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Food and Faith in Christian Culture$
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Ken Albala and Trudy Eden

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231149976

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231149976.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

“The Food Police”

“The Food Police”

Sumptuary Prohibitions on Food in the Reformation

(p.59) Chapter 3 “The Food Police”
Food and Faith in Christian Culture

Johanna B. Moyer

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores the sumptuary laws on food enacted during the Reformation era. Both Catholics and Protestants enacted sumptuary legislation to ensure that individual members of society did not stray into the religious practices of and convert to the rival religion. Legislators in Catholic areas tended to focus on the type and amount of food eaten. These provisions frequently restricted meats, especially red meats and wild game. By the mid sixteenth century, Catholic legislators were concerned not simply with the type of meat but also the amount of meat that gluttonous diners consumed. Both Catholic and Protestant sumptuary laws discouraged general overeating, limiting the number of courses and plates that could be served. Moreover, many laws in Protestant areas restricted expensive items like rare meats, wines, as well as sweet desserts and sugary confections.

Keywords:   sumptuary laws, Reformation era, Catholics, Protestants, overeating, expensive food

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