It´s Ash Wednesday, people. The sardine has been buried ( I bumped into the procession this morning), carnival is over, and it´s time to think about mortality, stop eating meat, and spring-clean your soul.
I´m not very devout, that´s for sure, but I do love Ash Wednesday. The whole "you are dust" thing seems very Baroque, straight out of Ribera. And as for Lent, well, I don´t like giving things up, and self-indulgence is usually the order of my day. But it does makes sense to hold back for a few weeks, and everybody observes it, more or less. It´s just been pushed back a couple of months, and now goes by the name "operación bikini", that´s all.
So today, after I go off to church to have my forhead dusted, I´ll prepare a fitting menu. A suitably sober soup of vegetables and barley, to be served alongside bread and cheese. The cheese of course will be none other than Montenebro from Avila. This is a goat´s cheese, soft in texture, strong in taste, a very milky pristine white inside and a mottled grey outside, because it´s coated in, yes you guessed, ash.
At 18€ the kilo, it´s something of an indulgence, which makes it, as my religion teacher would have said, not illegal, but certainly illicit. Its utter deliciousness violates the spirit of the stoical law of this day, but hey, ashes to ashes, right?