Today is Ash Wednesday, and so begins "La Cuaresma" (Lent). "La Cuaresma" is the 40 day period before Easter, that represents the time Jesus spent in the desert, constantly tempted by Satan. During "Cuaresma", it is customary to promise to "sacrifice" or refuse a certain temptation for the 40 day period. Some people promise not to smoke or drink alcohol, some promise to go to Mass daily. Even the children get involved, promising not to drink soda or eat junk food and even promising to be nice to their siblings! I'm trying to convince my kids' to make that same promise!
Another very important part of "Cuaresma" is to refrain from eating meat and poultry on Ash Wednesday and Fridays. This practice opens the door to an amazing gastronomical feast that can only be enjoyed during "Cuaresma". Today, as I walked to the market, wonderful aromas emanated from each home I passed. Talk about temptation! The most common dishes prepared during "Cuaresma" are "Tortas de Camaron" (shrimp cakes in a molé sauce) and "Chiles Rellenos". Both are favorites of mine!
But the most popular food of "Cuaresma" is "Capirotada". "Capirotada" is a Mexican bread pudding, made with bread, peanuts, raisins, cinnamon, piloncillo and cheese. My father-in-law actually referred to today as "Dia de Capirotada" (Capirotada day), not Ash Wednesday! It's just one of those things that you look forward to, kind of like Christmas morning. There is actually a reason as to why "Capirotada" is made during "Cuaresma". "Capirotada" signifies Christ's suffering on Good Friday. The bread represents the body of Christ, the syrup is Christ's blood, the cloves are the nails of the cross, the cinnamon sticks are the wood of the cross and the melted cheese represents the Holy Shroud. All I know is that it's delicious! And since it's only made during "Cuaresma", I'm going to my mother-in-law's to enjoy a piece of this sinful dessert!
Love to all,