After discussing blog topics with friends, it was decided that I needed to write about fish. I write reluctantly because most of those I know who observe Lent don’t actually cook their own fish; they are generally going to restaurants or fast-food places to get Friday’s mandated fix of fish. To me, battered and fried fish is just not on my daily radar. I do, however, come from a long line (pun intended) of fish 'n' chips die-hards.
My father would have eaten fish and chips everyday if given the option. I find very little excitement about eating deep-fried fish with fried potatoes and dipping it in tartar sauce or, if you’re going for “authentic,” sprinkling malt vinegar on it . . . sue me. Generally, I find that the dish tastes like fryer, and very few places actually batter fresh fish. Usually, it is frozen and battered or, at the least, frozen, thawed, and battered with prefab batter mix—just add water, and voila, mediocre fish fry. I'm not knocking the tradition, the dish, or people who love it. Maybe cooking thousands of pounds of it has sullied the dish for me. I get why people love it: They grew up with it, have fond supper club memories of it, and it gives them a little nostalgia to share with the kids.
I did not grow up with such fond Lenten fish memories. When I was little, it was fish sticks or McDonald’s on Fridays, and later, in my early teen years, I remember orange roughy done in the microwave with margarine and that ubiquitous eighties seasoning, lemon pepper. Yuck! The lemon pepper tasted like plastic lemons, the margarine tasted like plastic butter, and the roughy took on plasticity that only a microwave could produce. Maybe I’m just jealous of the Friday fish fry because my own Lenten fish memories are so drab.