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Old 15 February 2013, 04:11 PM
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Hero_Mike Hero_Mike is offline
Join Date: 06 April 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ & Hamilton, ON
Posts: 7,267

The aspect spending a lot of money on something you eat during lent shouldn't mean that it's self-indulgent. In fact, because alligator is expensive, a person may only be able to afford a small amount of gator (while spending the same amount on food as they usually do), thus furthering that whole "fast and abstinence" aspect of food during lent.

One of my former parish priests - now passed away - commented about the "spirit" of lent vs. the "letter of the law". Basically he said that just because one is not supposed to eat meat on Fridays, one shouldn't then gorge on fish. The "fast and abstinence" aspect is that you both "fast" (one normal meal and two smaller ones which are no more than a normal meal), and "abstain" (from eating meat).

FWIW, I come from a fairly devout Catholic family and this was never a normal practice. However, my family comes from eastern Poland. Even into the 50's and early 60's, "abstaining" from meat was not uncommon because people could not afford to eat meat every day. Fish was available, but rarely fresh. It was usually pickled, and that had to be kept relatively cool. Smoked fish was a luxury. Religious dietary restrictions were far easier to follow when there wasn't a huge surplus. And I'm sure that all but the most penitent would take a practical approach and postpone their fasting day, if they just so happened to have a piece of fresh meat that would be fine on Friday but unlikely to be fresh enough to eat, the next day. With no electricity until the late 50's, that was a fairly common thing I imagine.
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