Sunday, March 27, 2011

Family Customs For Lent

Spring may not have made a commitment to New York just yet, but regardless of the weather, it’s that time of year again: Lent. Looking for a fish dish for Fridays? Fish or a meatless meal has always been a tradition during Lent.

In memory of the Crucifixion of Christ, Friday became a day of abstinence. One day of the week was to be set aside by early Christians to link themselves with the tragic death of Jesus, which was on Good Friday.

My family was a good model of a Catholic household. My brothers went to Catholic School. I was in the choir of our church and also taught religion to the second grade Communion class. Went to Church on Sunday with the family and received all of our Sacraments. We always participated in holy days of obligation. And we always managed to eat fish or a meatless meal on Fridays.

When I was young, much to my dismay, this meant that a tuna fish or egg salad sandwich was in my lunchbox, which the smell permeated everything including any cookies or fruit. I hated this part of Lent. But, of course, Lent is about penance. Lent is also about giving, but I tried to give up my sandwich but none of my classmates wanted my tuna or egg salad sandwich either.

It was not always fish on Fridays. Sometimes my mother would change the menu on Fridays and we would have for dinner English Muffin pizza’s, or grilled cheese sandwiches with a tomato salad. Which the latter was my favorite. Gooey cheese coming out of the toasted bread. The tomato salad was cut up in cubes and mixed with cucumbers, olive oil and oregano. I do remember many a times when Mom would prepare fish and we would be eating it, she would say to my brothers and myself, “do not talk while you are eating the fish”. We always asked her why and she would say that sometimes there might be some small bones in whatever fish she made for dinner and she didn’t want us to swallow them. This really didn’t make much sense when we were young, but now it does. My Mother was very wise. Even today if we are eating fish in her company, we will tease her and say “don’t talk while you are eating the fish”, which gets everyone laughing and memories are made once again.

One of my favorite fish meals that my Mom cooks is her Baked Salmon recipe. It is a very good source of fatty acids like Omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids reduces inflammation of the arteries and digestive system, reduces the chance of cancer of the colon, prostrate and kidneys etc., improves skin texture, adds shining to your eyes, skin, hair and nails and helps in the growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon. The fatter the salmon, the more nutritious and healthy it is.

So as Friday’s come and go in this season of Lent, here is my Mother’s recipe for her Baked Salmon. It is really easy and so tasty. It melts in your mouth.

Baked SalmonDirections:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Tear off a piece of aluminum foil a little larger than twice the size of salmon. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray. Place the salmon in the middle of the foil.
Add your seasonings, (example: lemon pepper, spices) butter or other ingredients you wish to bake the salmon with. Take the two opposite edges of the foil and bring them together over the piece of salmon. Fold the edges down several times, creating a seal.
Take the two remaining open ends and fold to seal together. Place the foil-wrapped salmon on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

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