Catfish Fridays, Taco Tuesdays, and other things I love to expect
I like it when places have traditions that have gone on forever even if no one knows how they started. Like going into a restaurant and finding out they have Catfish Fridays on the menu. It seems like most places in the South, and places in other parts, offer some kind of fried fish, catfish, all-you-can-eat fish on the menu, and it seems that it’s almost always on Fridays.
Maybe the Catholics of generations ago, with their no meat-eating traditions during the holy season, may have inadvertently started a tradition that became a staple with hole-in-the-wall restaurants across the country. Or maybe a nice cut of fish, slightly battered, deep fried, and served with perfectly crispy fries was something that was meant to be eaten after you leave work on a Friday afternoon to start the weekend.
There’s also Taco Tuesdays. Something a bit newer in the history of dishes inspired by alliteration. You can’t escape Taco Tuesdays whether at a restaurant or just at home. Tuesdays now seem to be created for tacos and why not? Before this trend, there was nothing inspiring about Tuesdays. Now, a Tuesday dinner feels like a fiesta with salsa, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. Fried or soft shells, Taco Tuesdays were created by someone, or by some place, some time ago. No one knows exactly the details.
I like going to a small, main street sandwich place in Bisbee, Arizona because they offer New England Clam Chowder on Fridays. I’m not sure why they offer it on Fridays but I’m glad they do because that seems to make the most sense to when I’d like to eat it. A bowl of chowder and a thick slice of their homemade bread is like heaven on a day when you are thinking of getting through the afternoon.
I’m sure there is some kind of science as to why some dishes are offered on one day, and other dishes are offered on another day. I’ll never forget a lady named Cha Cha who had been working at my university alma mater’s dining hall for decades. Everybody loved her because she made homemade style food which was always a welcome sight at a school cafeteria. One of her best dishes was green chile stew. It was spicy, full of meat, potatoes, and spicy green chile. She could have served it every day and everyone would have eaten it, but it was always offered on Thursdays. It made Thursdays a little extra special.
Come to think of it, on any day of the calendar for a hungry person in some town somewhere, there is a special menu item waiting for him on a specific day of the week. A dish that gets offered on that same day, come rain or come shine. The diner or café knows that he is waiting to come in just for that dish so they leave it on there, from generation to generation.
That’s what I call respect. This Friday, I’m clearing my schedule and making the drive to that little sandwich café in Bisbee, Arizona to have a bowl of New England clam chowder.
I’m going there because I know they’ll have it.