Mel’s Diner

Sharp Knives, Raw Meat and Fire


OK, so how is Lent going?  As you may or may not know, I’ve given up processed foods for Lent.  By processed foods, what I mean is foods that are broken down beyond recognition.  Cheddar cheese is NOT processed.  Sure, it’s milk that’s been “processed” into cheese, but cheese isn’t processed (in my world).  Taco shells dance along the border of processed.  Boxed mac and cheese?  Processed.  Home made bread?  Not processed.  Wonder?  Processed.  These may or may not fit into the classic definitions of processed food, but this is my resolution and I make the rules.

That doesn’t mean I can make the rules easy.  I just want to make them realistic.  So, how’s Lent?  My biggest issues come from snacking.  The kids had some Lunchables (not that they get these often) today and I found myself stealing a bite of Chicken Dunks (don’t ask) or Katie’s Nachos – all very processed and a definite no-no.  Lunches have been a small issue, too.  On Wednesday, I was scrambling to make a salad dressing and Friday’s lunch was just bread I had (I made it a few weeks ago – I took it out of the freezer) and an olive oil/herb dipping sauce.  I seem to forget I can’t buy lunch until the last minute and run around the house, looking for something to bring to work.

So far, so good – but, snacking is an issue.  I get hungry at work and….nothing.  I can’t eat anything from the snack machine, I have to hope I brought an apple.  BUT, that’s a VERY good habit to form. 


February 9, 2008 Posted by | Lent | 2 Comments


Like any good Catholic, or wannabe good Catholic, I’m giving up something for Lent, which starts today. What I’ve decided to give up this year is processed foods. For the next forty days I will eat no meat on Fridays and stick to whole foods, nothing from the “center of the grocery store” as Michael Pollan says. Now before I get to far into this, let me set forth my exceptions and ground rules.

  • White flour is acceptable.. I know, I know, it’s refined, but I don’t really like Whole Wheat flour all that much.
  • I hereby grant myself a Papal dispensation if we go out or go to friend’s and family
  • Beer is OK. So is Scotch. And Gin
  • Pickled foods are not refined. HFCS and plain old CS are and therefore, verbotten
  • Packaged, frozen and canned veggies are allowed. Frozen with cheese sauce and all Campbell-type soups are out.
  • No going out to lunch
  • I hereby purchase an indulgence for the The February Birthday Lunch at work (Chocolate!)
  • White Rice is OK. We’ve been eating more brown rice, but my family will revolt if all I make is brown.
  • All bets are off for St. Patrick’s Day; I declare it a free-for-all.

So, here we go. We actually eat pretty well at my house, so this isn’t an immense lifestyle change, but it will be hard. I found myself this morning having to whip up a vinaigrette for the salad I was bringing because bottled salad dressing is out. It’s the little things like that that will do me in.

February 6, 2008 Posted by | Lent | 1 Comment