What to cook for those Lenten meals? Such a dilemma!
Me, I always have dreams of various interesting vegetable-based stews and soups, but you know what it always ends up being?
Cheese pizza. Lots and lots of cheese pizza. With maybe some pancakes and eggs tossed in there for variety.
For some reason, I went on a bit of a rabbit trail last night..I have no idea how I happened to think that there might be a treasure trove of Lenten-themed vintage food advertisements out there…but there is. It’s at an advertising design archive website, and, yes, there is a “Lent” keyword, although several of the ads in that category are Valentine-themed, but who knows.
But then I thought, Wait. The Era of Regrettable Food was also pre-Vatican II…when Catholics abstained from meat every Friday anyway…what were the Lenten regulations right before the Council? Why would Lent-themed advertising even be a thing if Catholics were going meatless on Fridays all year?
Turns out that it was: fasting every day of Lent except Sunday, of course, fasting and abstaining from meat on all Fridays and Ash Wednesday, and on the other days, meat allowed in one of those “one regular and two small meals” of the fasting days. So that explains the advertising directed at helping the cook be creative within those constraints since less meat would be consumed…hence Lima Loaf.
(Too bad they changed that. Really. It lends a sense of greater body/soul continuity to the season, in my mind. It’s also kind of insulting that they thought we couldn’t handle that mild of a regime any longer, but what else is new. )
Of course, not all of this is regrettable. Some is just quite normal – vegetable soups, hot cross buns and pancakes and such. Some is surprising – using Lent to even advertise peanuts! – and a reminder of a time in which religious practice was just considered…normal and as amenable to commercial exploitation as any other part of life!
So enjoy, and may these be an inspiration…
of what not to cook during Lent, that is….
(You should be able to right click on each ad for a larger version)
Bring on the Velveeta Jelly Omelet and the Tuna Fritters with Cheese Sauce!
Even peanuts get in the Lent game!