5. Lent And McDonald's Filet-O-Fish
Lenten practices of giving up things like candy and meat have influenced the broader culture, leading to certain things widely enjoyed by the American public.
Enter McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich, whose origins derived from the traditional Catholic practice of avoiding meat on Fridays.
"Lou Groen, who owned the first McDonald's restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio, came up with the idea of a Filet-O-Fish sandwich in 1962. The people in his neighborhood were predominantly Catholic and during Lent Groen was making next-to-nothing on Fridays," reported USA Today.
"He created a Filet-O-Fish recipe and took it to headquarters, where McDonald's chief Ray Kroc was also preparing his own meatless alternative."
McDonald's adopted Groen's fish sandwich over Kroc's "Hula Burger," which consisted of a grilled pineapple in place of meat, following a selling competition in which Groen's creation won.
The Filet-O-Fish is not the only food product owing its existence to Lenten diets. Pretzels were said to have first gained popularity in Medieval Europe as an acceptable snack during the time of stricter diets.
"In the seventh century, the church dictated stricter rules governing fasting and abstinence during Lent than it does today," explained history.com.
"Pretzels, made of a simple mixture of water, flour and salt, were an ideal food to consume during Lent, when all types of meat, dairy and eggs were prohibited."