I don’t think anyone is saying there aren’t other things you can do. I also don’t have a problem with anyone who makes a personal choice not to do it, for example because they need to eat in order to do their work, or they have some medical condition that makes it a bad idea to fast.
The problem I have is when priests just toss aside the whole idea of fasting and “giving up” like everybody who does it is not thinking about what they are doing, or isn’t improving their relationship with Christ by doing it, or is probably acting grumpy with their family/ workmates because they are fasting, etc. We’re not all shallow.
As for the fish fries, last year I ate almost nothing all day on Friday so I could go out to the fish fry at night, which benefits a parish church or I wouldn’t be there. I don’t get fish fry from bars or anyplace other than churches. Most of the people I know who go to the fish fries are there 1) to benefit the church and 2) as a fellowship event because you see a lot of people you know from the parish, elderly people come to eat there when they wouldn’t go to a restaurant, etc. Since my childhood, fish fries have always held happy memories for me - nice family and fellowship time for a good cause, and at the church I now often go to, there’s Stations of the Cross before you eat. It’s a win on many levels.