Seafood is a staple of Lent. Pictured is penne with clams and mushrooms. Lois Rogers photo
Seafood is a staple of Lent. Pictured is penne with clams and mushrooms. Lois Rogers photo
The Holy Season of Lent is a time when folks may be looking for tasty, easy-to-prepare meatless meals. Over the years, The Monitor’s freelance writer Lois Rogers has created a library of meals in her Keeping The Feast column.

Seafood has always been a Lenten staple on our family tables. With a maritime background that included generations who served the nation on the sea or fished the waters of the Bayshore and the Atlantic Ocean, that seems only natural.

But after waiting in line with people of all backgrounds and nationalities at the area’s fish stores and supermarkets for years, I decided to do some research on why fish is the Lenten dish that literally spans the globe.

It wasn’t hard to find multiple sites on the Internet that offered good explanations of the phenomena that has existed for 2,000 years and looks like it will be around ad infinitum. Among the sites worth gleaning was The Healthy Fish, which offered an interesting, if brief, overview of the tradition.

That site and others noted reasons fish features so prominently, including the fact that the tradition harks back to the Roman Empire, an age when the Lenten diet consisted of food that the average person could access: fish and vegetables.

In our house, cod was a very popular presence on the Lenten table, as were sole and flounder. But thanks to my father’s love of eating them and knack for cooking them, clams were a mainstay as well.

Following my father’s service in World War II, my parents moved their young family to Laurence Harbor in the Bayshore area, where my dad and my Uncle George bought a clam boat. Named the Ave Maria, their career as commercial fishermen didn’t prosper, but he never lost his taste for clams.

Though mom’s recipes are most often featured in Keeping the Feast, dad was a dab hand in the kitchen, especially with pasta and seafood dishes. This recipe for pasta and clam sauce is his, though I added the mushrooms because I love them as much as he loved clams.

 

Lenten Table Blessing before the meal

Leader: God, holy and strong, bless this food and give us strength to bring your love to those in suffering and pain (especially __________). We ask this through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen

After the Meal

Leader: We thank you, Lord, for calling us, for nourishing us that we might sacrifice ourselves. To you, God of the poor and lowly, we pledge our strength both now and forever.

All: Amen

Prayer source: Table blessings before and after the meal from “Prayers at Meals” by Michael Kwatera, O.S.B., and Dietrich Reinhart, O.S.B.