Another Lenten is in the books and I always hate when this time of the year has come and gone. I’m not going to get into all of the religious aspects of Lenten, but more so of a light-hearted reason on why I love the past 40 days – fish fry!
And what goes hand-in-hand with Lenten fish fry? Yep, you guessed it. Hot sauce. And more hot sauce. And even more hot sauce!
If you want to dig into my love for fish and hot sauce, it started a long time ago when my parents used to take me to different fish fry’s around Western Pennsylvania, where I grew up and still call home. I always loved seafood – more importantly hot, fried fish straight out of the fryer – and when I became enamored with hot sauce several years back, the two fit together like a horse and carriage, love and marriage, Bert and Ernie…I think you get the picture.
My love for fish fry during Lenten has grown exponentially and since I started writing hot sauce reviews for SauceAuthority.com, I looked forward to this time of year even more. Yes I’m that guy that brings his own hot sauce to different Catholic churches to try it with fish. So what right? I have an addiction for food, flavor and fish fry’s!
So why do I love this time of the year so much? It is obvious, the fish fry’s. Whether you like the actual fried fish, baked cod, mac and cheese, apple sauce, tomato Florentine soup or whatever, fish fry’s are the eating cornerstone of every Lenten season. And the cornerstone of every meal at my house is hot sauce. So when Lenten comes around, I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning. I pack up my different hot sauces and can’t wait to get to the different fish fry’s around Pittsburgh!
On my most recent expedition to match my perfect hot sauce with my fried fish, I jumped in the car and took a trip to St. Kilian’s Fish Fry (near Cranberry Township, Pa.). And not only did I bring two sauces (for this visit I went with Rocky’s Original Hot Sauce as well as a small mini bottle of Tabasco sauce), but I also brought along a little notepad to see whether or not this particular fish fry was as good as advertised. Yeah, again I’m that guy that shows up judging hot sauces and fried fish. My wife questions my sanity many times! And to answer any questions about their fish and my hot sauces, yeah they were unreal together.
But like I said, I love Lenten season and when I go to places like St. Kilian’s, I want to make the most of my trip because as we all know, there aren’t too many Fridays included in this Catholic tradition. I told you before I get all giddy and can’t control myself when it comes to combining fried fish and the best condiment known to man, hot sauce. It is in my blood, literally and figuratively, and it makes this time of year even better because you have the religious side of Lenten combined with the tasty side!
Don’t get me wrong, I eat hot sauce 24/7/365, and I add it to pretty much every holiday tradition. But this is different. This is special and holds a dear place in my heart. This is Lenten season. This is fried fish and mac and cheese doused in hot sauce. This is my life. I love it.
So whether I’m going to St. Teresa of Avila in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, or whether I venture to St. Mary of the Mount near downtown, I never forget to pack up my pouch of hot sauces because you never want to waste a solid Friday evening dinner during Lenten without the perfect combination to your meal – hot sauce.
So as Jim Nantz of CBS Sports often says about the Masters Golf Tournament, “A Tradition Unlike Any Other.” I beg to differ, Jim. This is truly a tradition unlike any other.