Friday, March 13, 2015
Lenten Fridays have me fearing we'll run out of fish
Most readers don’t know it, but I’ve for most of my life tended a 30-gallon aquarium of innocuous tropical fish: gouramis, tetras, guppies, etc.
I stopped doing this about four months ago after it finally dawned on me that watching small emotionless fish swim back and forth in an enclosed space full of fake plants and a sunken Pirate ship was really kind of boring.
The aquarium was in the basement right next to the TV and the poor fish just couldn’t compete when the set was playing the latest Liam Neeson shoot-‘em-up.
The time without the tank has been revelatory. I learned I much prefer seeing my fish deep-fried and on a plate.
Well, not my fish. Although I’m pretty sure the feelings went unreciprocated, I was too sentimental about my finned pets to eat them. So I carefully bagged them up and took them, the tank and accessories up to the local pet shop for friendly dispersal.
I can only hope they weren’t purchased by a local cook and saved for Lenten specials in some church basement.
I’m one of those guys who loves seafood, but am becoming alarmed that so many of you consider it a religious obligation to on Lenten Fridays lay waste to vast swaths of the once-abundant sea population.
And I’m fearful of the day when I have to choose between the enduring survival of a food I love to eat and that of my many Catholic friends.
Because if it comes down to a choice of cod or Catholic, I’ll be conflicted.
Catholics are great, sure, but they fight right back if you start squirting them with tartar sauce.
Experts say the seas are being overfished and that Catholics are eating too many fish.
Oh, yeah? Name one of these so-called “experts,” you say.
He recently made waves — and that’s bound to happen anytime you’re talking about ocean produce — by saying too many Catholics use meatless Fridays as an excuse to gorge on seafood.
He said it’s the sin of gluttony. He’s right.
He’s a thoughtful man, isn’t he? He is always weighing in on topics you’d never imagine the other popes tackling. He talks about climate change, racial injustice and now the spiritual aspects of our diet.
Some of the things he says are so controversial I’m surprised Donald Trump hasn’t announced his suspicions that Pope Francis is actually a Kenyan-born Muslim.
I think he’s a truly great man and I love the way he’s sticking it to the Bishops for their lordly living.
And I think he’s onto something with lecturing the faithful about gluttony.
I worry, too, that the seafood will one day disappear.
That’s one reason I stuff myself with delicious sushi, lobster, etc. whenever I get the chance.
I’d heard, like so many of you, that the whole motivation of fish-on-Fridays was because one of the medieval popes had a shady deal to enrich the Italian fishing industry.
After some cursory research, that maybe fable. I found no factual evidence that’s the case.
So the story of some long dead pope arbitrarily instigating the global economics of seafood consumption may be, well, fishy.
It’d be like cows who walk around with those “EAT MOR CHIKIN” signs.
Either way, we have about 1.2 billion Roman Catholics who today will sit down at the table and eating enough fishes and loaves to have the Savior Himself saying, “Geez, save some room for dessert!”
I’d like to see the pope declare that henceforth on meatless Fridays Catholics should swap seafood for cereal.
Church basements that today are alive with the savory sizzle of deep-fried fish could be animated by the snap, crackle and pop of Kellogg’s Rice Crispies. Instead of plates of uniformly tan food, there’d be bowls and bowls of festively colored Fruit Loops, Cap’n Crunch and Lucky Charms (they’re magically delicious!).
And our Catholic friends could gorge with less guilt, although a reduction in guilt seems to this Lutheran to be at odds with church doctrine.
It’d still be beneficial to essential global industries that grow grains and, more important, would help extend the sustainability of our dwindling seafood.
The best part?
More for me!
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