And a priest has a few observations, along with some recipes:
The Filet-o-Fish sandwich was added to McDonalds’ menus in 1962 after Louis Groen, owner of the chain’s Cincinnati franchises, noticed that his restaurants experienced a sharp drop in sales every Friday. Even today, 25 per cent of the 300 million Filets-o-Fish sold annually in the US are during the 40 days of Lent.
Many campaigners have recently urged Catholics not to embrace fish with too much gusto as part of their Friday observance, pointing out that more than a few species of fish are dangerously depleted. Fish at the top of the food chain – shark, swordfish, tuna – are best avoided because not only are they endangered, they are also high in mercury. But some of the fish that are best for you, including anchovies, sardines and mackerel, are well managed and in some cases abundant. It seems clear, too, that sitting down to a steaming dish of Lobster Thermidor is hardly in the spirit of Friday abstinence, so perhaps now is the time to try less glamorous varieties (such as pollack, coley and whiting).
Yet, what we are asked to do is abstain from meat, not indulge in fish, and in England and Wales there is no need to rely on bizarre meat substitutes or seek to have ducks reclassified as fish; we can simply eat vegetables (though vegetarians and what Anthony Bourdain calls “their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans”, will have to find another form of abstinence). Nigel Slater’s recent two-volume paean to the vegetable garden, Tender, has more than enough vegetable recipes to keep most cooks going for a lifetime, and even the champion carnivore Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall claims to have been eating “a lot less meat”.
Abstaining from meat is a small gesture intended to remind us of Christ’s sacrifice; an absence of flesh on the dining table that leads us to recall the Lord’s gift of his own flesh on the Cross. It will occasionally be inconvenient, that’s the point, but it should always be joyful.
Check out his recipes and more at the link.