[Reblog:] The Most Wonderful (Feasting) Time of the Year

Note: This post originally appeared on Girls Guide to the Galaxy. The site has since gone under, and I'm not sure how much longer these posts will still exist. But they were good. And I don't want to loose them. To see the original, click here

There is one time of the year that I’ve constantly got food on the brain. I’m not talking Thanksgiving turkeys or Christmas hams. I don’t care about dyed, hard-boiled Easter eggs. And I’m definitely not talking about those jello flag cakes everyone makes on 4th of July (although, I really enjoy those too).
I’m talking Lenten fish fries here.
In case you didn’t grow up in a Catholic household like I did, I’ll give you a rundown. Lent is the season preceding Easter when us crazy Catholics give up candy, soda, coffee and other vices in order to experience the sacrifice that Jesus experienced when he gave his life for us (because not eating candy for 40 days is totally comparable to dying….). While there is a bit of customization here, there is one thing everyone has to give up on Fridays – meat.
(PS Lent is why we celebrate Mardi Gras- aka Fat Tuesday – to indulge in all that bad behavior we have to give up for 40 days. Thank you, Catholic Church!)
Out of this meat depravation has come the ultimate feasting experience. The fish fry.
A classic fish fry will include fried cod or catfish, with healthy helpings of side dishes like applesauce, green beans, french fries, mac and cheese, potato salad and cole slaw. Some have even expanded their menus to include shrimp, cheese pizza, meat-free spaghetti and more. Basically, you get fried deliciousness, paired with a couple sides of more deliciousness. Oh, and they usually have assorted desserts there too.
We’re lucky here in Saint Louis to have fish fries on almost every corner in every neighborhood. I mean, really, who doesn’t love fried goodness? For me, these feasts are nostalgic. They remind me of simpler times, staying after school on Fridays while my Mom worked the carry out line at St. Simon’s fish fry. We ran around the blacktop in our school uniforms (shirts untucked since it was after hours!). We sat at tables in the gym eating our fish, fries and applesauce. And if we were really lucky, our parents would let us work the dessert tables, restocking the plates of brownies and pies and collecting tickets from hungry patrons.
Every year, I try to make at least one stop at St. Simon’s to enjoy their fish fry. But now that I’m a city-livin’ adult, I also like to venture out and try the menus at other fish fries. On my list this year:
St. Pius V. Lucky me. This is right down the street from my house! They’ve got a classic menu, plus beer and live music! I have a feeling I’ll be stopping here after work more than one Friday this season…
St. Gabriel’s. I have the pleasure of dating a guy who is obsessed with this fish fry and can’t brag enough about it. They’ve got the classics, plus salmon filets and fried shrimp. Looks like I’ll have to check out this South City church to see what all the fuss is about.
St. Agatha’s. This place gets bonus points for being close to work and home, plus it got 8.5 out of 10 fish patties from St. Louis fish fry blog, No Meat For You. Oh, and two words. Polish. Beer.
St. Joan of Arc. I’ll admit, I’ve been swayed by a stellar review from the 13 blog about this fish fry: ‘Good fish. Good selection. BEST sides. FREE beer.’ I’m there.
St. Ferdinand. This one  is a little drive for me (considering my other choices are pretty much all South City). But rumor has it, this one has ice cream. Good thing I’m not giving up sweets for Lent…
With any luck, I’ll be visiting seven different fish fries this Lenten season and I could not be more excited about it. What better way to prepare for swimsuit season that shoveling fried food into your mouth, right? Hmmm. Where’s that sarcasm font when I need it?
Ah well… Happy Feasting!

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