Calabash VFW heats up with Lenten dinners

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Fishy Fridays

By Laura Lewis, Reporter

CALABASH—Fried fish is already a buzzword in the seafood capital, but during Lent it takes on renewed meaning at Calabash VFW Post 7288.


On Friday, Feb. 27, the post once again started cooking up its annual Friday-night fish fries that continue until April 10.

“Welcome to our madhouse,” joked Trish McCormick as she and her husband, Bill, and other VFW volunteers toiled in the kitchen at one of the weekly Lenten fish fries March 6.

She started preparing for the weekly fish fry on Tuesday, when an enlarged order of fresh haddock arrived at the post.

The first week, the post ran out of the 150 pounds of fish it had ordered for the $9 per-plate dinners, so it increased the order to 200 pounds the following week.

McCormick, who came up with the idea to launch the Lenten fish fries four years ago, also makes the fish breading, coleslaw and clam chowder sold for an extra $1 per cup.

Her husband, VFW quartermaster Bill McCormick, stayed busy cooking fish and fries in hot oil alongside former post commander Jack Goin.

“It’s all in the wrist,” Goin joked as he expertly placed freshly breaded fish in the deep fryer and cooked it to a golden brown.

“I wouldn’t be happy unless I was in the middle of everything,” he said.

Phyllis Roup dished up plates of food, while Jeanette Dobbs ladled clam chowder into cups for hungry customers. They, along with other VFW kitchen workers, volunteer their time to the weekly cooking cause.

“They couldn’t afford to pay us,” Roup quipped.

The weekly fish fries are supposed to start at 5 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m.

But Bill McCormick said they had to open at 4:30 that day because people were already waiting outside.

Susan O’Reilly was among the roomful of diners enjoying fish dinners with her husband, Dan, and 95-year-old dad and World War II veteran, Tony DeBiase.

“We love it,” she said of the meals they were enjoying with wine. “It’s a lot better than staying at home trying to cook it.”

As the VFW volunteers toiled back in the kitchen, they got their just rewards with happy customers, underscored by a woman who came to the counter to compliment the chefs.

“The fish was excellent!” she called.


What: Calabash VFW Post 7288 Lenten fish fry dinners

When: 5-7 p.m. Fridays through April 10

Where: 900 Carter Drive, Calabash

How much: $9 per dinner; $1 for homemade clam chowder

For more information, call the VFW at 579-3577