Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras marks the first day of Lent. For Christians around the world, it is a time of prayer and penance, fasting and abstinence, reflection and renewal. It is a time when many of us take stock of our spiritual lives.

A spiritual fast involves abstaining from food while focusing on prayer. So maybe you’ll give up snacks, skip a meal or abstain from a favorite food like chocolate.  This is a very private and personal choice.  For me it clears the mind and body and draws me closer to God.

Because I write a rather public food blog, I am confronted with two choices. I can give Sicilian Girl a 40 day vacation (until Easter) or I can include you on the journey. I have decided to share the fact that I am abstaining from  grains.

Yes, that means no risotto or rice of any kind, no pasta or pizza, no bread to accompany the soup suppers, not even bread crumbs needed to coat fried veggies and meat. There will be no opening of the canisters filled with flour, oatmeal, cereals, crackers, cookies or anything else containing grains.

I do hope you stick with me though, because if there are no grains … there is no gluten. I have heard from many of my readers who want or need to be gluten-free. This is a great opportunity for me to get creative in the kitchen and come up with some new twists on familiar recipes.

Can this Sicilian Girl really live without pasta and bread? The Lord only knows — (update, and with the grace of God, she did).

Carnevale di Venezia