What fish was forbidden to eat in Russia?
Do you know the answer to this question? I did not know either. According to Old Testament traditions, the Russian people could not eat certain foods. Especially a lot of restrictions concerned meat. Some of its species — hare, camel, pork — could not be on the table at all. Other types of meat were strictly prohibited during fasting and major religious holidays.
Christianity was more loyal to fish. It could be eaten even on certain fasting days. But here it was not without exception.
In Russia, until a certain time, there was a strict ban on certain types of fish and other aquatic inhabitants.
What fish could not have been Orthodox
All food restrictions, which Orthodox people in Russia have strictly adhered to for a long time, are described in the Old Testament. It was there, in the book of Leviticus (11: 1-10), and also in Deuteronomy, that true believers and people who worship God cannot eat fish that have no scales. It is considered unclean.Because of this ban in Russia, for a long time they did not eat such a “naked” fish as sturgeon, catfish and eel.
According to the Old Testament, a person who has tasted this food or even touched “unclean” fish in a carcass is contaminated. In addition to fish without scales, it was strictly forbidden to eat sea and river inhabitants, who did not have scales or feathers on their bodies. Almost all seafood was included in the latter category, including squid, shrimp, water snakes, etc. Also, according to the Old Testament, the Orthodox can only eat food that is drained of blood. Not a single Russian allowed himself to eat a piece of raw fish, as the Chinese and Japanese have done for millennia.
All these food bans persisted in Russia for a very long time. Changes occurred only in times of church schism, which was initiated in the 17th century by the great reformer of the Russian church, Patriarch Nikon. Following the introduction of innovations since its introduction, a number of rules were changed, including those concerning food.
After the 17th century, sturgeon, caviar, hare and many other valuable products were eaten in Russia. This has a positive effect on the diet and on human health.Now they began to get more vitamins from food, which was so rich in Russian land. Naturally, not everyone accepted these innovations. The Old Believers, who broke away from the official church, remained faithful to the old laws. They still do not eat fish without scales and sea creatures without feathers.
And here is another interesting one. For centuries in a row in Russia there was a ban on the use of veal. He was even tougher than the ban on Jews to eat pork. Having eaten young beef, a Russian man risked saying goodbye to life.
Here is what the French Margaret, who visited Russia at the beginning of the 17th century, wrote: “As for the bulls and cows, they breed as amazingly because they do not eat veal in all of Russia because it contradicts their religion. Violation of the ban was severely punished by the authorities.
The Swedish diplomat Petrei, who was the ambassador to the Russian kingdom at the beginning of the same XVII century, told the following story: were kill the fattest between them and so were saved from starvation.Others who could not eat human meat were forced to stab a calf from hunger. Upon learning of this, the Grand Duke ordered those who ate veal to be burned alive and throw ashes into the river, and those who ate human flesh were forgiven and delivered from punishment. This is because the Muscovites abhor veal and eat it much more sinful for them than human meat ... ” The Courland traveler and adventurer who served in Russia in the second half of the seventeenth century, Yakov Reitenfels, in his “The Tale of Muscovy”, told the legend about how Ivan the Terrible ordered to throw into fire workers who built a fortress , bought and slaughtered a calf. It remains a historical fact that in 1606 the boyars managed to incite the mob against False Dmitry I, prompting it to rush into the Kremlin only by saying that the king is not real, for he eats veal.
Here is what the German Konrad Bussov wrote when he witnessed those events: “On Saturday, May 10, on the third day of the wedding, the king ordered to cook everything in Polish in the kitchen and among other foods — boiled and roasted veal. When the Russian cooks saw this and told everyone, they became very doubtful in the tsar, and the Russians began to say that he was truly a Pole and not a Muscovite, for they considered the veal to be unclean and they did not eat it. ”
It is still not completely clear why the Russian church tradition forbade the eating of veal. There are versions that originally it was caused by the peasant's concern for preserving the young, - in the slaughter of a calf in order to enjoy his tender meat, he saw unpardonable waste. Then this custom became a tradition and adopted the nature of a mystical prohibition.
Another hypothesis says that the ban on veal is associated with a ban on colostrum - the calf, feeds on milk after birth, and the milk of a cow that has left it contains colostrum. Probably, this is something to do with the Old Testament prohibition to eat meat and milk, boiled together. Only at the end of the 18th century did veal become a dish of the feast tables of the nobility, and later appeared on the more modest tables.