On last night's (Feb. 25) episode of the popular game show Jeopardy, the contestants were given a question (sorry, answer) about Cincinnati's connection to the creation of a popular McDonald's sandwich. And it was well-timed, coming on the eve of the start of Lent.
The 'Final Jeopardy' category was "Fast Food." The answer was "This sandwich was 1st sold in 1962 as an attempt to give the many Catholics of Cincinnati something to eat on Fridays during Lent."
Each contestant's response was correct: It was the Filet-O-Fish, of course.
Or, more precisely, "What is Filet-O-Fish?"
The story goes that the owner of a McDonald's franchise in Monfort Heights — a neighborhood with a lot of Catholics — was struggling with Friday sales because of the tradition of not eating meat to kick off the weekend (see: the numerous church fish frys that begin this Friday across the city). Locally, Frisch's was eating McDonald's lunch (and dinner) with their popular fish sandwich (and tartar sauce), so the owner — Lou Groen — created the Filet-O-Fish to compete. It was soon added to the McDonald's menu nationwide as the chain's first non-hamburger sandwich.
If host Alex Trebek was a contestant last night, he might not have fared so well. Would the judges have deemed "Filet of Fish" — which Trebek said while reading all three of the players' responses — correct? Or would he have gotten one of his own trademark, Canadian-accented "Oooh, no, sorry" daggers?
Related: Look for CityBeat's annual roundup of local fish frys soon.