F: The $5 Friday Fish Fry

In and around the City of Pittsburgh, the Friday Fish Fry is a long-standing tradition during Lent.  There is a big Catholic church down the street from my house.  On nearly every street corner there’s a sign advertising their Fish Fry.  If you happen to miss those signs, there’s a huge banner hanging at the main intersection.  Does your neighborhood get bombarded with Fish Fry signs, too? 

Upon leaving my town and going to the next town, there are more signs, for more Fish Fries, at other churches…and fire halls…and restaurants…and markets.  Cost of each: around $5.

Fish Fry Sign 1 Fish Fry Sign 3

Fish Fry Sign 4 Fish Fry Sign 2

No matter where you go, the fish is always Cod.  Never Halibut.  Never Mahi-Mahi.  Never Tuna, or Swordfish, or Salmon, or Shark.  I guess those fishes cost more than $5 or don’t taste good fried.  Plus, Cod rhymes with God so that makes it easy to remember what’s on the menu.

I don’t write about my religion very much because if you’ve read my About page than you know that I hate it when people define me based on a stereotype.  Nonetheless, my religion is Catholicism so I understand the concept of fasting on Fridays. 

Fasting from meat 1 day/week during the 6 weeks of Lent is supposed to be an expression of self-sacrifice.  In today’s super-sized culture of massive consumption, I think it’s good to deny yourself of over-indulging once in a while.  Humans are resilient.  We live happily in many places of the world with very little.  Life can go on for a day without iPhones, and Facebook, and manicures, and yes…even meat.

Personally, I like that fish is so readily available here during Lent.  If I had to pull it out of the water myself, I’d probably starve to death.  I tried to catch a fish once.  All I ended up with was a tangled line and a dead worm.  Do worms count as meat?

Tracy Fishing

Do you ever practice self-denial?  What indulgence would be the most difficult for you to do without? 

Tomorrow’s post based on the letter G will not rhyme with Cod.  Be sure to check back!

If you liked this post, you may also like The Case of the Smoking Salmon.

20 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bonnie on April 7, 2011 at 7:37 am

    You’re so right, it is good to deny ourselves of overindulgence every so often. It’s funny, we were out to eat not long ago and both my boyfriend and I forgot our iPhones. Once the initial shock of being without wore off, we both agreed that it was the most enjoyable meal we’d had in a long time! Shame it took that for us to realize how ‘dependent’ we’ve become on a smartphone.

    ‘I tried to catch a fish once. All I ended up with was a tangled line and a dead worm. Do worms count as meat?’ PRICELESS!! 🙂


    • Haha Bonnie – that’s so funny about your dinner. I’ve been putting my phone on “sound for phone calls only” when I go out to dinner, so the constant dinging and donging of the phone doesn’t get in the way of spending time with the person across the table.


  2. Posted by Rae on April 7, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Most times I deny myself new clothing and decor for my house. I try to practice delayed gratification and usually once the urge to shop has passed, I realize I can do without those new jeans or awesome rug.
    But, I sure love me some Catfish!!


  3. Did you know why there are so many fish only feast days? Because in the Middle Ages the church was able to capture part of the monopoly on salt fish industry and added fish only days for profit. See “Fish on Friday”


    • I’ve heard that too, but have never come across any real historic proof. Regardless, athough many people who practice fasting during Lent eat fish in the place of meat, that’s a matter of choice. The concept is to give up meat from warm blooded animals. These days, it’s not *that* much of a sacrifice going through a day eating things like a mushroom and cheese pizza :-). I can think of much better ways to practice self-denial. Thanks Carl – now you just made me hungry for a pizza!


      • Fish on Friday: Feasting, Fasting and Discovery of the New World by Brian Fagan. It is astonishing how history has been driven all around just catching fish ! Good recipes from olden times too.


  4. Posted by suzicate on April 7, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Been a long time since I’ve been to one of those but fish fries are fun!


  5. I too was raised catholic, therefore I’m familiar with the practice of Lent.

    Every year, I gave up a particular candy I enjoyed, but found myself giving in (I’m so weak), and eating it inside my bedroom closet in the dark, as if God wouldn’t see me – HA!

    I’m someone who doesn’t care for fish (of any kind) so whenever my family had fish for dinner, my mother would always make me something else.

    I think the one thing that would be difficult for me to give up would be my computer usage. I’m an addict, I admit it:(

    Happy Thursday, Tracy!


    • How nice of your mom! Maybe she made those special meals for you so that you’d come out of hiding in the closet. I agree that it would be sooo hard to give up the internet. Happy Thursday to you, too, Ron!


  6. Fish is very good for people. Having fish once a week is a blessing to one’s health. Jesus sacrificed for us, so I think sacrificing for Him is natural and good. Blessings to you, Tracy…


  7. We’ve owned restaurants and I know very well how popular those Friday fish fries are! Actually I think it’s pretty popular year round. 🙂

    I’m glad you hopped over from Suzicate’s site. It’s wonderful to meet you!


  8. That’s a lot of Fs..am working up to the self denial thing!


  9. Posted by Kalli on April 7, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    ah the fish fry….takes me back.. i grew up greek orthodox so we could not eat meat on fridays either. today it seems silly since i rarely eat meat. but to me going without means not allowing myself a glass of wine-that is a horrible sacrifice that i practice every so often.


  10. Yes…the Lenten fish fry. Delicious in all its greasy goodness.

    My father’s family cookbook has a “Friday” section that’s all meatless from back in the day when EVERY Friday was meatless.

    And I’d have to concur…life without wine? Surely Jesus wouldn’t want me to that, right?


    • A family cookbook – what a great piece of family history!! And although I can’t speak for Jesus, I think he would say that wine goes pretty well with life.


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