Going to a Catholic School in the ’50s and early ’60s, Friday Fish was an absolute. That was every Friday – not just the Fridays during Lent. In theory, of course, Catholics are still required to abstain from meat on Fridays, but can eat meat if they do another sacrifice or good deed in its place. Back when I was a kid, the US church was liberal in its politics and very conservative in its rules. Today, the politics are conservative and the rules have been liberalized.
But those Meatless Friday Dinners of my youth… My mother wasn’t a huge fish fan – other than fried shrimp or petrale sole – so our meatless meals rarely were seafood. She made a great tuna salad mixed into iceberg lettuce, but fish sticks and all of the other fish portioned things of the day were not on our plates. I actually grew up not knowing who Mrs. Paul was. I also never had boxed macaroni and cheese – mom made her own – and it was awesome!
Fast-forward 55 or so years and here I am cooking scallops and remembering those thrilling days of yesteryear.
They were thrilling, too. There’s something to be said for never having had fish sticks or boxed mac & cheese as a child. While mom kinda took our likes and tastes into account, the reality is, we ate what she liked. She was the cook, she made the meals, we ate what she cooked. Or, we didn’t, but then we didn’t get dessert. Very simple. Very basic. No ambiguity.
It’s also funny looking at her cook books from back then and seeing the ‘convenience foods’ that were used… Today, it would all be considered cooking from scratch and the convenience foods of yesterday way too much work.
How times have changed.
So… somewhere along here I was talking about cooking scallops, tonight. Mom would have liked these – a simple saute in butter and olive oil, some parsley, basil, shallot, white wine, and lemon. Served with white rice and fresh green beans with sliced almonds.
The rice took 20 minutes, the green beans less than 10, and the scallops less than 5.
Quicker than fish sticks. Eat your heart out, Mrs. Paul.