As I wrote last year at this time, I’m not Catholic, but the practice of giving up something for Lent is a holdover from my college days at a Catholic university. I generally use this time to become more mindful of good behaviors I might pursue and to break potentially bad cycles of behavior. In the past, giving up concrete items has proved easiest to stick to, while concepts based on self-improvement have been tough.

So, this year, I’ve decided to go traditional and give up meat. And I don’t mean just on Fridays.

There was a time when I was a vegetarian, but then I moved to France and that was the end of that (although my elderly aunt, or “la tante qui sait tout” as some might know her, made tremendous efforts at experimenting with tofu recipes for our weekly dinners). I still tried to at least keep a vegetarian kitchen, but that radically changed when I moved to San Francisco and 1) started to go to Sous Kitchen* and 2) got a slow cooker. Both of which meant I was suddenly cooking a lot more meat on a regular basis.

I don’t intend to go back to vegetarianism anytime soon, but I would like to get back to preparing more things where meat isn’t the focus, especially recipes where I can also bring in the leftovers to work for lunch. I’d also like to get more comfortable with preparing fish at home (it’s stupid, I know, but cooking fish intimidates me). Of course, that means keeping last year’s Lenten vow in mind and not letting laziness drive me to order pizza every night…

Recipe suggestions (that don’t involve pasta) welcome!

*Sous Kitchen is a service where they prepare and package high-end ingredients for you to freeze and then prepare “from scratch” at home—recipes include many exotic dishes I would never make otherwise, such as panang curry or kung pao chicken. One used to be able to assemble the recipes oneself on site, adjusting everything but the protein to one’s own taste. It was quite fun to do with friends, but unfortunately they only have a pick-up/delivery service now.