Years ago when I oversaw our church's Sunday school program, we held a "Jeopardy" program as our final exam and invited church members to attend and enjoy.
One group of students invited one of those members onto their team. And he pulled the question: "What three types of foods do Eastern Orthodox typically stop eating during Lent?"
He quickly answered the first two (meat and dairy) but was stumped on the third.
Finally his face brightened and he said, "Chocolate?"
Actually it was eggs, thank goodness. Who can abstain from chocolate?
Lent begins this Wednesday for Catholics and many other denominations that keep Lent. For the Eastern Orthodox, Lent (also called the Great Fast) begins when March 2.
But no matter when Lent begins and ends, the consumption of fish often winds up on people's minds and plates.
This poses a challenge for people who keep any type of traditional Lent but don't like fish.
Catholics, for example, traditionally abstain from meat (fish is not classified as meat) on Ash Wednesdays and all Fridays of Lent.
And yet, when people say they like or dislike fish, what kind of fish?
Not all fish looks or tastes the same.
The "The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition" by Dr. Sheldon Margen and the University of California at Berkeley, my nutritional "bible," lists the following types of fish: bass, bluefish, butterfish, carp, catfish, cod, flounder, haddock, halibut, herring, lingcod, mackerel, mahi-mahi, monkfish, mullet, orange roughy, perch, pike, pollack, pompano, rockfish, sablefish, salmon, sea bass, shad, shark, skate, smelt, snapper, sole, swordfish, tilefish, trout, tuna, weakfish and whitefish.
"Whitefish" in this case is an actual species, although some people refer to fish with white flesh as "white-fish."
Cod, featured in many fish fries, has 105 calories, 23 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol and 78 milligrams of sodium.
It's also rich is vitamins B6, B12, magnesium, niacin and phosphorus.
Three and a half ounces of salmon, a popular fish in restaurants, has 216 calories. 27 grams of protein, 11 grams of fat (two of which are saturated), 87 milligrams of cholesterol and 66 milligrams of sodium.
It's also rich in vitamins B6 and B12, as well as iron, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin and thiamine.
Whether you love fish or dislike fish, Lent is a good time to expand those tastes. It's also a time to check out some of the area's fish fries.
• Fish Fry – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Knights of Columbus Council 4400, 1813 E. Cass St., Joliet. Fish, chicken and shrimp. Carryout. Call 815-723-3827.
• Fish Fry – 4 to 7:30 p.m., Fridays, Cantigny VFW Post 367, 826 Horseshoe Drive, Joliet. Call 815-722-5398.
• Fish Fry – 4 to 7:30 p.m., Fridays, Croatian Cultural Club, 1503 Clement St., Joliet. Baked or fried cod, shrimp, catfish or fried chicken breast. Dine-in or carryout. For carryout, call 815-723-3154.
• Fish Fry – 4 to 7 p.m., Ingalls Park AC, all Fridays of Lent, (Feb. 28 through April 10), Bond Road and Park Street, Joliet. Fried cod, shrimp, catfish and chicken tenders, French fries or baked potato. Coleslaw and bread. Dessert extra. Dine-in or carryout. Call 815-727-7217.
• Fish Fry – 4 to 7 p.m., Feb. 26 and Fridays through April 10, St Paul’s School, 130 Woodlawn Ave, Joliet. Choice of cod or catfish, shrimp or chicken tenders, along with coleslaw, potato and bread. Homemade desserts. Call 815-725-3390 or visit thestpaulschool.org.
• Fish Fry – Noon to 7 p.m., Feb. 26, St. Joseph Park, Joliet. Dinner includes cod fish (one piece $8; two pieces $10), French fries or Slovenian potatoes, coleslaw. Dessert is 50 cents. Macaroni and cheese meal available for $4 each. Children age 5 and under eat for free. Carryouts available. Hosted by St. Joseph Church and the St. Joseph Slovenian Catholic League. For information, call 815-727-9378.
• The Knights of Columbus Good Shepherd Council #5573 and Ladies Auxiliary Fish Fry – 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Fridays, Feb. 28 through April 3, St. Mary Immaculate gym, Plainfield. Shrimp dinners, cod dinners (baked or fried, small, medium or large dinners available), combo dinners, fish sandwich, grilled cheese, pizza by the slice. Dinners and sandwiches included a baked potato or crispy fries.Nonperishable food donations requested. Carryout until 7 p.m. Call 815-577-6673.
• Fish Fry – 5 p.m., Harry E. Anderson VFW Post 9545, 323 Old Hickory Road, New Lenox. Karaoke begins at 8:30 p.m. Call 815-485-8369 or visit vfwpost9545.org.
• Lenten Fish Fry – 4 to 7:30 p.m. through Feb. 26, St. George Serbian Social Center, 310 Stryker Ave., Joliet. Cod dinners, shrimp dinners and combo dinners. Includes choice of potato, French fries or rice pilaf, along wtih tossed salad, vegetable, brad and butter, coffee or tea. Call 815-725-5502.