It’s Saturday night; end of the week. Work is done and it’s time to sit back and relax. Many folks head out for a night on the town, a dinner at their favorite restaurant; or maybe an order of take-out, or delivery pizza. It’s time for someone else to wait on me for a change. There’s nothing wrong with being satisfied with finishing up a good week, and enjoying a bit of rest. No, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. But something that happened last week, made me think differently about this Saturday night’s menu.
“I appreciate this so much, but I’m trying to get going; I’m afraid I’m going to run out of gas; and with this storm coming…” the lady said nervously as I filled the back seat of her car with bags of fresh fruits and vegetables from the Mid-south Food Bank as part of a project with Catholic Charities of West Tennessee. A cold front was blowing through, with storm clouds rolling in over my shoulder from the Northwest. She anxiously waited in line for more food items to be added to the back seat of her car from other volunteers; she thanked me and then added, “It sure is tough being, poor.”
I thought of this woman last night. The previous Saturday, I had run out to the corner pizza place to pick up a calzone and pizza; but, last night? I made homemade pizza instead of take-out. I took the time to slice, dice, sauté, etc. I made the effort to make a meal. The lady in the car most likely did not have the luxury of heading out for pizza last night; why should I?
Pope Francis has suggested that we keep the poor in mind this coming Lent. In his radio address of February 4th, 2014 he tells us: “Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.”
So, I’m thinking of fasting from fast-food, for this coming Lent. It seems like a worthy sacrifice to abstain from the chain’s burgers and fries, which are not made with love, I read the other day. Fresher food ingredients, made with love, with a connection to my community, rich and poor alike. And by the way, my pizza of angels is Friday’s-of-Lent worthy: vegetables, no meat.
Pre-made pizza crust, sliced mushrooms, Roma tomato, fresh chopped spinach, minced garlic, shredded mozzarella cheese, spaghetti sauce, olive oil.
Lightly smear olive oil over the pizza crust. Sauté minced garlic, mushrooms, and spinach in olive oil. Spread spaghetti sauce over pizza crust, add shredded cheese, mushrooms, spinach and sliced tomatoes. Place in pre-heated oven @ 400. Bake for 10 minutes.
Voila! And Mamma Mia! 10 times better than delivery pizza, I guarantee. And in a way, it cost me a little bit in effort, and time. But, I felt better for making it, instead of just picking it up at the pizzeria.