I love the Lenten season in New York City. That’s a religious definition for the time between Mardi Gras and Easter, but I’m using it as an easy way to define this point in time. For a foodie, this is a great time of year. I love the overindulgence of Mardi Gras. I love the joviality of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and I love the accompanying corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread. I love hamentaschen for Purim. I love hot cross buns. I love St. Joseph’s Day zeppole and sfinge. I love matzo for Passover. I love Easter pies, the savory meat and cheese pie and the wheat pie. I love all these things, even though I don’t culturally identify with all the religions and ethnicities. These are all very New York, though many are old traditions that come from the old country. I like this time of year because I associate these traditions with the immigrants who came at the time my family came to this country. It’s what I grew up with and what I remember eating from childhood. Not just the food, I love the cold grayness in the air this time of year. I love Catholic churches in the city, so solemn, so graceful, so beautiful. It’s just a certain feeling, one of reflection, one of mourning, ready for the rebirth that is spring.
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