Mar 11, 2011

Official Lenten Food & Drink. You'd Want Lent to Lengthen.

From Catholic Resource Center
Lenten Pretzels by FR. WILLIAM SAUNDERS
The pretzel indeed has its origins as an official food of Lent. However, much of the information available is based on tradition that has been handed down through the ages. Nevertheless, the Vatican library actually has a manuscript illustrating one of the earliest pictures and descriptions of the pretzel (Manuscript Code no. 3867)....According to pretzel maker Snyder’s of Hanover, a young monk in the early 600s in Italy was preparing a special Lenten bread of water, flour and salt. To remind his brother monks that Lent was a time of prayer, he rolled the bread dough in strips and then shaped each strip in the form of crossed arms, mimicking the then popular prayer position of folding one’s arms over each other on the chest. The bread was then baked as a soft bread, just like the big soft pretzels one can find today....
Apparently, this simple Lenten food became very popular. Pretzels were enjoyed by all people. They became a symbol of good luck, long life and prosperity. Interestingly, they were also a common food given to the poor and hungry. Not only were pretzels easy to give to someone in need, but also they were both a substantial food to satisfy the hunger and a spiritual reminder of God knowing a person’s needs and answering our prayers....

Another interesting story involving pretzels arises in the late 1500s, when the Ottoman Moslem Turks were besieging the city of Vienna, Austria. The Turks could not break the city’s defenses, so they began to tunnel below ground. The monks in the basement of the monastery were baking pretzels and heard the sound of digging. They alerted the guard and saved the city.
From Catholic Herald
Following the ancient tradition of Bavarian monks who brewed stronger beer during the Lenten fast in order to subsist on an almost entirely liquid diet...bockbier, which was originally brewed by the Paulaner monks in Munich.  The beer is a strong, dark, malty lager and is known as liquid bread. Traditionally, it was brewed by the monks for the periods of fasting in Lent and Advent.

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