Cooking Through Lent With Your Kids

The kitchen has always been the hub of our household; the center of conversation. What better place to have meaningful conversations with our kids about our faith. Lent is a great time to teach them our faith story through cooking.  Cooking can be a visual reminder of the story you are telling.   Not only are you giving them lessons on how to prepare food, but it’s a great time to talk without the distractions of the world.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Pretzel Story – Lent is a time of prayer and penance for Christians around the world.  The pretzel’s shape is a reminder of our arms crossed in prayer.  I wrote a previous post where I explain more about the story and recipe of this early Roman custom.

Fish Fridays– Eating fish on Friday’s is a penance imposed by the Church to commemorate the day of the Crucifixion of Our Lord – to enable us to make a small sacrifice for the incredible sacrifice He made for our salvation.  The Church encourages followers to abstain from eating meaty flesh of warm-blooded animals as a commemoration of Jesus’ sacrifice.  The alternative, fish, comes from the sea and are cold-blooded, making it the preferred choice. Refraining from eating meat on a Friday is a small sacrifice for the major sacrifice given by Jesus when he was crucified.

Thekidspot had a great article sharing tasty recipes to get your kids “hooked” on fish.  A few popular scriptures to share:

  • Matthew 4:18-21
  • Matthew 14:17-21
  • Jeremiah 16:16

If fish just isn’t going to go over with your kids, perhaps shape pizza dough into a fish and top with tomato sauce and cheese to keep with the meatless obligation.  When Christianity was banned, fish symbols were used as a secret symbol for Christians so they could identify each other.  The idea here is to teach the traditions through the process.

Seven-Herb Soup – German’s have a tradition of preparing Seven Herb Soup on Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday).  It centers around herbs that are in abundance in the Spring (often called Spring soup).  Although I couldn’t find more information on the background of this traditional soup, I think it could be used as a great teaching tool as most of the herbs in the recipe are the bitter herbs traditionally used for the Seder meal.  Of course after the bitter herbs are cooked, they’re no longer bitter, so the teaching here is in the prep work.  The whole idea is to taste and explain the meaning behind the bitterness of the herbs that are referenced in Exodus 12 where God directs the people how to eat the Passover meal.  I found two recipes with similar ingredients on German Culture and Curious Cuisiniere.   My Jewish Learning has great descriptions of all the items on a Seder Plate.  If you are a gardener, you probably have all the makings for this tasty soup.

Unleavened Bread – ‘Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.’   Exodus 12:15

Kids love to roll their hands in homemade dough.  Here’s a simple recipe for Unleavened Bread as you re-tell the story of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Read Luke 22:7-20, then pass the unleavened bread and wine (grape juice) for everyone to share. Share this meal before Holy Thursday Mass so that the food and story are fresh in your kids’ minds.  It would also be a timely teaching tool to do this simple but powerful meditation from Catholic Mom.    It  ends in a peaceful silence.  A good opportunity to share how we need to silence ourselves to hear God’s voice.  This is especially timely if are introducing your children to Eucharistic Adoration.

Unleavened Bread

  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/3 c. warm water

Mix salt, four, and egg. Add water, mix dough quickly with a knife, then knead, stretching it up and down to make it elastic until it leaves the board clean.  Toss onto a well-floured surface.  Cover with a towel and keep warm one half hour longer.  Cut into squares of desired size and shape into small discs.  Price the surface with a fork.  Bake in 350* oven until done.

12 Fruit Salad – Following ancient customs, Easter Sunday is the feast day where we get to enjoy all the kinds of foods that were forbidden during Lent.  This colorful fruit salad is a healthier option to all the sweets we usually consume for Easter.  I found this list of fruit symbols in old book of Feasts that I had, I included some additional descriptions that link their symbolism to ancient stories.

  • Apple – symbol of salvation and the New Eve, redemption
  • Pears – symbol of Mary by its feminine form
  • Oranges -symbol of purity and generosity
  • Peaches – symbol of the heart, rebirth, and fertility
  • Strawberries – symbol of righteousness; to symbolize perfection and righteousness, medieval stone masons carved strawberry designs on altars and around the tops of pillars in churches and cathedrals.
  • Blueberries – blue for Our Lady’s mantle
  • Cherries – symbol of good works
  • Grapes – symbol of the Eucharist
  • Lemon – symbol of fidelity (the juice is squeezed onto salad, not to be cut)
  • Figs – symbol of fruitfulness
  • A drop of honey – symbol of the sweet ministry of Christ
  • Slivered Almonds – symbol of divine approval

Sowing a Sunday life in a weekday world.

I hope you enjoyed your visit here today.  If you did, please share your thoughts in the comments below or share on social media using the hashtag #gardenerstouch. 

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