As Lent begins we consider what sacrifices will help us grow best in our love for the Cross of Jesus. Most people choose something to give up in the area of food and drink. This is natural and good because we eat frequently, and because personal likes and tastes are intense areas of potential self-indulgence. This doesn’t mean that all enjoyments have to go by the wayside during Lent. In fact, our mortifications (“self-death” practices) should be somewhat hidden, and our dispositions cheerful. On Ash Wednesday we hear The Lord’s admonition: “And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast” (Mt. 6:16).
So in addition to generous self-denial of personal comforts and tastes, an interesting sacrifice to consider is trying new things, and in particular new foods and drinks that aren’t part of our regular gastrological regimen. All the better if these new products please others around us and make them happy. For example, I recently discovered “craft” (specialty) sodas. There used to be many small soda companies, but most of these got pushed aside or ingested by the big companies. This is the way of business, of course. But now it is encouraging to see the rise of the “craft” products again, mainly beers and wines, but also sodas. So far, one of my favorites is an Akron, Ohio based company called “Norka” (Akron spelled backwards). There is also “Natrona” (a small town near Pittsburgh, not spelled backwards). Like all “craft” products, these sodas are more expensive than the popular name brand ones, but they also often taste better, and make great conversation starters as well, like local history and small business philosophies.
So whether you might be giving up the pleasures of alcoholic beverages or just want to try something different as a way of breaking from routine fasting practices, try something new this Lent, like craft sodas (in moderation!) which will bring a smile to your face, as well as those faces around you. Happy fasting!
Since first posting this article, a friend pointed me to Fitz’s pop products in St. Louis (yes, they say “pop” there). Enjoy this cool video of it’s root beer production and distribution. Sorry you can’t taste it here!