Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | February 17, 2011

Pre-Fast Discourse with my “Sole”

My foot feels it. My stomach feels it. My taste buds… well… they’re not ready, but the Lenten Fast is getting here… soon… and we’re in training.

So what do you guys talk about at the dinner… er… “training” table?

Me? As an OxWOMS type, I’m primed. I’m a “pro”. And I’m thinking back to last “season” . What a wipe out that was! I mean I discovered the 51-mile rule, and fell off the wagon. Fact is, I went over the 51-mile limit so many times they put me on the Taxi Squad. (Insert Football joke/stereotype/fan/player/coach/cheerleader here). And then I discovered a kind of liquid with an abundant similarity to milk that wasn’t: “Vanilla Soy”. My daughter’s recommendation. And best of all, I received clarification on the “we’re not eating Kosher” rules.

“Whole Foods has some kind of a fake cheese…”
“Been there… yeched that.”
“No… this one’s different. You gotta try it.”

So like I said, I’m in training. And I’ve tried their veggie pizzas. Even the ones with vegan cheese. Note that the chief virtue of vegan cheese is the Whole Foods chefs know enough to use very little of it. They’re not saying so, but this stuff still isn’t up to par and probably won’t be until I retire.

My spouse enjoys fasting seasons as a cooking challenge. And I think there’s a certain joy in watching my agony, too.Β  Well, it’s not so much agony anymore. This will be Lent Five. I’m fully “eased” in. Yep. I’m loving it so much I’m not even counting the years until my fast retirement at age 60. Did I mention how many hours and minutes that translates into? or how many fast food meals until its all pro bono? Note that I’m not even insist on moving to Florida. A little closer to the meat counter will be just fine. You don’t even have to keep the meat in it… just a grilled cheese and bacon will do.

So what’d we discuss last night? I’ve got breakfast figured out. “Sugar Pops and Chex go pretty well without milk. If the Vanilla Soy’s no good, I’ll just go dry.” Dinner – she’s in charge. “Call it beans.” That’s been more or less the real deal anyway since the fifty-year checkup I wish I’d never gone to. But lunch is another problem. Specifically there’s the crunchy thing dilemma.Β  Peanut butter, veggie burghers, salads… I’m good with all that. But every now and then you need something that’s not a cracker.

“Cheetos aren’t crackers.”
“No, they’re really not.”
“I’ll bet there’s not even any cheese in them either.”
“Yeah, I’m thinking this is even one time when the fake food police will come to my rescue.”
“What about the problem with ‘It’s got cheese in the name?'”
“I don’t know. I’m sticking with the idea that we’re fasting from foods, not words.”
“I’m thinking there’s probably some sort of milk byproduct down the list somewhere.”
“Yeah… but if it’s after the Trinity… the third word… I’m in the clear. Robert’s Rules of Fasting # 3.”
“What about Yellow Die Number Two? Do you have to stay away from that?”
“For Lent? or for health?”


And of course you know I’d never do anything, think anything, or consider anything that wasn’t on the up and up. No. Not me… the excellent ascetic.

That'll do pig. That'll do.


So today I checked out the Cheetos. They’ve got some low sodium, low saturated fat ones now… which of course implies these puppies are actually good for you. They’re certainly crunchy. And they did satisfy. Yep. Today’s training mission was very complete.

“Your mission Jim, if you decide to accept it, is to discover some more… er… fasting junk food. Here’s the list….”
“If I found a Cheeto that wasn’t a Cheeto but maybe a Cheese Curl… would that count?”
“Does it taste evil?”
“More evil than a Krispy Kreme with the Hot Light on?”
“Oooh.. that’s evil. It’ll count.”


So all I can say is that Jim did an amazing job. His was an amazing mission. And he did it for all of us guys… and of course the Church. Wouldn’t forget that. And whey… is just soooo waaaay down the list. Which brings me firmly to the dilemma of what is whey? Is it no or yes whey?

“No whey”
“Barth…I say yes whey! and your Mom’s still hot.”
“Oh yeah? Well I say no whey! and stop talkin’ ’bout my Mom.”


Yeah. She wouldn’t like it. But then again, she’s not involved with a Lenten Cheeto.



  1. “we fast from food, not words” LOL! Inimitable, as usual. πŸ™‚

  2. Two words: Almond Milk. It’s great. I like the lower sugar vanilla flavored one (I can add my own splenda if I want)… but I’ve also accidentally bought the full sugar one and it’s quite tasty (as you can imagine). There is a difference between brands, so if you find one you don’t like, try a different brand.

    Vegan cheese- wow, you are a better faster than me by far!

    • I mean to add that the sweetner in your cereal usually adds enough sweetness that I don’t really need the full-sugar almond milk.

      • Thanks for the almond milk suggestion. Haven’t tried that. Sometimes the Soy flavors can leave an aftertaste. Available at normal stores… or do you have to go to Trader Joe’s and/or Whole Foods?

    • No… no way I’m a better faster than anybody. When I spoke with Fr. Gregory, I even brought up the cheese problem: “Just makes all those vegetables edible” and the non-Orthodox spouse who’s willing… actually more willing to go and do the veggie thing than I am… but who balks at the cheese-free bit. Fr. Gregory pushed (as he should) for the one, true standard. But then he said, “If you can’t do that, then cut down and cut back what you eat.” As moderate and practical as that is, I’m going to try again to carve out by not using cheese period, and the vegan cheese (Daiyla or something) sprinkles where necessary. I failed this last year… but that was sooooo last year. πŸ™‚

      One year, I tried making fake cheese. Taste buds have been well-armed ever since, and I haven’t tried it again.

  3. Almond Milk is in the reg. grocery stores. They even have some in the fridge section near the regular milk… but that is the sugary kind. I get the non-refridgerated cartons in the same aisle they sell rice and soy milk. There’s a wider variety of Almond Milk there.

  4. What is this 60-yr retirement you are talking about?

    I am kind of sick of almond milk myself, though I hate to admit my lack of thankfulness. 😦

    • Well… good question. Somewhere we’ve seen the rules of fasting don’t apply to the young and the old. Even seen reference to “old” as 60. This is a cause of much wonder and potential jubilation… as perhaps an odd reward for getting old, decrepit and incapable of anything… which I already am. Yep. And since five years is a blink these days, that’d put it at a blink-and-a-half. Hardly seems sporting. You’ll also see references to folks “who still fast despite their age, and not having to”. So there’s some sort of implied virtue in not just running out to Arby’s ’cause you can. Given that the byword in our house when we were raising our kids was, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should”… it’s likely to make getting old all that much tougher. πŸ™‚ Therefore… one gets the impression that optional is not so optional. “Nice… very nice.”

      Never tried almond milk. I’m not Mr. Almond anyway, and suggestions some time back to try almond butter in lieu of peanut butter never went anywhere. Chocolate = yes. Everything else… uh… but an idea is an idea and my daughter likes the stuff… so it’s worth a shot.

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