Fishy business


Gabriella Sarullo

Senior Gabriella Sarullo REALLY does not like fish

Lily Burger, Photo Editor; Copy Editor

As many of you know, Catholics eat fish on Fridays because the tradition is that since Jesus died and was “warm-blooded,” Catholics cannot eat warm-blooded animals on Fridays during Lent. The solution then is to eat cold-blooded animals like fish (or reptiles… so anybody want fried frog legs?). Fish has long been a tradition due to how ubiquitous it was in medieval diets and how they could be cured and stored for a long time during winters. There used to be a lot more fasting days in the Catholic Calendar, so fish became a massive part of the global economy during the Middle Ages – Medieval time periods. However, when King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church to marry Anne Boleyn, the fish market took a hit as fish became seen as a symbol of the Pope and became a controversial thing to eat. This became so much of a problem that once King Henry VIII’s son, Edward, became king, he reintroduced more fasting days that had to be followed by law. Since then, fish has continued to be a fasting food staple.   

But what do the students of St. Edward think about eating fish for Lent? For the most part, people I talked to said they either hated or loved fish. Senior Josh Roldan said, “I feel like meals get very, very boring without fish, so I feel like fish is good.” Conversely, senior Gabby Sarullo said that “[she] can’t stand fish and hate[s] the smell.” I also asked some students what their family does for Lent Fridays. Junior Joseph Johnson said, “Usually my family doesn’t eat fish, but we will usually get fried shrimp as a side for dinner on Fridays.”  Other students don’t really think too much about eating fish for Lent because there are more meatless options to eat nowadays, like sophomore Olivia Ceryance said, “To me, it doesn’t matter very much because I don’t think you really HAVE to eat fish.”  

Most local restaurants offer a Fish Fry Friday special, so you don’t have to look far to keep up with this Lenten tradition. Elgin Public House has a weekly special for Fish Fry Fridays that lasts all year long where you can get a British-styled Fish and Chips meal. If you are looking for something easier to get then stop by Mcdonald’s. The Filet O Fish at Mcdonald’s was actually invented for this exact purpose! A Cincinnati McDonald’s owner, Lou Groen, noticed how his stores weren’t selling as many burgers during Lenten Fridays that he decided to invent a new item for the menu. One last option is right down the street from St. Edward, you can go to the Walnut Speakeasy where they also have a Fish Fry Friday special.  

Eating fish has been a tradition within the Catholic Church for a long time and it has a rich history to go with it. If you are the type of person who enjoys this tradition, there are lots of places for you to go. Similarly, if fish isn’t your thing there are still plenty of meatless and/or non-fish options that you can eat during Lent. With this information in mind, have a reflective and good Lenten season!