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