View Full Version : "Fasters" what do you eat during Lent?

02-14-2002, 08:13 PM
DH and I fast (avoid meat) on Fridays during Lent. Now, we often eat meatless in our home--I'd say probably 3 meals out of 7--so we have quite a repetoire of good meatless meals, including a variety of ethnic dishes and interesting grains. However, when it comes to Lent, my husband gets weird on me. When I ask what he wants for dinner on Friday night, all he can think of is grilled cheese sandwiches, bean and cheese chalupas, cheese pizza, or fish sticks. THIS IS NOT HOW WE EAT!!!!!!!

I've been thinking about it, and I'm guessing that this must be what his mother (not much of a cook--I'll have to tell the story of the gummy-bear mashed potatoes someday) fed the family during Lent. And for whatever reason, he feels some sort of nostalgic draw back to that (ahem) cuisine and is not even remotely interested in branching out.

Not having grown up Catholic, this has got me wondering--what did the rest of you eat during Lent while you were growing up? And what do you eat now?

02-14-2002, 08:24 PM
never did lent....sorry....
but DH and I have many meatless days so it wouldn't be a problem.
Confession: first cheeseburger yesterday in over 1 year!!!!! boy they are good:o

if you can eat fish, why not make that....

02-14-2002, 08:37 PM
Fish Fries! I've been to fish fries at homes (lots at our place), churches, lodges, bars ... tons of places. The fish is only good if it's fresh -- I grew up on the shores of Lake Erie, so perch was never in short supply. Definitely fish.

Creamed tuna over toast was probably in there somewhere, but by age 12 I refused to eat it. :D I'm also positive that pasta dinners figured into the meal plans on Fridays.

Now that I'm older and going meatless isn't that big of a deal anyway, it's super easy! Pasta, tofu, fish (lots of different kinds) ... it's not even a sacrifice to me. I keep to the meatless idea for Fridays, but I try to make sacrifices elsewhere in my life to reinforce the Lenten principles.

What your DH is looking to eat: cheese sandwiches and fish sticks were surely a staple in TONS of houses. Don't be so quick to fault your MIL for that! As for the chalupas and pizzas ... I doubt their history dating back to childhood. :D

02-14-2002, 08:40 PM
I converted to Catholicism a few years ago, so I don't have the childhood memories of meatless meals (and my parents rarely cooked meatless meals at all)...but I have a problem coming up with stuff for Lent too. We eat lots of meatless meals - probably about the same as you, 3/7 - but the challenge is that we usually take leftovers for lunches. So we need to have meatless meals on Thursday AND Friday (so that Friday's lunch will be meatless too). Most of my meatless recipes are a little more time consuming, so they're not too easy for Thursday nights (especially since we have somewhere to be that evening, so dinners need to be 30 min or less). I guess I'll have to dig through my recipes and come up with some faster meatless entrees for Thursdays!

02-14-2002, 09:10 PM
FISH STICKS AND TATER TOTS!!! My mom TO THIS DAY eats fish sticks and tater tots every Friday during Lent. It's no wonder that I can't even stand the smell!

These days, I make my own pizza on Fridays during Lent -- and much of the rest of the year as well, actually. I don't fast all day, so I normally have grilled cheese or a big salad for lunch. In addition to being an easy meatless meal, it helps clear out veggies left over from the week. Also, DH isn't Catholic, so he's able to put meat on his pizza. (We make dough in the breakmaker and each make our own personal-sized pie.)

02-14-2002, 09:20 PM
What I ate as a child on Fridays during Lent and what I eat now are two entirely different stories. As a kid, Friday dinners would be grilled cheese sandwiches with Chef Boyardee spaghetti (the stuff still gags me to this day!:( ), frozen fish sticks, tuna casserole, and filet of sole. No offense Mom, but you can keep your Lent menus!:o

I see Lent as a time to get creative with my cooking. I use this time to try new fish or interesting grain recipes that have been on my "to try" list for months. I agree with Jen that the real challenge is lunches, because my DH and I also take leftovers to work. So, basically I have to plan to "meatless" dinners in a row. Grilled fish is quick and easy for Thursday nights. I usually make something alittle more elaborate on Friday evenings when I have more time.

I must say I do enjoy the Lent season. Friday evenings become special family times for us. We usually will rent a biblical video such as "The Greatest Story Ever Told" or "The Robe" to watch while we try my latest meatless cuisine. Hopefully, my DD will have fond memories of this season in her adulthood.


P.S. Jodi - We must have been typing at the same time! Let's hear it for those awful fish sticks!!!! Pizza is a great idea! I might do that on one Friday evening.

02-14-2002, 09:46 PM
My mom's Lenten rotation included: potato leek soup with grilled cheese sandwiches or bread and salad; shrimp sandwiches (bay shrimp mixed with a little mayo and cocktail sauce) on sourdough, and at least one Friday we'd have scallops.

I made scallops last night and am planning on salmon for tomorrow. I think I'll make the pasta with roasted butternut squash and vidalia onions next Friday. But I like to take time during Lent to experiment with fish, since I don't cook it that often. (If the truth be told, it intimidates me a little. :rolleyes: )

02-14-2002, 11:26 PM
Originally posted by Robyncz
However, when it comes to Lent, my husband gets weird on me. When I ask what he wants for dinner on Friday night, all he can think of is grilled cheese sandwiches, bean and cheese chalupas, cheese pizza, or fish sticks. THIS IS NOT HOW WE EAT!!!!!!!

I've been thinking about it, and I'm guessing that this must be what his mother (not much of a cook--I'll have to tell the story of the gummy-bear mashed potatoes someday) fed the family during Lent. And for whatever reason, he feels some sort of nostalgic draw back to that (ahem) cuisine and is not even remotely interested in branching out.

Your husband and I must be of approximately the same generation, because his Lenten cravings sound about like what we had on Friday's during lent as a kid. My dad WAS a good cook... in addition to the frozen fish fillets and grilled cheese, the other staple was a killer veggie lasagna that I am still trying (and failing) to replicate some twenty years later.

For the most part I've put my childhood behind me... I've come up with much more creative meatless main dish ideas... but I confess that at least once during the Lenten season I'll likely pick up a "fillet o'fish sandwich" at McDonalds. Odd, because I wouldn't touch the stuff the other 11 months of the year. But just as Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without grandma's ravioli, Lent just doesn't feel right if I don't choke down a processed, previously frozen hunk of unidentifiable fish. Oh well... if that's the most significant psychological baggage my parents left me with, I'm blessed. :)


02-15-2002, 04:43 AM
I am older than most of you, and when I was growing up meat was not allowed on Friday at all. It was probably difficult for my mom to come up with meals because MEAT was the star of every meal. Some of the things we had were pierogi, fish, salmon patties with creamed egg sauce . Now, I might make baked fish, pizza, grilled cheese and homemade tomato soup, a tortilla and bean casserole , tuna and noodles, and salmon patties. I find Lenten meals difficult to plan.

MK- DH was fondly recalling creamed tuna over toast on Ash Wednesday. Vicky

02-15-2002, 05:58 AM
Well I was raised Baptist so we didn't do anything at all during Lent, but I became a part of the Lutheran Church about 3 years ago and while I don't feel as if I HAVE to give up meat on Fridays during Lent, I may this year. I don't know why-probably because we haven't found a church around here yet and I need to "feel religious" in some way or another, and I think that being aware of what I eat on Friday (and why) would be helpful in remembering what this season means in terms of sacrifice. I have given up a favorite food for Lent before (french fries) and this year DH and I are giving up ice cream.

Peggy-I like Lent too (thought I was the only one). What I love, love, love about it is how (in the ELCA, at least, probably other denominations as well), you can't say "Hallelujah" during Lent, so on Easter you get to say it about a million times and it's just this awesome release (can you tell I finally found a church I like-being raised Baptist was just not for me).

02-15-2002, 07:11 AM
I can TOTALLY relate to fish sticks and tater tots! I thought MINE was the only family addicted to these staples during Lent! :D

DH isn't Catholic, but he goes along, which isn't too much of a sacrifice because we already eat a lot of fish and make a lot of meatless dishes, such as pasta.

However, because we eat out nearly every Friday and Saturday night, I find it difficult to order Lent-friendly meals at restaurants (anyone else have this dilemma?) I've been known to completely space out and end up at the Outback Steakhouse on a Friday -- duh!

02-15-2002, 07:12 AM
Tuna Noodle Casserole! It seems like during Lent is the only time I make this. Growing up we never ate meat on any Friday (my parents still don't eat meat on Fridays!), so it was either tuna fish, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti tossed with a cream sauce. My parents love sardines (yuk!) so on those days us kids would get the fish sticks.

02-15-2002, 07:46 AM
There always seemed to be some confusion as to the practices of fasting and abstinence during Lent.
Fasting generally included the practice of eating only one full meal during the day, the other two being of smaller portions with no "snacking or nibbling" between hours. The practice could also include abstinence-abstaining from a certain food (why some people give up sweets). On Ash Wednesday and fridays during Lent, the practice of fasting includes abstinence from meat as mandated by the Church -- hence, meatless meals on Fridays.

There are many times I wonder what to fix and fall back on old standbys--tuna bunsteads, macaroni and cheese, meatless spaghetti, vegetable lasagna, cheese pierogies, vegetable soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, fish of any kind and any way, etc.
To me, it's surprising how fast the 40 days go. Being Polish, we celebrate on Easter sunday after Church with blessed food, including tasty Polish sausage and baked ham. By then, I'm ready for it!!

So everyone fasting and abstaining-keep up the good work! A few calories less "is a good thing."


02-15-2002, 09:09 AM
My childhood memories of Lenten meals don't appeal to me anymore. My mom would serve fish sticks, Chef Boy-ar-dee pizza or scrambled eggs & toast. Ugh!

These days I feel a little guilty because my DH and I really enjoy our meals during Lent. I feel like we should make a sacrifice and eat the food of my youth or something, but, for now, we're sticking to delicious options - lots of shrimp, fish, scallops, crab, stir fry, beans, homemade pizza, etc.

02-15-2002, 10:14 AM
Growing up I had my share of fish sticks and grilled cheese during lent and on accasion tuna casserole.

02-15-2002, 10:32 AM
I think I may be a bad Catholic! (Horrors!)
I was under the assumption that Fridays during Lent were only Abstinence days and Ash Wednesday and Good Friday were Fast/Abstinence days. I don't recall ever fasting on Fridays during Lent. ( And my Dad's a deacon, you'd think he would've said something to me.) I'd better get to confession before Easter.

When I was growing up we often had the fish sticks, mac & cheese, etc. meals many of you have discussed. Mom said it was a combination of cost effectiveness and short prep time back then. She's a fantastic cook (as I have attested to several times before on this BB), and she and I now both make things like grilled salmon, bay scallops with garlic and white wine, and on one particularly special occassion Friday ( I think my sister had just gotten engaged or something) we even had lobster. We have often discussed it and have come to the conclusion that abstinence is supposed to be a gesture of sacrifice and penitence to atone for sins before Easter, but for most of my family, eating fish instead of meat is not much of a sacrifice (especially when the fish is lobster). Mom says she thinks that the reason fish is allowed by the church on Fridays is not because it isn't meat but because the apostles were fishermen. I don't know how much validity there is to her belief, but I like it.

02-15-2002, 10:36 AM
Now this is a new one for me. My BF was raised Catholic; I am Baptist. Anyway, neither of us feel we HAVE to practice lent, but would rather do so as a reminder of what the season is about.

With that said, here's the other half of the equation: We live in Wisconsin where fish frys abound. Big, greasy plates of fried northern or cod or whatever complemented by coleslaw, rye bread and french fries. Healthy, huh?

Well, we're branching out tonight and having this crab pasta salad we like. Tuna sandwiches are good for lunch, as is salad. I make plenty of nonmeat stuff, like vegetarian chili, marinara sauce, etc.

I'm sure we won't make it through the season without one of Al's famous fish frys. We bread and season crappies and deep fry them. Those aren't greasy at all. That and some wild rice and homemade coleslaw are so yummy you wonder if you're really giving up anything at all. :)

02-15-2002, 10:42 AM
when i was younger, "no meat on Fridays" meant fish. I don't think I'll ever understand that, and I think I even asked my mom once, "isn't fish a meat too?" We always had fish on Fridays. My mom would make fish sticks, or a yummy fish/rice casserole with lemon and mushrooms (and she ONLY makes this during Lent!), or my dad would make ceviche and we'd eat it with crackers. I still crave that ceviche, although now I'm more wary of eating raw fish! I think it's so funny because my mom and dad do eat meatless meals (grilled cheese, quesadillas, etc.), but on fridays they eat fish. :)

now, my husband and i eat meatless meals most of the week, so it wouldn't really be an issue to have a meatless meal on fridays. tonight we're probably having grilled cheese with a quick tomato soup. however, all this talk about fish sticks is making me crave them--i haven't had them since i was a kid!


02-15-2002, 10:52 AM
Originally posted by ccooney
Mom says she thinks that the reason fish is allowed by the church on Fridays is not because it isn't meat but because the apostles were fishermen. I don't know how much validity there is to her belief, but I like it.

I asked about this on a Catholic Vegetarian board once. Someone said that people were to eat simple foods rather than feast foods during the time of abstinance. Meat, sugar, and oil were feast foods at that time and not used on a regular basis as they are today. Fish was an easy to get staple (nothing special) and therefore was not included.

This is probably why so many vegetarians have to suffer through people thinking that they eat fish.

02-15-2002, 11:02 AM
Raised Catholic and still going strong . . .

As a kid - Lenten Fridays always included fish sticks or pizza. Now - I get a little more creative with pasta and shell fish or things of that nature. Also, stuffed shells, and (I can't think of the name of it - I'm drawing a blank - the egg and veggies and cheese in a pie crust) play into my menu.

And, a little bit of the old Church ways crept into my house growing up - Friday night was pizza night!

02-15-2002, 11:31 AM
For those who would like to research more on fasting and abstinence in the history of the Catholic Church, you can read background information at [URL=www.newadvent.org] through the Catholic Encyclopedia section, check Lent, Fast or similar topics.

And I guess it's true, it's not much of a sacrifice to eat lobster on a Friday to satisfy the no-meat requirement.
But I'm assuming everyone has good intentions anyway!


02-15-2002, 11:33 AM
Well, I did a little digging, and found some great resources at http://www.ewtn.com/faith/lent/fast.htm

From what I read, in the U.S. abstinence is called for on Fridays during Lent. Fridays outside of Lent are excused from abstinence as long as a pentitential deed is done (abstaining counts). Fasting is obligatory on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

My favorite quote on a different page http://catholic.org/lent/ made me think of you, ccooney!!!

Avoiding meat while eating lobster misses the whole point!

Just thought I'd share. :D Now, my salmon fillets are defrosting as we speak. If the salmon was on sale and cost less per pound than the cod/tilapia/catfish ... does that make it a humble meal?

02-15-2002, 11:52 AM
"Fasting" "Abstinance"--okay, so I got the terminology wrong. Didn't claim to be an expert. I stand corrected on many fronts.

But my original question led to an interesting discussion and I'm no longer concerned that DH is a freak. Sounds like many of you are coming from the same place. I think I'll compromise--something nostalgic one week, something decent the next.

An interesting aside:
there are many days that I don't eat any meat at all and I never miss it, but it seems like on the days when I am (ahem!) abstaining, meat is all I seem to want. Regardless of what we do end up eating (let me guarantee, it's NOT lobster, but it's usually something tasty), we are reminded several times a day that this is a special and spiritual time of year, and I guess that is the whole point of making the sacrifice to begin with, right?

02-15-2002, 12:08 PM
Janet, I think you mean quiche. Love that stuff. I am going to make the wild mushroom spinach lasagna with goat cheese sauce. Although it is meatless, I really don't think I am giving too much up. Vicky

02-15-2002, 01:11 PM
I grew up eating tuna casserole and fish sticks on Fridays during Lent. My mom grew up in the era of no meat on Fridays ever, and ate a lot of macaroni and cheese. As a result, she doesn't eat mac and cheese now. I can't say I blame her, since I don't eat fish sticks now!

DH and I actually gave up something together, red meat and pork for Lent. I wanted to go all veggie, but he didn't, so we decided to say that chicken and fish still allowed.

I will be looking for some more veggie meals since we will be eating them more like 4-6 times/week rather than our usual 2-3.

I'm with you Robyn, that now that we "cant" eat meat it seems to be what we want!

02-15-2002, 02:16 PM
Fish sticks...wow...:eek:

I am no longer a practicing Catholic, and my parents have become much more moderate over the years. However, Ash Wednesday and Fridays in our household meant

Boiled cod filets! :eek:

You know, those rectangular pressed things? Mum would boil two of those up and serve it with melted butter. I liked the butter the best! ;) :D

02-15-2002, 02:48 PM
Growing up, we would often have grilled cheese with Campbell's tomato soup, macaroni & cheese (Kraft) and fish sticks, tuna noodle casserole, and homemade PIEROGIES :)
It kind of cracks me up that we ate a lot of processed food (fish sticks, mac'n'cheese, canned soup), but my mom would also take the time to make us delicious pierogies. Oh, we also ate "halushki" which is sauteed cabbage and noodles (also yummy)...you can also add sauteed bacon (but not during Lent, obviously!)
Can you tell I'm from Eastern European descent???


02-15-2002, 03:11 PM
AMYO- yes we had halushki, too. I am Slovak and I haven't had halushki for years. Could be on the menu this week. Vicky

02-15-2002, 03:27 PM
As a child, mac & cheese was a staple; along with grilled cheese. Now on Fridays it is usually some kind of a vegetable stir fry, or pasta with a basic tomato sauce....Oh yeah, tuna fish was also a must must must during Lent...

02-15-2002, 06:40 PM
This site may be of some help in the on going search for meatless meals. I thought I got this link from this BB but it might have been another one.


I haven't tried any of the sites or recipes yet but they are on my list of things to try.

02-16-2002, 06:34 AM

Originally posted by Robyncz
However, when it comes to Lent, my husband gets weird on me.
When I ask what he wants for dinner on Friday night, all he can think
of is grilled cheese sandwiches, bean and cheese chalupas, cheese
pizza, or fish sticks.

ditto ditto ditto and going to catholic grade school with a hot lunch program i was forced to eat the @###$ fish sticks or go hungry. i went hungry until they relented and i could have a pbj. i still can't stand the smell of them. a friend just asked me for ideas as her husband eats no meat all lent not just fridays. we tried to sign up for a veggie indian cooking class but it was filled.
i can rec the chickpea and coucous stuffed peppers from last year- may i think but i'm not sure which issue. black beans and rice (my fave year round)
anything from the cookbooks horn of the moon and beyond the moon- everthing i've made has been excellent!

someone mention haluski- yum totally forgot about that- my polish grandma made it. and her periogi's made lent almost worth looking forward too. mrs. t's will have to do for now.

i'm looking forward to the suggestions- i don't keep lent but appreciate yummy veggie dishes.

04-07-2003, 08:41 AM
Originally posted by AmyO26
Oh, we also ate "halushki" which is sauteed cabbage and noodles (also yummy)...you can also add sauteed bacon (but not during Lent, obviously!)

Okay, Amy...How do you make that? It sounds yummy!