How Fish Frys Originated

If you’ve ever heard of fish fries, you probably want to know where the delicious concept came from. The tradition started a long time ago as a religious ritual and worked its way into the Midwest. Here’s some information about how they came to be:

Where Do Fish Fries Come From?

The concept of fish fry originated with people who practiced Catholicism. They had a tradition of abstaining from meat on Friday, which was a day of abstinence and fasting. The list of disallowed meats included beef, lamb, sausage, etc. However, their canon did not exclude fish from the list of allowable foods. Thus, they eventually began a tradition of having fish on Fridays because it was one of the only options they had for meat. 

Fish Fry History in America

Friday fish made its way to America in the 1800s when German and Polish immigrants moved into the Midwest area. They carried over the Catholic tradition, and then everyone in the Midwest picked up on it and adopted it. That’s why the Midwest is the largest area that participates in it. 

Some people claim that the African American people in the South had a Saturday tradition of frying fish that later changed to Friday. This tradition had to do with the enslavers and how they allowed enslaved persons to have Friday to themselves. They would give them personal time after work on Friday. Fish is still a popular meal among Southern groups. Every soul food store offers fish and the most popular soul food dishes. 

The Prohibition Makes Bar Owners Fishy

Fish got popular again in the 1920s during the prohibition. With taverns no longer allowed to sell alcohol, they had to do something to keep their doors open. Hence, they served fried fish to their patrons, and it worked. 

The all-famous supper clubs exploded in the 1940s, giving rise to the fish tradition once again. Nowadays, frying fish is like second nature in the Midwest and is popular in the South as well. 

Another fact about fish is that McDonald’s introduced its Filet-O-Fish sandwich because Catholic customers would not buy hamburgers during the Lent holiday. Now, one of the most delicious sandwiches in the world is a regular part of the menu. 

What Is a Fish Fry?

Fish fry is another term for fried fish, and it can be breaded or battered to specification—the person who makes it usually serves it with french fries, coleslaw and bread. Making a fish fry is not a difficult task, and the recipe requires fish, frying oil, eggs and bread. Flour can be used or left out, depending on the person’s preferences. 

The seasoning can change according to the cook’s preferences. Some people like to make theirs with salt and pepper, while others like to add lemon.

Now you know more about the history of fish fries and where the tradition came from. Delight yourself in a fish fry dinner this Friday and join the long-standing tradition.   

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