Unique insights into a monastery church and school

Alpirsbach Monastery

St. Benedict. Image: Württembergische Landesbibliothek Stuttgart
THE INSATIABLE MONK

THE MONK'S

FAVORITE DISH

In his rule, St. Benedict admonished his monks to exercise moderation in eating and drinking. The degree to which this austerity was practiced at Alpirsbach Monastery is demonstrated by an amusing anecdote.

Historic table ware from the 16th century. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Werner Hiller-König

16th-century table ware.

HONORED GUEST

Alpirsbach Monastery once had an honored guest: Emperor Maximilian I, who paid a visit to the monastery in the Black Forest. During his stay, the following took place: The emperor asked every monk at the monastery what their favorite dish was. But more than that, he also wanted to sample these and had them prepared for this purpose.

AN OX INSTEAD OF A CALF

One monk asked for "Öchsenkres", or ox chitterlings, also known as tripe. The emperor was highly amused by this favorite and stated that the monk "must be a hungry fellow" to not be satisfied with the traditional calf's tripe. The monk likely thought, why settle for a small calf when you could have an ox!

STRETCHING THE RULE

Were the monks at Alpirsbach Monastery bending the Rule of St. Benedict with regard to meat? Meat from "four-legged" animals was actually only intended for the sick. Even if this monk's favorite dish only involved intestines, they were nonetheless those of a "four-legged" animal. Or was this an exceptional case, in an effort not to offend the emperor?

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