Friday Food and Drink Post: What’s Really Important in Life Edition

 

When I was in high school and college, Dad engineered annual summer vacations for the family to Prince Edward Island in the Canadian Maritimes. I wasn’t really smart enough at the time to recognize the value of these, but as I’ve aged, they’ve assumed pride of place as one of those touchstone experiences and an enduring memory that has made my life so special (moms and dads, please take note).

We’d spend all of May excitedly preparing, and come the day after school let out (usually around June 5 or so), we’d hook up the trailer to the old Buick, haul it up to PEI’s North Shore, and plunk ourselves down in our favorite campground until the end of August. We’d leave just enough time, when we needed to go home, to get home the day before school started up again (usually, at that time in history, the day after Labor Day), at which point we’d, very reluctantly, pull up stakes and head back to Western Pennsylvania.

Halcyon days. Early morning (like 4 a.m.) lobster trapping. Cod and mackerel fishing. Clam digging. Boat painting. Learning about lives and lifestyles other than my own. History lessons. Real (as opposed to manufactured) diversity training with a family very different from us, but which we came to love as our own.

And, of course, beautiful beaches. Don’t get your hopes up. Gravity, gray hair, and avoirdupois have taken their inevitable toll. And yet, the corners of my mouth still turn up (my mother’s infallible judgment on the sweetness of a woman’s disposition).

Part of our magical experience was learning about new recipes and new ways to cook our favorite foods. And that’s how we came to enjoy the beach party with 34 lobsters straight out of the ocean, cooked in seawater, and served warm. And the bags (and bags, and bags) of PEI mussels, dug and harvested before they became “farmed” material. Oh, God. If I had a dollar for every pound of mussels or steamer clams I’ve dug in my life, I’d be a millionaire. And some of my almost indigent friends at the time would be about as rich thanks to our mutual efforts.

One of my favorite recipes, and one which I try to make around New Year every year is salt cod cakes. I don’t always manage it, because sometimes it gets subsumed under other traditions such as kielbasa, sauerkraut, and pierogies, but this year, I have no-one to please but myself, so salt cod cakes it is!

A treasured recipe from the patriarch of a fishing family we adored, the gentleman who gave me a copy of the King James Bible, asserting that it was the only one worth perusing, as it was the only one that contained the “actual words Christ spoke!” (I believe that, so rarely bother with any other on my own account.)

Dad, on the right; Beecher, on the left.

Happy New Year, Ricochetti. Please share your traditional recipes for this day.

.

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  1. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Sigh. I am allergic to lobster and shellfish. Salt cod is now too salty for me to partake in. 

    Mackerel and fresh caught cod sounds like a winner though.

    • #1
  2. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Sigh. I am allergic to lobster and shellfish. Salt cod is now too salty for me to partake in.

    Mackerel and fresh caught cod sounds like a winner though.

    Oh. So sorry. The cod, once I’ve soaked and (repeatedly) rinsed it, isn’t all that salty, but I think fresh, or frozen non-salted would work just as well.

    Yeah. Fresh (really fresh) mackerel, filleted and rolled in egg, flour, egg again and then oatmeal, and then pan-fried, is out of this world.

    • #2
  3. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Mrs. She, you once told me that I would need to put a photo of Bob into my posts if I wanted them to make the Main Feed.

    Now if you would put a cheesecake photo in each of your posts, you might also make the Main Feed each time you post.

    Clams smams. More cheesecake!

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    As you know, my hubby doesn’t eat anything that swims! Too bad, since your recipe sounds scrumptuous. So I have to indulge my fish eating when I go out. Although my big splurge for lunch is buying the packaged smoke salmon and taking tiny slices (to justify the huge expenditure) and putting it on a slice of pumpernickel with hummus. And when I really want to splurge, I add onion and capers. Yum!

    • #4
  5. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Reagan
    GLDIII Temporarily Essential
    @GLDIII

    She: Don’t get your hopes up. Gravity, gray hair, and avoirdupois have taken their inevitable toll. And yet, the corners of my mouth still turn up (my mother’s infallible judgement on the sweetness of a woman’s disposition).

     

    Don’t sell yourself short, you are still a “sexy” granny.

    (Yes I got permission from my granny to repeat this out loud).

    • #5
  6. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    She (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Sigh. I am allergic to lobster and shellfish. Salt cod is now too salty for me to partake in.

    Mackerel and fresh caught cod sounds like a winner though.

    Oh. So sorry. The cod, once I’ve soaked and (repeatedly) rinsed it, isn’t all that salty, but I think fresh, or frozen non-salted would work just as well.

    Yeah. Fresh (really fresh) mackerel, filleted and rolled in egg, flour, egg again and then oatmeal, and then pan-fried, is out of this world.

    If we ever get together , if it is possible I will do redfish on a barbeque grill – over charcoal. I’d soak inedible stuff from my herb garden – fennel stalks, and the woody parts of rosemary and thyme – in water overnight and put them on the coals. I would put the redfish, coated in olive oil with other seasonings, in a fish basket over the coals to cook. The smoking herbs would flavor the fish delightfully.

    For those wondering, pan-dressed is gutted, cleaned, and scaled with the head removed. You don’t need to remove the head, but nowadays it grosses people out if you put the cooked result on a platter with the head still on. (People are such wimps nowadays.)

    • #6
  7. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    As you know, my hubby doesn’t eat anything that swims! Too bad, since your recipe sounds scrumptuous. So I have to indulge my fish eating when I go out. Although my big splurge for lunch is buying the packaged smoke salmon and taking tiny slices (to justify the huge expenditure) and putting it on a slice of pumpernickel with hummus. And when I really want to splurge, I add onion and capers. Yum!

    Oh, glory be. Smoked salmon, onion, capers. What’s wrong with that??? (Clue: Absolutely Nothing). @susanquinn, you and I are headed towards the Isle of Skye and my sister, as soon as these silly COVID restrictions (on both sides of the Atlantic) play themselves out. Mr. @susanquinn will have to pick his poison. I hope (having met him) that he falls on the side of “let’s do it!” so that if nothing else, he and my brother-in-law can manage the bar tab.

    • #7
  8. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    GLDIII Temporarily Essential (View Comment):

    She: Don’t get your hopes up. Gravity, gray hair, and avoirdupois have taken their inevitable toll. And yet, the corners of my mouth still turn up (my mother’s infallible judgement on the sweetness of a woman’s disposition).

     

    Don’t sell yourself short, you are still a “sexy” granny.

    (Yes I got permission from my granny to repeat this out loud).

    Your own “granny” (whom I think I’ve met) is also very lovely.

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    She (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    As you know, my hubby doesn’t eat anything that swims! Too bad, since your recipe sounds scrumptuous. So I have to indulge my fish eating when I go out. Although my big splurge for lunch is buying the packaged smoke salmon and taking tiny slices (to justify the huge expenditure) and putting it on a slice of pumpernickel with hummus. And when I really want to splurge, I add onion and capers. Yum!

    Oh, glory be. Smoked salmon, onion, capers. What’s wrong with that??? (Clue: Absolutely Nothing). @susanquinn, you and I are headed towards the Isle of Skye and my sister, as soon as these silly COVID restrictions (on both sides of the Atlantic) play themselves out. Mr. @susanquinn will have to pick his poison. I hope (having met him) that he falls on the side of “let’s do it!” so that if nothing else, he and my brother-in-law can manage the bar tab.

    My mouth is already watering!

    • #9
  10. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Well we didn’t haven’t had a ham recently so hubby couldn’t make his traditional navy bean soup this year. So I am filling in with Giada’s Spicy Bean Soup – the only recipe of hers I’ve ever adopted. I do cut the chili powder in half and add a pound of hot Italian sausage.

    https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/spicy-bean-soup-recipe-1916430

    • #10
  11. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Well we didn’t haven’t had a ham recently so hubby couldn’t make his traditional navy bean soup this year. So I am filling in with Giada’s Spicy Bean Soup – the only recipe of hers I’ve ever adopted. I do cut the chili powder in half and add a pound of hot Italian sausage.

    https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/spicy-bean-soup-recipe-1916430

    This sounds wonderful! Bookmarked for future trial.

    • #11
  12. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    I agree with your dad about family trips. I took my kids to Alaska for a couple of weeks back when they were quite a bit younger. My younger son had met his wife but she hadn’t been around long enough to get invited. She has told me many times how much she missed making that trip. We even did a little fishing although Alaska fishing at that time is mostly with spawning salmon, which don’t feed once they are in fresh water. No cheesecake but here are the kids. The one on the left is now 40 and a mother.

    • #12
  13. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    I agree with your dad about family trips. I took my kids to Alaska for a couple of weeks back when they were quite a bit younger. My younger son had met his wife but she hadn’t been around long enough to get invited. She has told me many times how much she missed making that trip. We even did a little fishing although Alaska fishing at that time is mostly with spawning salmon, which don’t feed once they are in fresh water. No cheesecake but here are the kids. The one on the left is now 40 and a mother.

    That’s lovely. My Dad’s family made annual pilgrimages to the Welsh seaside town of Pwllheli when he and his siblings were young. It was quite late in life that I realized how much they’d meant to him, and I think our jaunts to PEI were his way of creating a similar lifelong memory for us. (Pronunciation helper: The English say something like “puth-ELL-ee.” The Welsh say something more like “pwkh CLELL ee.” In either case, don’t be tentative about it, just spit it out.) Here are Granny and Grandpa and the six kids in 1925 (Dad’s on the far left. The only one still living is Auntie Pat, front-and-center, who’ll be 98 in July (may she live forever.) Love that Grandpa is in his vest and suit and tie, and Granny is wearing a posh hat–on the beach!

    • #13
  14. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    I did some hunting with my father when I was a kid. I did a lot of hunting and some fishing with friends when I was in medical school. The weekend after Kennedy was assassinated was the opening of pheasant season in CA. My wife watched the funeral on TV while I was hunting in CA’s Imperial Valley. I actually heard Oswald shot on the radio as we drove from one field to another.

    When my kids got old enough, I took them sailing, which had become my sport. My older son went to Hawaii with me when he was 16. The others were too young. They spent lots of time at Catalina on the sailboat. I gave up camping after we were robbed in Yosemite one time.

    The Transpac Race.

    http://abriefhistory.org/?p=4532

    I took a lot of kidding from the crew for shooting film during the race but, of course, they all wanted a copy later. My son has the white tee shirt sitting on the cabin top. He is now a 55 year old trial lawyer. The music track is the music of that summer of 1981.

    • #14
  15. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    While my two sons were growing up we’d go camping all over the place. Mostly NM., (we were from Texas). The wife and I treasure the memories. Desert hiking, caving, tide pools (California), volcanoes before they erupted (Mt. St. Helens). My younger son, after he was out on his own, went camping every chance he got. Regret to say it never took for my eldest: His kids, mostly grown, only get to go camping a few days a year with a church group.

    Pity.

    • #15
  16. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    I did some hunting with my father when I was a kid. I did a lot of hunting and some fishing with friends when I was in medical school. The weekend after Kennedy was assassinated was the opening of pheasant season in CA. My wife watched the funeral on TV while I was hunting in CA’s Imperial Valley. I actually heard Oswald shot on the radio as we drove from one field to another.

    When my kids got old enough, I took them sailing, which had become my sport. My older son went to Hawaii with me when he was 16. The others were too young. They spent lots of time at Catalina on the sailboat. I gave up camping after we were robbed in Yosemite one time.

    The Transpac Race.

    http://abriefhistory.org/?p=4532

    I took a lot of kidding from the crew for shooting film during the race but, of course, they all wanted a copy later. My son has the white tee shirt sitting on the cabin top. He is now a 55 year old trial lawyer. The music track is the music of that summer of 1981.

    Wow, that looks like fun, and what a memory! Beautiful trophy. Thanks for sharing.

    • #16
  17. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Chuck (View Comment):

    While my two sons were growing up we’d go camping all over the place. Mostly NM., (we were from Texas). The wife and I treasure the memories. Desert hiking, caving, tide pools (California), volcanoes before they erupted (Mt. St. Helens). My younger son, after he was out on his own, went camping every chance he got. Regret to say it never took for my eldest: His kids, mostly grown, only get to go camping a few days a year with a church group.

    Pity.

    My younger son and his family go camping every summer. Except of course last summer.

    • #17
  18. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Chuck (View Comment):

    While my two sons were growing up we’d go camping all over the place. Mostly NM., (we were from Texas). The wife and I treasure the memories. Desert hiking, caving, tide pools (California), volcanoes before they erupted (Mt. St. Helens). My younger son, after he was out on his own, went camping every chance he got. Regret to say it never took for my eldest: His kids, mostly grown, only get to go camping a few days a year with a church group.

    Pity.

    Mr. She and the kids and I camped quite a bit when the kids were young. Some years ago, though, I went on strike, and although I’m not super-fussy or demanding about accommodations, I swore I was never sleeping on the ground again. And I haven’t.

    • #18
  19. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Clams smams. More cheesecake!

    LOL, @kentforrester. You were right! And here you go, from The Pillsbury Cookbook, my tried-and-true old-faithful recipe:

    I put a pan of water on the rack below the cheesecake, which helps prevent cracks on the top. Also, I have been known to beat the eggs in a separate bowl, then beat the cream cheese (which should be softened before you start), to get it smooth, before adding the eggs, about 1/3 at a time, and getting them fully incorporated before adding the sugar, salt and vanilla. You want to beat it fairly slowly, rather than whip it, because you want to end up with something the consistency of cheesecake, not something that looks like a souffle gone wrong. (The voice of experience . . . ). It’s a very basic recipe, but never fails me.

    • #19
  20. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    She (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Clams smams. More cheesecake!

    LOL, @kentforrester. You were right! And here you go, from The Pillsbury Cookbook, my tried-and-true old-faithful recipe:

     

    Ha ha. (She, you play it so seriously that I worry that you have misinterpreted me. You haven’t done that, have you?)

    • #20
  21. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Clams smams. More cheesecake!

    LOL, @kentforrester. You were right! And here you go, from The Pillsbury Cookbook, my tried-and-true old-faithful recipe:

     

    Ha ha. (She, you play it so seriously that I worry that you have misinterpreted me. You haven’t done that, have you?)

    Nah. She played you, making you ask.

    • #21
  22. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Ha ha. (She, you play it so seriously that I worry that you have misinterpreted me. You haven’t done that, have you?)

    Who, me? LOL.

    • #22
  23. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    She (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Ha ha. (She, you play it so seriously that I worry that you have misinterpreted me. You haven’t done that, have you?)

    Who, me? LOL.

    Darn you, She. You’re always getting the best of me. 

    • #23
  24. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    She (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Sigh. I am allergic to lobster and shellfish. Salt cod is now too salty for me to partake in.

    Mackerel and fresh caught cod sounds like a winner though.

    Oh. So sorry. The cod, once I’ve soaked and (repeatedly) rinsed it, isn’t all that salty, but I think fresh, or frozen non-salted would work just as well.

    Yeah. Fresh (really fresh) mackerel, filleted and rolled in egg, flour, egg again and then oatmeal, and then pan-fried, is out of this world.

    I have scouted our local H-mart (Korean American supermarket) for approximate/ appropriate salted fish. I think I may have found product that will work, so I will run the kitchen experiment in the next few weeks.

    • #24
  25. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    I did some hunting with my father when I was a kid. I did a lot of hunting and some fishing with friends when I was in medical school. The weekend after Kennedy was assassinated was the opening of pheasant season in CA. My wife watched the funeral on TV while I was hunting in CA’s Imperial Valley. I actually heard Oswald shot on the radio as we drove from one field to another.

    When my kids got old enough, I took them sailing, which had become my sport. My older son went to Hawaii with me when he was 16. The others were too young. They spent lots of time at Catalina on the sailboat. I gave up camping after we were robbed in Yosemite one time.

    The Transpac Race.

    http://abriefhistory.org/?p=4532

    I took a lot of kidding from the crew for shooting film during the race but, of course, they all wanted a copy later. My son has the white tee shirt sitting on the cabin top. He is now a 55 year old trial lawyer. The music track is the music of that summer of 1981.

    Great stuff! It takes a lot of stones to sail on open water like that. And as I will always remember, Hooper crewed 3 Transpacs, but that didn’t seem to impress Quint much:

    • #25
  26. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    She (View Comment):

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Well we didn’t haven’t had a ham recently so hubby couldn’t make his traditional navy bean soup this year. So I am filling in with Giada’s Spicy Bean Soup – the only recipe of hers I’ve ever adopted. I do cut the chili powder in half and add a pound of hot Italian sausage.

    https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/spicy-bean-soup-recipe-1916430

    This sounds wonderful! Bookmarked for future trial.

    Same here!

    • #26
  27. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Stad (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Well we didn’t haven’t had a ham recently so hubby couldn’t make his traditional navy bean soup this year. So I am filling in with Giada’s Spicy Bean Soup – the only recipe of hers I’ve ever adopted. I do cut the chili powder in half and add a pound of hot Italian sausage.

    https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/spicy-bean-soup-recipe-1916430

    This sounds wonderful! Bookmarked for future trial.

    Same here!

    It turned out great but unless you really, really love chili powder cut the amount down. Half a cup is a lot for just 6 quarts of soup.

    • #27
  28. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    I have a photo of the boat we took to Hawaii here.

    http://abriefhistory.org/?p=4523

    That was another race around Catalina on a lovely summer day.

    • #28
  29. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    She (View Comment):

    Chuck (View Comment):

    While my two sons were growing up we’d go camping all over the place. Mostly NM., (we were from Texas). The wife and I treasure the memories. Desert hiking, caving, tide pools (California), volcanoes before they erupted (Mt. St. Helens). My younger son, after he was out on his own, went camping every chance he got. Regret to say it never took for my eldest: His kids, mostly grown, only get to go camping a few days a year with a church group.

    Pity.

    Mr. She and the kids and I camped quite a bit when the kids were young. Some years ago, though, I went on strike, and although I’m not super-fussy or demanding about accommodations, I swore I was never sleeping on the ground again. And I haven’t.

    We went through a slow evolution mostly guided by the wife’s health circumstances: Just the ground under the stars, then tents for a good while, briefly used a pop-up, then a tow-behind, then 5’er, then diesel pusher.

    Now I’m just jealous. 

    • #29
  30. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Well we didn’t haven’t had a ham recently so hubby couldn’t make his traditional navy bean soup this year. So I am filling in with Giada’s Spicy Bean Soup – the only recipe of hers I’ve ever adopted. I do cut the chili powder in half and add a pound of hot Italian sausage.

    https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/spicy-bean-soup-recipe-1916430

    This sounds wonderful! Bookmarked for future trial.

    Same here!

    It turned out great but unless you really, really love chili powder cut the amount down. Half a cup is a lot for just 6 quarts of soup.

    I made it, and it’s wonderful. Now I did make “a few” changes, due to my determination to use what was here and not make a trip up the road:

    1. Used ham broth, simmering the Christmas ham bone and whatever meat was still stuck to it for about 1 1/2 hours. Strained it, and removed the meat, and chopped it up. Chucked it in at the end
    2. Cut the chili pepper down to 1/4 cup, but left other spices the same, did not add additional salt
    3. Used 8oz can of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup water for the tomato juice
    4. Didn’t use the cheese rind
    5. Had three cans of beans, one each garbanzo, black, and red. Used them all
    6. Used split peas in place of lentils
    7. Used one large sweet potato, peeled, cut lengthwise into 4 and then crosswise into 1/2″ thick slices, in place of the squash
    8. Used cauliflower in place of the zucchini
    9. Used 1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil in place of the fresh

    Other than this, I made it exactly as specified! (I mention the above only to show it’s a very flexible recipe, and I suspect you can pretty much do what you want with it. If I were making it this way again, I’d probably cook the split peas along with the ham bone and then strain them out and add them in at the end. 20 minutes really isn’t enough to cook them. Or I might use rice.)

    The whole experience reminded me of my friends Walter and Alice. I’ve known two couples in my life in which the woman was a flower-child hippy type, very bright and creative, but not super-attached to the daily realities of the world. Oddly, both of them were named Alice. Even more oddly, the men in both marriages, although having different names from each other, were both European scientist/engineer types (one German, one Swiss), neither having a shred of imagination or joie-de-vivre about them. All business, all the time. Love is funny.

    Alice, of the Walter and Alice pairing, was a terrible cook. She never followed a recipe as written, and she’d go out of her way to substitute vegan, earth-friendly ingredients regardless (or irregardless as the case may be) of whether they were in tune with, or fulfilled the spirit of, the dish.

    One day long ago, we were at a Grange (Patrons of Husbandry) dinner, somewhere close to February 22. I was in charge of dessert, and had brought a couple of homemade cherry pies, in Washington’s honor. Walter was chowing down with great gusto, and paused, just before polishing off the last bit of crust, and asking, “You know vat Alis bakes on Lincoln’s birzday?” (Fifty years of living in the USA and he still spoke like an extra from The Sound of Music.)

    “No,” I replied. “What does Alice bake on Lincoln’s birthday?”

    “LOG PIE.” he responded gloomily.

    Poor guy.

    • #30