Despite our significant distance from the ocean, eating fish is a Friday tradition and social event in Wisconsin. Almost every Wisconsin food serving establishment from the local dive bar to the Church kitchen to the fancy restaurant, from Green Bay to Beloit, offers some version of a Wisconsin fish fry on Friday nights. What does it take for an awesome fish fry? Here are six factors that I consider a requirement.
1. Friends. A true Wisconsinite knows that it’s more than fried fish that makes a fish fry. You can have the best fish and the best tartar sauce in the world, but if you don’t have fun and friendship, it’s just not a real Wisconsin fish fry.
2. Fish. No one knows for sure how eating fish on Friday became a tradition, but there are a couple of theories. First, fish was an abundant food source in the early days of Wisconsin, and frying was a quick and easy way to cook up a ton of fish for a crowd. Second, during the 40 days of Lent, Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays but seafood is allowed, so church fish dinners may have led to restaurants picking up the trend. No matter how the tradition got started, I’m sure glad it did!