For those of you not Catholic or from the Midwest (actually, I don't think any of my 3 blog followers meet that description, but read on anyway), Lent is fish fry season around here. Our local fish fry is held every Friday night at the Tinley Park VFW hall during Lent. My in-laws are big enough fans that they don't usually miss it; with the kids, however, we're fortunately to make it there once or twice a year. This past Friday night (3/5), everyone was healthy enough to meet up with Opa and Grandma for a little fried goodness.
As always, the menu consists of soups (tomato and vegetable), salad, unlimited amounts of fries, cod, ocean perch, catfish, fried chicken, bread, and a couple of different kinds of pound cake for dessert. Your dining dollar goes pretty far here as it costs only $10 for adults and kids under 5 eat free. This year, I opted to try the vegetable soup, which was extremely hot (I think I removed about 3 layers of my tongue with the first spoonful), but ultimately very tasty once it had about 15 minutes to cool down. I managed to shake off my injury to get down some salad, fries, and one each of the three fish types, with the perch being my slight favorite over the catfish. After a little blueberry pound cake, I was stuffed to the gills and ready to sit back and take in the rest of the scene.
The crowd mostly consists of families and elderly veterans with their elderly spouses - real salt-of-the-Earth folks that we don't often get the opportunity to mingle with. There's always a gentleman with a table in the corner selling military clothing, POW paraphernalia, etc. and beer-and-shot drinkers wandering in from the attached bar to reload their plates. The scene is one of patriotic America, the likes of which have been slowly disappearing for many years. I, for one, am glad that we can still be a part of this little piece of local tradition, even if it only comes around 6 weeks out of every year, and I hope that it endures long enough for my kids to eventually be old enough to appreciate it a little.