I don’t normally observe the annual Shrove/pancake/ fat Tuesday routine. To me, it’s always been, as Curiosity Killed The Cat would say, just another ordinary day. Nor have I ever thought about giving anything up for Lent – not for any anti-religious purpose, just because I couldn’t be bothered thinking about sacrifices. Well, that’s about to change. This year, I’m going all ‘austerity’ and embracing hunger.
I don’t mean that to sound flippant, pious or patronising; there is neither a political nor a charitable motivation, it’s not about solidarity or empathy. It’s not about trying to make anyone feel guilty either. It is, perhaps, my acceptance that gluttony is too easy for those of us fortunate enough to be able to buy food. Even that sounds vaguely Bono-like. All I mean is that I’d like to take ownership of my own hunger and actually enjoy it as a controllable urge.
I actually find the process of “denying” myself food quite easy – but it’s all about mental adjustment. It’s the mentally adjusting that I find difficult. What I need to do is avoid that scourge of the desk-bound – snacking.
Meals are what I look forward to most – I love food, I love reading about food, I love cooking. It’s in my blood. I think about what’s for dinner within a few seconds of getting up every morning. This means that I spend the majority of the day feeling hungry; not necessarily rumbling of stomach and spilling coffee everywhere due to regular low blood sugar shakes – just clock-watching in anticipation of food preparation and the wonderful ritual of the family evening meal.
So I intend to enjoy the feeling of hunger for 40 days and nights after this Shrove Tuesday, and remind myself that there’s a reward at the end of it. It’s unlikely I will fade away to a shadow, but I do hope that it will help train me into extra self-control and reduce my actual intake of unnecessary food.
And then look forward to my Tony Soprano-like spaghetti blow-out come Easter.