will be written and a movie made for my experiences with the Lent season. Who knows every Easter a cable station will play it continuously 24 hours every Easter. Although I’ve wandered from the flock, on an occasional Sunday I might attend mass and of course place a donation in the church basket. To think I was raised to be a good Catholic boy and follow and observe all rules – Oh well. This brings me to Lent. As a youngster I was not a fan of the time period between Valentine’s Day and Easter, as it meant doom and gloom; especially adhering to the religious policies in not eating meat on Ash Wednesday and the consecutive string of six Fridays.
Now back in the early ’60s in my neighborhood there was no filet of fish sandwiches, fish and chips, nachos and for some reason, quesadillas were not options. During Fridays in Lent at Catholic school, the main entree of my bag lunch would either feature a peanut butter and jelly, tuna, or plain cheese (not grilled) sandwich. I recall feeling guilty if I guarded and careful not enjoy oneself. I won’t get started how in Lent one would also be required to sacrifice something during this period – Hey, isn’t not eating meat on Friday enough, and what in the heck did I do anyway? As a kid it was so confusing to make sense that quickly as the clock became Easter Sunday, the Easter Bunny emerged with candy, followed by the tradition hunt for colored hard boil eggs in the weeds and grass of our backyard.
From Lent to Fake Meat
The idea to start this article about Lent; actually derived from the recent fast-food promotions of Burger Kings Impossible Whopper with fake meat and KFC’s fake fried chicken. As a meat lover, I was pleased that the plant-based meat substitute was now available and being marketed. I admit being hypocritical in how I am animal lover, yet enjoy eating meat. An Impossible Whopper how I wish I be back in parochial school on a Friday in Lent sitting in front one of my nun teachers, then taking a big bite out of my Whopper – Touché!
I started thinking of my first introduction of fake food or should I say unconventional food.
In the ’60s during the early days of space program we learned of non-conventional meals being eaten by the astronauts, Tang a citrus drink was being marketing as a futuristic drink. I recall going camping and the sporting goods store had all these products that all one needed to do is boil and open up a pouch. Of course, the packaging seemed too enticing – I would wonder why do we have to go camping and just eat these at home.
Some of you might ask why didn’t we use a microwave, well that appliance wasn’t in everyone’s kitchen until the mid-eighties. Before that Jiffy Pop was King of popcorn made at home. My fellow Baby Boomers out there might remember having to shake this product over a stove burner for five minutes or so until the tinfoil would expand and produce popcorn. No matter the shaker’s finesse one always ended up with burnt kernels.
In high school Gatorade was introduced as the ideal sports drinks for athletes, so after football practice off to the store, we went to buy and drink this weird flavored citrus drink. Now Gatorade has conquered the beverage market and can be found everywhere for everybody in a variety of flavors. Gatorade has reached the pinnacle to be featured as the ritual of game celebrations. I’ve never received a Gatorade shower, but I can only imagine my first stop would be to take a real shower.
What’s next, Sizzler will introduce the Fake Steak and Rack of Ribs – but since plastic is a no-no these days what materials will they use to make bones? I just saw an advertisement for plant-based beef jerky, so Lent will be a breeze next year.