[Sca-cooks] Lenten Observations was Officially serving modern food at SCA...
JIMCHEVAL at aol.com
JIMCHEVAL at aol.com
Thu Jan 31 21:05:10 PST 2013
Le Grand's work amply documents the use of birds, the allowance of pork
fat, etc. (he says somewhere that he is as much a compiler as a writer).
Gregory de Tours (6th century) was served a boiled fowl (with chickpeas) to
accommodate his abstinent diet.
"It was comforting enough for the Monks of these former times to mortify
themselves, in eating all these dainty birds, domestic or other. Nonetheless
the Church in the end found that such food was a sensual indulgence ill
suited to people who, by their oath, had devoted themselves to an austere
life. In 817, the Council of Aix la Chapelle forbid it them except four days
at Easter and four days at Christmas; yet they allowed those who, as a
penance, wanted even then to abstain from it, to do as they pleased....
....the Canon of the Council of Aix la Chapelle was only a rule of reform,
set exclusively for the Regular Canons. It did not change how most people
thought about birds. They continued to regard them as fish..."
"In 817, when the Council of Aix la Chapelle forbade Regular Canons the
use of poultry, as I have noted above, it allowed them that of fat, to
indemnify them for this deprivation; nonetheless it excepted from its permission
every Friday of the year, the octave of Christmas, and all of Lent; ut
Fratres aliquid pinguedinis habeant; excepto sextô feriâ, etc. [“that the
Brethren have some fat; except on the sixth day, etc.”]"
Here is how he sums up the situation as he saw it from his Old Regime
"If it was possible to restore to Life for an instant someone who no
longer lives, it would be a Spectacle quite worthy of a Philosopher's eyes to
seat at the same table a Monk of the VIIIth century, a Monk of the XIVth, and
one of ours and to serve all three what, in their different times, and
according to the regime of their same Rule, constituted and constitutes their
fasting food. One would see the last think to keep a severe abstinence in
eating eggs, butter and milk-meat; the second regard these substances as
meat and abstain from them with horror; the first to the contrary would join
to them without scruple a fowl, a partridge, vegetables or greens seasoned
with fat or bacon. What a horrible scandal they would cause each other! How
they would mutually condemn each other to excommunication. Alas! Let us
condemn no one. The history of a people's customs is only, strictly speaking,
the history of its contradictions. Who knows if our own, one day, will not
be criticized by future centuries; if our nephews, when they read that we
did not dare to eat a duck on a fast day, while we ate a scoter duck and a
water hen, will not be as shocked as we are today when we see that our
Ancestors abstained, on the same days, from beef and pork, and yet fed themselves
with vegetables prepared with fat and bacon."
His work also includes other surprises, such as the fact that in the same
period Saturday was made a fast day (despite previous objections - which I
don't believe he mentions - that this was "Judaizing"). Few Catholics today
I think know that it still is: "the Roman Pontiffs have constantly refused
to abrogate the law of abstaining on Saturday."
So yes, birds (and eggs) were eaten for a long time by people avoiding meat
and yes a Church council authorized eating fat. In the medieval era.
Newly translated from Pierre Jean-Baptiste Le Grand d'Aussy:
Eggs, Cheese and Butter in Old Regime France
In a message dated 1/31/2013 12:47:42 P.M. Pacific Standard Time,
lcm at jeffnet.org writes:
Do you have documentation for the allowance of pork fat and of birds?
And I'm afraid that 18th c practices are not relevant here.
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