Lent is a time of sacrifice for Catholics, but McDonald's wants to be sure they don't give up grease. The fast-food giant created the Filet-O-Fish in 1962 to cater to Catholics who typically give up meat on Friday. The marketing paid off, and McDonald's still sees increased sales of the fish sandwich on Fridays during Lent, often hyping up sales with $.99 sandwiches through the holiday.
This year, pricing of the Filet-O-Fish will remain set, to shift consumer focus to their new Lent-friendly treat called Fish McBites. The restaurant giant quietly started selling the little nuggets last Friday, and on Ash Wednesday they gave out samples along with paper cups of tartar sauce for dipping.
And, for reasons unknown, I ate them.
Before anyone tries to brand me as a snobby critic picking on an easy target, it's important to note that I'm a bit of a Filet-O-Fish fetishist. I'm convinced my next Eater outing photo will be of this tired, slightly drunk critic, walking the streets of Dallas with one of those suckers in hand.
That out of the way, I can say with a large degree of confidence that Fish McBites are the worst things McDonald's has created in some time.
The pint-sized package wafts of cornmeal when first opened -- a smell reminiscent of trashy hush puppies. A sugar cube of Alaskan Pollock rests inside each nugget. The flesh is as dry and lifeless as that delicious Filet-O-Fish, but the bites have no tangy melting American cheese, no soft pillowy bun, and it's difficult to dip the thimble sized snacks in the small containers of dipping sauce.
The bites will likely remain available until Easter Sunday and will undoubtedly go the way of the McDLT and chicken fajitas shortly after.