It’s More than a Fish Fry
3/8/2019By Andrew Fowler
It’s Friday night. You walk into the parish hall for a Knights of Columbus fish fry. You pile your plate with fish, coleslaw, beans, potatoes, corn bread and dessert. As you dig into the meal, you’re not just filling your belly with fried goodness — you’re helping raise money for the community.
“Fish fries benefit parishes in many ways,” said Tyler Lomnitzer, the Knights of Columbus Program Manager for Life-Based Initiatives. “Fish fries provide non-meat options for the community committed to fasting during Lent, bring the parish together outside of Sunday gatherings, and raise money for causes close to the hearts of local councils, such as pregnancy center support, Christian refugee relief, and supporting seminarians".
The fish frys are now so popular that councils have developed their own “secret” recipe for fish batter! They’re all different, but they all make a difference:
Supporting Local Programs
For Alleghany Highlands Council 8689, the proceeds to the dinner this year will fund community, youth, service, church and projects in the White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., area.
Good Shepherd Council 10816 in Stepheville, Texas hosts multiple dinners throughout Lent. Funds from each support charitable groups such as HOPE, a group that assists with low-income residents, TREAT Riding, an equine assisted therapeutic riding program and a local pregnancy center.
In Hawaii, Windward Oahu Council 6307 uses money raised from the fish frys to help local students. They also fund Ho‘ola Na Pua, an organization that helps girls escape from the abuse of sex trafficking.
Distributing Coats for Kids
In January 2019, the Knights of Reverend Michael Hoban Council 11946 in Shelby, N.C., distributed 50 coats to students in need. Those students would be without coats if the council didn’t hold its annual fish fry, which funded the purchases.
Bishop Charles B. McLaughlin Council 7282 in Sun City Center, Fla., earned $4,200 through a series of fish frys. The funds were donated to the St. Petersburg Diocese to support families in need of tuition assistance at diocesan elementary schools.
St. Maximilian Kolbe Council 10720 in Houston, Texas, funds scholarships through its fish fries. The council awarded over $3,500 in 2016, and have distributed more than $35,000 total.
Helping Children with Learning Disabilities
John J. O. Hehir Council 0447 in Duluth, Minn. supported children with learning disabilities in Tanzania after Sister Gaudensia Mwanyika of the Benedictine Sisters of St. Gertrude Imiliwaha approached them for help. The $2,000 Knights raised from fish fries went toward building a school for the children.
Rebuilding International Communities
Mason Council 9182 in Mason, Mich., assisted Vuna, a village on the Fiji island of Taveuni after it was devastated by a cyclone that destroyed homes, crops and the local church.
Dodge Council 613 in Fort Dodge, Iowa, the fish fry funds helped veterans reconnect with their service-mates buried at national memorials in Washington, D.C., as well as at Arlington National Cemetery.
So, if you’re not sure what to eat on Fridays during Lent, why not swing by to your K of C council’s fish fry? You’ll fill up on good food, while lending a hand to the community.
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A Secret Recipe
(Large-yield recipe for approximately 80 lbs. of fish)
12 lbs. flour, divided
5 bags fish seasoning mix
2 lbs. corn flour
2 cups Old Bay seasoning
1 gal. milk
1. Prepare to divide ingredients into three large pans. Add 4 lbs. of flour to the first pan. In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk and pour the mixture into the second pan. In the third pan, blend the remaining 8 lbs. of flour with the fish seasoning mix, corn flour and Old Bay seasoning.
2. Wash and dry fish fillets, checking for bones. Place fish into pan with flour only, covering each fillet completely. Dip floured fish into egg/milk mix and set on rack to drip off excess. Finally, place fish in seasoned flour mix, covering fillets on all sides.
3. Layer battered fish in large container using parchment or aluminum foil between layers, keeping unused fish refrigerated.
4. Set deep fryer to 350 degrees, being sure not to deviate the temperature. (Under- or overcooking the oil will result in soggy fish.) Drop fish into fryer as your unit will accommodate, leaving room for expansion. Cook fish for 6-8 minutes, at which time the fillets should float to the top of the oil again, golden brown and cooked. Serve with coleslaw and French fries.