From a reader:
I was watching TV last night & on the program they were talking about fish & chips fried in rendered beef fat at a restaurant.
Fish & Chips is one of my favorite Friday dishes and I assume that it’s cooked in vegetable oil of some kind. But, if I am at a restaurant, how could I know if they don’t state something on the menu (pretty common in California where I live). If it doesn’t say anything and I order and eat the fish & chips cooked in beef fat on a Friday in Lent have I broken the abstinence rules? Or is the fat merely the method of cooking, sort of like boiling pasta in water.
Remember that if you cook pasta in water, the pasta absorbs the water. If the fish and chips are cooked in beef fat, you are also consuming some beef fat.
This is a great question for an Unreconstructed Ossified Manualist.
“The law of abstinence forbids eating meat and broth from meat, but not eggs, milk products, and also whatsoever condiments from the fat of animals.”
“QUAER. 2. Quid dicendum de usu laridi?
Resp. Certum est non licere illud edere per frustra…
What is to be said about the use of lard?
Resp. It is clear that it is not permitted to eat it groundlessly and for an accompaniment with bread, because it is considered meat. It is permitted to use it even in evening snacks (refectiuncula), either as a condiment or in order to cook foods, provided that beforehand it will have been liquified. …
But wait! There’s more!
[Time for a COFFEE BREAK!]
“The law of abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, the products of milk or condiments made of animal fat. The law of fasting allows only one full meal a day, but does not prohibit taking some food in the morning and evening, observing–as far as quantity and quality are concerned–approved local custom.”
The language of “condiments” has remained.
Therefore, you can cook your fish in beef fat. Use of fat from beef would not violate your abstinence from meat.
Thank you for being concerned about this.
Last August I posted a WDTPRS POLL about what you think about the proposition that the US bishops should reestablish meatless Fridays as our form of penance for all Fridays of the year. The bishops of England and Wales did this.
I am repeating that poll (with a slight difference) here below.
You can vote even if you are not registered here. Please give your reasons in the combox below, respecting always the people who make arguments other than your own.
Please use the Tweet and +1 and Facebook “like” buttons so we can get a high turn out. Bloggers, I would appreciate it if you would also give us a lift.