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Catholic power and food options

February 24, 2012
A McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich

Image via Wikipedia

I have to be honest with you, I take a bit of pride that Catholics have been able to alter the advertising habits and menu offerings of both multi-national corporations and local mom & pop restaurants.

It’s the Filet-o-Fish theory.

McDonald’s may not have been the first, but they are the most notable restaurant to add to their menu an item specifically for Catholics so they wouldn’t lose their patronage during Fridays in Lent. More importantly, they didn’t just quietly add it to the menu, no they included an entire marketing campaign around it so that we Catholics wouldn’t miss out.

I have to thank McDonald’s for that, I hadn’t realized Ash Wednesday was almost upon us until I saw the yearly McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish commercial pop up on my screen.

Here’s perhaps the most notorious version (my apologies):

The folks at McDonald’s are not fools, you don’t get their bottom line and reach by forgetting about the easy marks, they realized that the McDonald’s lover still needs his french fry addiction satisfied even if the Catholic part of him needs to pass on the Big Mac.

By the way, I’ve never actually consumed a Filet-o-Fish, in my heavy McDonald’s eating years, I’d just skip it altogether for some cheap pizza. Which reminds me, guess who sees a jump in sales on Friday’s in Lent? That’s right, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s and all your local pizza chains. I just received a menu in the mail from my local (and preferred) pizza shop. Perhaps a little reminder so I’ll think of them first on Fridays. Although that’s not a real need in my household, we typically go with real fish or pasta.

These menu changes have even made it to the social media world. For instance, on Facebook a few of the restaurants I “like” have changed from their usual meaty Friday notices to more pro-Catholic offerings. See here from today’s posting by New Dodges Market in Elmer, NJ:

Mac and Cheese
A platter of homemade mac and cheese served with a side of stewed tomatoes for 7.50
Cup 3.50/ Pint-Bowl 5.50/ Quart 8.50

Crab Cake Sandwiches
Crab cake sandwich served on a round roll garnished with lettuce and tomato with a caper remoulade sauce served with a side of crab fries for 11.99

Shrimp Salad
Homemade shrimp salad served over a bed of spring mix with almonds, peppers, carrots red onion and tomatoes served with a side of our balsamic vinaigrette for 11.99 

Rib Eye Dodger
Rib Eye sautéed in garlic topped with red roasted pepper, spinach and sharp provolone cheese on a little dodger served with a side of chips and pickles for 7.95

Flying Eagle Trio
A half of a BLT sandwich on our oat nut bread served with a small house salad and a cup of soup for 8.00

Veggie Panini
Asparagus, Broccoli, Tomato and fresh mozzarella drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette and grilled to perfection on a ciabatta roll served with a side of salt and pepper chips for 8.50

Today’s Soup: 
Gorgonzola Zucchini
New England Clam Chowder
Vegetable Beef

By my count, that’s 6 pro-Catholic and 3 meated.

Just in case you think I’m fudging the facts, here’s last Friday’s promo:

Grilled Chicken Italiano Sandwich
2 layers of grilled chicken breast, eggplant and fresh mozzarella topped with marinara and bruschetta served on a Kaiser roll with a side of pasta salad for 8.50

Very Berry Salad with Grilled Chicken
A mixture of fresh strawberries, blue berries and blackberries, granny smith apples and craisins served over field greens with candied pecans, red onion and feta cheese with our house vinaigrette for 8.99

Today’s Trio
Pizza bagel small Dodges original house salad and a cup of soup of the day for 8.00

The Foot Long Texas weiner
“EVERYTHING’S BIG IN TEXAS…But in NJ “Go BIG Or Go Home” An all beef foot long Frank split and grilled topped with cheese sauce, ground beef sauce and diced onions served with a side of mac n cheese and a small retro coke for 7.50

The Cranberry Stilton Salad
Fresh blueberries, granny smith apples, dried cranberries, red onions, and candied pecans served over field greens, red cabbage and topped with sliced cranberry stilton cheese with our house vinaigrette for 10.99

Shrimp Wrapped in Bacon
5 Jumbo shrimp wrapped in bacon served over spring mix with red roasted peppers, gorgonzola cheese and our balsamic vinaigrette for 10.99

Loaded Chili
A bowl of homemade chili topped with red onions, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream served with crostinis for 5.50

Ladies Light Lunch
Our homemade Grape Apple walnut chicken salad made with safflower mayo and served on multi grain bread with leaf lettuce with fresh melon for 7.00

Soups: Chicken Pot Pie/ Hearty Chicken Vegetable/
Cream Of Asparagus/ chili

Let’s see, that’s 3 pro-Catholic and 9 meated.

Lent: the Catholic Church’s gift to the restaurant dining of healthy eaters, vegetarians and fish lovers.

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