Did you know that tempura actually has Christian roots? The name “tempura” is drawn from the Latin “tempora” meaning “times” or season which referred to Lent (tempora quadragesimae, i.e. the time of 40 days). Portuguese missionaries introduced local converts to the use of batter for deep-fried vegetables and seafood to eat during days of abstinence. This quickly caught on and locals mistook “tempora” as the name of the innovative food. So the next time you have a yummy, crunchy bite into a deep-fried, batter-covered shrimp or vegetable, please say a little prayer for foodie Portuguese missionaries who had somehow managed to baptize “yatai”, the favorite streetfood of the (ironically) very anti-Christian shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, into the now-famous “tempura”. Pax et bonum!