What Gefilte Fish has in common with McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish

The Gefilte fish may have originally been bred by Catholic housewives in medieval Europe to resolve an age-old dilemma faced by many Catholics on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Fridays during Lent. – which are all days when Catholic doctrine requires abstention. meat. This practice, we imagine, inspired the question: What good can we eat?

The answer came in the form of fishcakes made from ground whitefish and pike, seasoned, poached, then stuffed inside a fish carcass. The first written recipe for “gefuelten hechden” (meaning stuffed pike in German) dates back 700 years, according to My Jewish Learning, and it turned out well. So good, in fact, that Jewish women borrowed or reversed the recipe and it became a default on Shabbat tables because it could be prepared ahead of time and required no cooking or reheating before serving.

In 1962, the Filet-O-Fish sandwich was the brainchild of a McDonald’s franchisee whose store was located in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood (per McDonald’s). Franchisee, Lou Groen, couldn’t help but notice how business dwindles on Fridays, especially during Lent. And so, he came up with the idea of ​​developing a fish sandwich that would be so good that it would bring Catholics back with an item that wouldn’t harm them spiritually. Today, McDonald’s claims that 25% of all Filet-O-Fish sandwiches are sold during the Lenten season.

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