Is Pittsburgh the Lenten Fish Fry Capital?

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By: Janice Lane Palko


Unless you’re a fan of salmon patties, Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks, or grilled cheese and tomato soup, the fish fry is a welcome option to the Lenten menu. In Pittsburgh you can’t cast a line without hitting a church hosting a fish fry, prompting the question: Is Pittsburgh the capital of the Lenten fish fry? I’ve been to Washington, D. C.; Augusta, Georgia; and San Francisco on various Good Fridays and was lucky if there was one fish fry to be found. Although there’s no way to scientifically prove that Pittsburgh is the fish fry capital, for several reasons, we’re inclined to think it is.

Traditionally, it is Catholics who are obligated to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays during Lent. According to a 2014 Public Religion Research Institute study, Boston, New York, and Pittsburgh are the three top cities in the U.S. having the most residents identifying as Catholic. All three cities are tied, with each of them having 36 percent of all their residents claiming to be Catholic.

One would think that Boston with its location on the Atlantic’s doorstep would be a shoe-in for the fish fry capital, but think again. An internet search for Boston Lenten fish fries only returned other websites where people were asking if Boston had any fish fries. The same happened when searching New York City for fish fries. One person offered the reason why Boston doesn’t have them is that fish is so ubiquitous there, it’d be fruitless to add another place where you can get fried fish. When inquiring if New York City had any, one person said no, but they do in Albany. Some help to the poor person in Brooklyn. However, a clue to why, out of the three…  For more, see original post…

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