All I have to say is, it was hard. As in, really, really, really hard.
I know I¿need to realign my priorities when giving up what had become twice weekly trips to a Mexican restaurant counts as a sacrifice, but that’s where I was, and praise the Lord, He accepts all of us as we are, queso gluttons included.
But despite my love for chips, salsa, queso and pollo California, I¿succeeded. Seriously, not one time during Lent did I cave and eat any form of Mexican food, unless you count a handful of Tostitos I got out of a co-worker’s desk drawer. Thanks, Bob.
I knew it would be difficult, but I didn’t know how much it would change my routine. I cook a lot more often than I¿used to, and most days, I find that I even enjoy it. I also actually like leftovers, and I¿make a pretty good grilled cheese when there is nothing else to cook. That being said, there is still usually that one day every week when cooking or anything similarly domestic just seems like so much work. Why bake chicken when the kind folks at Don Señor have a big basket of tortilla chips ready to go when you walk through the door?
I would say that five or six days a week, no Mexican food was no problem. But, let me tell you, on those other days, I was praying for strength.
In addition to my one or two nights a week of Mexican food for dinner, I was getting into a lunch time queso routine with my buddy, Sun reporter Katie Perkowski. Seriously, nothing helps you make it through the second half of the work day like a chicken fajita quesadilla. Good food, and the chance to just sit and talk, both things we love. When I¿told her about my Lenten plan, she tried to convince me to give up something else, anything but Don Señor.
On multiple occasions, I could feel myself start to say, “Do you want to get que...,” but I managed to stop before the words were out of my mouth. I felt like an addict. Can a person actually become addicted to cheese?
Then, somehow, some way, before I¿knew it, Easter week was upon us. Easter is a wonderful, beautiful day, and I¿always look forward to it, but this year, I was counting down the days like a kid waiting for Santa Claus. Really, we should all be that fired up about Easter every year, and I guess that’s one of the reasons for the Lenten fast, to make Easter and the risen Savior enter our minds daily. Even giving up something small like Don Señor (it seemed hard to me, but I’m trying to keep things in perspective) meant I couldn’t just mindlessly go through my routine. I am always in favor of more thinking.
But by Saturday night, I¿had reached a bad place. Even breakfast at Cracker Barrel that morning couldn’t quell my need for Mexican food. Pancakes are delicious, but, I’m sorry, they just cannot compete with chips and salsa and queso.
I¿had always just assumed Lent lasted until Easter Sunday, but I started thinking — could that technically mean it was over Saturday night?
Naturally, I set to work doing some research. There were varying answers. Some sites claimed Lent was actually over the Thursday before Easter, known as Maundy Thursday, while others said sunset on Saturday.
I¿also learned that Lent is actually 46 days long, and you are allowed to break the fast on Sundays. I had no idea, but it’s probably a good thing I didn’t. I can just see all the loopholes I could find in that rule and, when you start looking for loopholes, you’re heading down a slippery slope. At least, I know myself well enough to know that I¿would be.
Granted, I probably didn’t look hard enough, but I did not find any sites that led me to believe I¿would have to wait until after church on Sunday to get my fix. Judge me if you want, but at about 8 p.m. on
Saturday, I was in a booth at Don Señor. I bypassed the menu, ordered queso from the first person I could see, and drank three cups of Diet Coke.
It was truly glorious.