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28968"Food & Eating"--23

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  • Helen Fedor
    Mar 30, 2010
      In addition to two fasting days per week, the Christian religion also
      decreed longer periods of fasting during the year. First there was
      Advent, the 30 days before Christmas that ended with midnight mass on
      Christmas Eve. There was also Lent, a 40-day pre-Easter fast that began
      on Ash Wednesday and ended with the blessing of the food at the Easter
      liturgy. Plant-based dishes and meat dishes made only from cold-blooded
      animals, such as fish and frogs, were considered to be appropriate for
      fasting. Neither milk nor milk-products were consumed if one was
      keeping a strict fast. Vegetable oils were used as cooking fats in
      dishes; later, clarified or regular butter replaced lard.

      Fasts were formerly so strict, that during the fasting period, no
      dishes on which animal fats had been cooked earlier were used. [One
      doesn’t cook on dishes, so does this text mean that dishware on which
      animal fats had been served wasn’t used during the fasting period or
      does it means that the pots and pans in which animal fats were cooked
      weren’t used during the fasting period?] These conceptions of fasting
      gradually changed a great deal, and Protestants neglected them
      completely. The strictest fasts have always been kept by the members of
      the Eastern Orthodox Church. Two long fasts were kept in late autumn
      and in early spring, when there was still a sufficient stock of food.
      In addition to adhering to the spiritual principle of renunciation,
      there was another reason for these fasts: the supply of meat lasted
      longer and a greater variety of food was consumed.(22)
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