Fried fish and chips with guacamole on a plate
Food - Drink
Southern Fish Fry's Cultural Origins
Fish fries are deeply woven into Southern life, especially in Black communities, taking place on warm summer or autumn evenings in backyards, parks, community halls, and dedicated “fish shacks.” With traditional platters of crispy fried fish and side dishes, fish fries are a way of connecting with others, and their origins go way back.
During times of slavery, life on plantations consisted of long days of labor, but the workload wound down by Saturday afternoon. Slaves used their free time to fish in ponds or lakes and bring home a fresh catch to the slave quarters, and these moments of freedom to mingle and share food gave birth to the Saturday night fish fry.
Black communities still cherish the deep cultural ties of the fish fry tradition, and Friday fish fries are now popular, since Catholic customs of eating fish on Fridays led to better seafood prices and availability on these days. The event also signifies the end of the work week, a nod to the break from labor cherished by former slaves.