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Inspirational Reads

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol. LIX

February 19, 2010

Today is the first Friday of Lent. Which means there's something fishy in the air.

On a side note, Lent always reminds me how much I truly love peanut butter and jelly.

For those of you unclear on the concept, Lent is the forty-day period that precedes Easter in the liturgical calendar. It starts on Ash Wednesday and stretches until Easter Saturday. It's supposed to mark the 40 days that Jesus was in the desert, driving demons out of pigs and speaking with a weird coyote thing and having a vision quest. But he was also tempted by Satan. In order to understand Jesus' ordeal, those pretending to be Catholics like me "give up" something in order that we may be tempted, too, much like Christ.

Of course, we're also not supposed to eat meat on Fridays, because it's not enough to not be tempted to call the guy driving ten miles under the speed limit on the freeway in front of you while gabbing on his cell phone an "asshat". Nope. We have to up the ante and make sure no meat passes our lips on Fridays.

It used to be that you couldn't eat meat at all during Lent, but since Pope Paul VI relaxed things a bit in the mid-60's, it's only Fridays during Lent that meatlessness is observed (it used to be that every Friday during the year would be meatless! The horror!). Pope Paul VI also decided that, in lieu of giving up something and fasting, one can dedicate more time to prayer and volunteer work and donations. Bless you, Paul VI! Someone canonize this visionary already!

This whole fasting from meat thing used to be for a more practical reason. Meat is kind of expensive, and your average peasant isn't going to be able to afford it quite often. And, if the average peasant is spending his money at the butcher's shop, how is he ever going to line the pockets of the local bishopric with gold donate money to the local church?

There were also some who claimed that, since meat, cheese and eggs are just so damned tasty (I'm paraphrasing a bit), you might actually enjoy eating them. Any pleasure is a sin, and we can't have sin during Lent. So, these were outlawed, but the church came to their senses with the dairy and relaxed the ruling a bit. Ecce potestas casei!

Of course, in Shakespeare's day (when England was all bi-polar with it's desire to either be Catholic or Anglican/Protestant), "fish" was a bit of a looser term, shall we say. Poultry was considered "fish", because it was white meat. In some places, beaver was considered "fish", because a beaver lives in water, and the tail looks a little like a fish. Not to mention, some beavers smelling of fish.

With all that in mind, and despite how awesome the Gorton's Fisherman is, good fish dishes take time to prepare. And they also tend to take fresh fish. And fish also tends to be a little bit expensive, so I don't eat it that often. Fish sticks? No thanks. Fillet o' Fish? I'll pass. Braised fillet of red snapper filled with crab meat and corn bread stuffing? I'll sacrifice a testicle for that!

I think you can see my problem here. Without the time, funds or means to make a dish like this, I resort to peanut butter and jelly.

When someone asks, though, I take the easy way out and offer up this little dandy:

Vix piscem amo.

Pronounced: "Weeks pees-kaim ah-moh."

Smells like teen spirit hovertext!

But, you know what? No matter how much time or effort or anything else was poured into making that dish...I'm not going to eat it.

Happy Friday, everybody.


Scope said...

Seems kind of odd that I am "sacrificing" by not eating a hamburger today, and instead going to Bob Chinn's for king crab legs. But gotta follow the rules.

And I had my $6.66 order of Filet-O-Fish on Wednesday. And for that I did suffer later.

Moooooog35 said...

I don't like swimmy fish. You know, fish with fins. If it has a shell or something, I love it.

But not swimmy fish.

I'm 5.

Adam L. said...

Do you observe the "Sunday is a skip day" rule during Lent?

You know, there are 46 or so actual days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Saturday, so you can take Sundays off and partake in whatever you've given up...? That's what we did.

kate said...

I really don't know that there's ever a need to eat a meal with eyeballs. If it can look at me then it's not dead enough.

Elliott said...

So you won't eat that dish, but would you take it to the movies?

We did the same thing as Adam's family. Of course, being Lutheran, the whole 'Lent' thing was more for show. I grew up thinking Friday fish fries were the norm, and still love a good beer-battered cod with German potato salad and potato pancakes whenever I can get it.

My parents had to explain to me why my friends were so jealous of my cheeseburger one day when we were all at lunch. Because I really didn't know.

carissa said...

That fish with eyes looks grody. I'm not Catholic, so I don't have to worry about giving up anything... I never really understood the concept of lent. Is he really going to smite you for eating meat? Nevermind. I'm not getting into that...Anyway. I don't eat meat besides fish very often... But I wouldn't go so far as to eat fish sticks either.

Jeney Peney said...

My used to make fish sticks every Friday during Lent when we were kids.

Then the three of us revolted and started demanding cheese pizza and brinner.

To this day I refuse to eat fish sticks.

SkylersDad said...

My mom tried her darnedest to make me a good Catholic boy, but I rebelled. I kind of broke her heart when I told her I didn't care to be confirmed.

Pearl said...

Wait. Pleasure is a sin?

Food (but not meat!) for thought...


Bev said...

I'm going to go ahead and ignore that fishy beaver comment. You're welcome.

I have a hard time with any fish that's too... IDK, fishy? Try Mahi Mahi - the fillet mignon of fish.

Oh, and thank you for the awesome Simpsons ref. I use, "After all, I am a coyote" far too often, and no one ever gets it!

mo.stoneskin said...

I never knew Jesus met the Whiley Coyte, is that in some apocryphal text?

I never got the peanut butter and jelly/jam business. Revolting. I'll give it up for Lent.

Oh, literary challenge at my place today, I dare you to give it a go my talented friend.

Nej said...

And all this time poor Jessica Simpson was being raked over the coals for thinking canned Chicken of the Sea, was actually poultry. If poultry is fish, then can we assume fish is poultry?

OK, maybe not....