In Judaism, horse meat is considered “impure”. For Christians, however, the roots of this prohibition go back to the 8th century, when Gregory III, following the victory of Charles Martel in the Battle of Poitiers, banned the consumption of horse meat. His successor, Pope Zacharias, confirmed the ban for reasons related to the pagan sacrifices of the Germans. Traces of this aversion to horse meat remain in many Christian areas.
Sieges, famines, and other calamities are among the most frequent causes that have historically led to cannibalism. The horror of this practice is the same in almost all religions, with a few exceptions. The Church, except in a state of necessity, condemns it. And how does one explain the fact of feeding on the Body of Christ according to the doctrine, based on the Bible, of transubstantiation? By the command of the Lord and the goal of eternal salvation.
For a long time even in Christianity, the heir to Judaism, it was forbidden to eat food containing blood. It was only 150 years ago that foods containing blood began to be tolerated. In fact, Christians neither knew nor practised forms of food deprivation/exclusion for religious purposes.
- THE RECIPE: SEA BREAM WITH DILL AND PINK PEPPERCORNS
Saint Fiacre lived in the 7th century. He was born into a noble family, yet disdained wealth and was attracted to monastic life. He had an extensive knowledge of medicinal herbs, but in the monastery, he also developed the cultivation of the land and especially fruit trees. He fed the undernourished poor with the monastery’s fruit and vegetables.
Bees had been present in the life of Saint Ambrose since his childhood, when one day a swarm began to fly in and out of his open mouth without bothering him, while he slept in his cot in the garden. The episode is depicted on an altar in the Basilica dedicated to him in Milan. And Saint Ambrose, who would always love bees and even breed them, is the protector of beekeepers.
- THE RECIPE: ROASTED LOIN CHOPS
Saint Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal, is the only patron saint of oenologists and her personal history is intertwined with wine. Living at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries, she called upon Don Edoardo de Aviz, a famous oenologist of the time, to help the nuns of the convent she had founded to produce a good wine, destined to be used for Mass in all the churches of Portugal.
- THE RECIPE: FISH AND SEAFOOD STEW
Vinegar is the drink that was given to Jesus on the cross: a gesture of mercy, not torture, because water mixed with vinegar (posca) was used by Roman soldiers as a thirst-quenching drink. Along with ‘posca’, ‘sapum’, the forerunner of balsamic vinegar, was also used in ancient Rome. And vinegar producers have as their patron Saint Amandus of Maastricht, a hermit, later a missionary and bishop, who evangelised Belgium and northern France.