Eating meat as a part of my job on Friday


I run a restaurant, and at times I need to taste food that I am cooking to make sure that it is seasoned well. We make an effort, for ourselves and our clientele, to offer meatless specials and menu items for Lent, but many non Catholics and others do like to have a steak (no, I don’t taste people’s steaks…), or French onion soup (which contains beef stock, and really does need to be tasted while being made), or whatever else.

While I often can arrange to make items on Thursday and hold them for Friday, that is not always possible.

Is it considered OK to taste food in the course of one’s profession? I’m figuring it probably is, but I’d like to know what others think.


You should seek the advice of your pastor, who can consult on whether or not a dispensation can be arranged if necessary.


It is my opinion that since you are running the restaurant, then you should be able to let someone else taste the food on Fridays. Are you really the only person in the kitchen there whose taste test would be valid?

I personally find it unappealing to find loopholes around strict religious orders.

Good luck with your decision!


I remember when I was working for the diocese, there was a priest apologist who did a Q&A answer in our paper and said meat flavored broth was not taboo, and I’m pretty sure his source was the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I myself once confessed to eating a hamburger by mistake (I’d.forgotten) and was told that, as I didn’t do it deliberately, not to feel bad, but that, in any case, it was a CHURCH law, not a God law, designed to help the Faithful in their journey to holiness, which is what fasting and abstaining do. I agree you should talk to your confessor. usually, they’ll tell you to sacrifice something else if you’re not able to do meat.


He really might be the only person who can make the decision.


I grew up in the luxury Hotel business, my father being a noted Chef d’Cuisine of his day.Back then, he as well as most of the cooks and bakers were European trained, and were mostly Germans and Austrians. I did a European style apprentiship as a teenager and the only time I ever saw anyone taste anything was when the Chef salted the soup stock.
There is no need for a cook to taste meat on Friday in or out of Lent. If tasting is absolutely essential, get one of your service staff who isn’t Catholic to do it. As for tasting beef stock, there is no proscription for eating meat broth during Lent. All of that changed with Vatican II. The only people who still practice that are the Orthodox Christians and perhaps some of the Eastern Rites of the CC.


IIRC, stocks are perfectly fine


Technically, the letter of the law is that meat flavour is fine. It’s only the meat itself you’re not supposed to eat on the days when meat is forbidden to Catholics.

So a meat derived stock would be acceptable.

Since you don’t actually sample the meat itself, I doubt you are stepping out of line.

For most people the spirit of the law would mean that they would probably avoid the meat flavour as well, but since it’s part of your job, provided you stick to the letter of the law, you’ll be fine. In any case, you’re not doing so in order to meet your own sustenance means, rather it is in order to support yourself and your family as part of your job.

If you feel like you need to do more, you can always do some additional form of optional piety, but don’t feel obliged: just avoid that actual flesh of animals as food and you’ve done what is strictly required.


Beef flavored liquid is not forbidden, however I agree with some previous posters that talking with your priest about a dispensation would be the way to go.


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