Easter is cod time, there are recipes to prepare it in a thousand different ways.
Cod became popular with the ban on eating meat on Fridays , since it was a fish rich in protein , which kept well in salt and could be cooked in many different ways.
A little history…
Before talking about cod, I cannot resist talking about fasting and abstinence in Lent , which was mandatory in our country until a few years ago.
The fast consisted of eating no more than one strong meal a day and abstinence from eating meat during Lent and the rest of the Fridays of the year, spending time in prayer and acting with measure and charity. And from 14 to 59 years of age, he respected himself if there were no medical reasons involved.
Those were times when the church dictated many rules in Spain, and fasting and not eating meat during Holy Week was a show of respect for Calvary and the death of Jesus on the cross.
Look where, now it is fashionable to do ‘detox’ fasting and it is increasingly popular to do ‘ Free Meat Monday ‘ or ‘ Monday without meat’ and dedicate vacation time to meditation retreats…
Perhaps we human beings need time to take care of what we eat and reflect on our lives, and what we used to do due to religious imposition, now we do it out of necessity seeking balance in our lives.
I am not in favor of prolonged fasts, but I do support short 24-hour fasts, meatless Mondays, and weeks of cleansing diet twice a year. And curiously, if the basic Christian fast was with ‘bread and water’, now bread is the least recommended as we are inflated with carbohydrates and we opt for seasonal vegetables and fruits and water.
The truth is that when you analyze many of the customs or obligations in relation to food that religions imposed, you realize that they make sense from a nutritional, health and environmental point of view.
I recommend the book by the American anthropologist Marvin Harris , Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches: The Enigmas of Culture . I read it in college and it opened my ‘closed’ scientific mind to the popular wisdom contained in religious taboos. The anthropologist speaks of ‘cultural materialism’, a practical way of explaining why different cultures act in one way or another, in the end it is the search for efficiency with the law of least effort. And he explains that some of the religious prohibitions regarding food are not a random whim of the gods, they have a logical explanation.
For example, in Hinduism not eating meat makes sense if you think that keeping a cow or an ox alive was a good investment, since they served as pack animals, to plow the fields, they gave milk and their droppings could even be used as fertilizer. and wood for the fire. A cow was insurance to save the family from starvation for a long time.
The same goes for the ban on eating pork between Muslims and Jews., pigs are omnivorous like us and compete for the same food, they are not worth as pack animals, they do not give milk, they require humidity and shade, which did not occur in the semi-desert regions where Islam and Judaism originated and also, they were a vector of infection of some parasites such as the dreaded trichinosis.
The religious prohibitions against eating these animals prevented the temptations of eating these meats when there were times of scarcity, saving people who respected them from future famine or disease. Interesting.
Without going too far, in our recent history, we can explain the fasting and abstinence of Lent and Fridays imposed by the Catholic Church, as a form of ‘mandatory nutritional standards’ to a naturist custom or a fashion such as weekly or spring cleansing is now. . Since after the long winter, when there were hardly any fresh vegetables and fruits and it was necessary to throw away canned, salted, smoked, etc., the vegetarian diet was easier to follow when the season in which vegetables grow began, and with fasting and withdrawals, we also “cleansed” ourselves from the toxins accumulated from eating badly during the winter.
Now that the effects of fasting are beginning to be studied , there are several interesting effects of its practice, it could be good to regulate insulin, mobilize fat and even activate the brain. Come on, in the end, the church ‘helped’ us to be healthy by setting strict rules, in times where they were not skipped. If you had to fast, you would fast, and no one would think of putting a plate with meat on a Friday, so that the neighbors or the priest would not find out, that was the way those times were.
And after this dissertation on the uses and customs of nutrition in the Spanish Catholic Church, I finally come to talk about cod, this week’s food, which is not only a fish with a delicate flavor and grateful to cook, it is also a source of complete protein very interesting for athletes who seek to increase the intake of amino acids to nourish our muscles.
The cod ( Gadus morhua ) is a migratory fish that lives in the cold seas of the North.
Being a white fish, it has a low fat content and low caloric value with 74 calories per 100 g .
It is rich in proteins of high biological value (18 g per 100 g) and vitamins B1, B2, B6, B9 and B12 and minerals such as sodium, potassium and phosphorus, some iodine, calcium, magnesium and zinc .
The curious thing about cod is that it stores its fat reserves mainly in the liver , this organ being rich in vitamins A, D and E and omega 3 fatty acids . Cod liver oil was extracted from the liver , a traditional remedy in ancient times. before the bottles of multivitamins to supplement children and weak and sick people.