It's no secret that I am not a religious person. I am spiritual in that I believe there is a something bigger than ourselves, but not an old bearded man in a golden chair watching over everything we do, giving conflicting orders to different religions.
However, that said, I grew up with traditions around religion. So I celebrate Christmas, Easter and other religious holidays. Maybe my favorite holiday is Shrove Tuesday, which is rooted in the Christian tradition of Lent, the 40 days before Easter when people are encouraged to give up certain luxuries as a penance for their sinful ways.
If you live in New Orleans, you do it in spectacular fashion during Mardi Gras ("fat Tuesday") celebrations.
I don't think much about my sinful ways when Shrove Tuesday rolls around. I think about the fact that tradition says you eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and I am all about pancakes. The explanation for why you eat pancakes is that pancake recipes are thought to date back to the Pagan times as a way of using up eggs, flour and milk in one dish and you are thus able to rid your house of temptation before Lent starts.
Some Christians believe that the four ingredients in pancakes represent the four pillars of the Christian faith: flour for sustenance, eggs for creation, milk for purity and salt for wholesomeness.
The heck with that. I just like pancakes, but I rarely make them.
However, this year we received a gift from Walt's sister and her husband following their trip to the east coast....
...and Shrove Tuesday seems to be the best time to try it out, so we will be cracking out the cinnamon bun mix and real maple sugar and celebrating Shrove Tuesday this morning.
We have a smoke detector that drives me absolutely nuts. We have one downstairs and one upstairs. It seems that all I have to do is turn on the stove and it goes off.
Any time I am cooking anything, the slightest bit of searing causes the damn detector to start blaring. And 90% of the time it happens when I'm in the middle of doing something I can't stop doing to push the button that quiets it.
The button is in the middle of the detector, which is on the ceiling just inside the front door and can be reached by a pole that I use to push up on it, if I can center the pole around the tiny button.
As I get older, my balance isn't all that great (one reason I walk with a cane) and standing under the damn detector with my head tilted all the way back trying to get the pole centered over the little button has more often than not caused me to get dizzy and lose my balance. Thank goodness there is a wall for me to hang onto, which means I'm working with only one hand to push the button.
Walt is almost always upstairs when the smoke detector goes off and has to come down, climb over the gate that blocks the stairs so that Polly doesn't go upstairs, and silence the detector.
If I'm alone in the house, I may let the detector go off for several minutes until I finish what I'm doing. No neighbor has ever come to see if everything is all right!
Every night I end up cursing the damn smoke detector.
Last night I was getting ready to sear some shrimp and had put oil in the pan and was standing with my back to the stove, patting the shrimp dry, when the smoke detector went off. I cursed, Walt yelled that he'd get it and then when I turned back to the stove, I saw that it was on fire. A potholder I had left on the stove had caught on fire, as had a wooden spoon.
In an instant, my hatred of the smoke detector melted and I was glad we had it.