From the 1983 Code of Canon Law (the latest revision to Canon Law, of which all Roman Catholics are bound to follow; Eastern Catholics have their own Code of Canon Law):
Can. 1250: The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Can. 1251: Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Can. 1252: The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.
In the United States, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (the USCCB) has determined that outside of Lent, abstinence from meat is the usual way to fulfill the act of penance for Friday. However, the USCCB has said that US Catholics may eat meat on Fridays outside of Lent AS LONG AS one does an alternative act of penance, which is determined by that person. As each conference of bishops has the power to determine fast and abstinence regulations for their own countries, they could, at any time, rescind the alternative penance option and reimpose mandatory abstinence from meat on Fridays even outside of Lent (as the conference of bishops in England has done). I will also add that unlike Eastern Catholics, Roman Catholics are free to consume dairy products and products made from animal fats (like mayonnaise) on days of abstinence.
With this in mind, it seems that meat is a daily staple in the diets of Americans. If we cannot eat meat on Fridays, what are we to eat?? I see this as a way to be creative with our food, to think outside the box and come up with something tasty that doesn't involve meat. I hear that other cultures from other countries with a Catholic background have, over the years, come up with different food ideas for Fridays (both in and outside of Lent). I think we can all benefit from sharing some of these food ideas.
Since I like to experiment with cooking, I love to find new recipes to try out (with my family). So now, could you please share a recipe of something you like to make on Fridays (the recipe cannot contain meat), or if you don't have a recipe, at least describe the food? Please share via the comment box below. You can also find me on twitter (twitter username is @rctechgeek). Feel free to subscribe to my rss feed as well.
And yes, on days of abstinence, you can still drink coffee (or tea), so instead of drinking your ordinary coffee (or tea), drink some tasty Mystic Monk Coffee (use this link or click on the picture below to access the store and purchase). Trust me, it's good coffee (in most instances, much better than Starbucks coffee) and you won't regret buying some (just keep it away from your computer keyboard or laptop/tablet). For the summer, they are also offering Iced Coffee as well. If you like tea more than coffee, they also offer tea. Using the link (or picture below) to buy the coffee (or tea) helps the monks out and helps me with college expenses as well.
Feel free to try out my apps for Windows Phone: Mobile Media Manager, a media player app I made which has some features which (I feel) are missing from the system Zune player, and BSA Eagle Tracker, an app that boy scouts can use to track their progress to Eagle Scout (when the scout handbook isn't always handy). New versions of the media player with new features/bug fixes is coming within a week (most likely sooner than this, but definitely within 2 weeks) of passing Microsoft Apphub certification. Free version of Mobile Media Manager is now in Apphub certification, with paid version to follow. BSA Eagle Tracker is also getting a bug fix for an obscure bug I noticed recently.
BSA Eagle Tracker download: http://bit.ly/Mm1Upo
Mobile Media Manager (paid version) download: http://bit.ly/y3rf6V
Mobile Media Manager (free version) download: http://bit.ly/xGCsWE