Friday, April 27, 2007


This Friday I think I am gonna write about one of my favorite family summer traditions.....the fish fry! Every year growing up my grandfather, father, and I would spend all spring catching crappie, bream, and the occasional bass or catfish. All of the fish would go into the freezer. I remember when I was younger they were frozen in cardboard half gallon milk containers. Now they are frozen in Ziplock Freezerbags.

Well soon the 4th of July would roll around. That is when most of the fish from the spring would be unthawed and cooked. Now I am not talking a few pounds of fish here. I mean these fish fries would have sometimes as many as two dozen people there. There was families, extended families, and friends. I can remember being at many as a kid thinking, "I don't know who half of these people are!" But they were there for the fellowship and the fish.

It was a neat feeling to think that the fish that we were eating were the fish that the three of us had caught in the weeks before. I can remember dad and grandpa always teasing as they pulled out the fillets. "Wow, That's a big one! Yeah I remember catching this fish. Oh wait, here this little one! Must have been your's Kyle." Ain't it great to be the kid!

But seriously in all the years we had those fish fries I never remember having to go to the store and buy fish. There were some years when the fishing would be tough in the early season that I would worry that we would not have enough. But somehow the LORD always seemed to provide enough for everyone to eat.

Now about this fish fryer of my grandpa's. It was nothing like these new fryers of today that you see people using to fry turkeys and fish in. No this thing was about the oldest looking piece of scrap metal you can imagine. It was held together by rust. I am pretty sure the thing used rocket fuel because it sounded like a jet engine. People would stand outside around it and talk. Well talk is an understatement. They would really have to yell to be heard over the fryer. You would think people would go inside until the fish was all done, but the veterans new a secret. You stayed near the fryer because as the batches of fish would get done, grandpa would give those standing by a bite of fresh HOT fish. There is nothing like fried fish straight out of the oil!!!

As the fish would get done grandpa would put the fish into paper grocery bags, you know the brown type, that had been lined with paper towels to catch the excess grease. He would roll the top down to keep the heat in. Man the outside of those bags would get so much grease bleeding through! Enough to give any health nut a heartattack!

After all of the fish were done, grandpa would come out with the hushpuppy batter. He would spoon the batter in a scoop at a time. Soon the batter had puffed up to form this beautiful golden brown hushpuppy. Those went into a paper bag as well.

The meal was topped off with slaw, many assorted vegetables, and all the favorite sidedishes that the various people had brought. Of course there was always a few gallons of sweet tea in the fridge. The meal ended with a huge spread of desserts.

I don't know if this is really just a Southern thing or not, but I wish that everyone could experience a meal like that. It's just one of those things that taste like family to me!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Think Globally/Eat Locally

So I know it has been a long time since my last post but I will make no excuses only to say that Missy and I have had quite an interesting time over the last few months. The LORD seems to have some trials lined up for us. Maybe to make us more Christlike, Maybe to strengthen our marriage, maybe both. Who knows the will of the LORD? His ways are beyond me and I can only ask for the strength to be faithful.

Anyway enough on that......

This is Friday so it is time for a post about food. You know these are certainly some of my favorite posts and I have missed writing about this subject.

Yesterday I was cruising around on the web looking for a local farmers market that Missy and I might be able to pick up some fresh groceries. While my search was going on, I came across this website.

It is a website about this guy and girl that for one year ate only food that came from 100 miles or less from their home. Now you may be asking why would anyone subject themselves to this kind of restriction. Well we have all heard about the benefits of eating organic foods. Our culture has become dependent on large factory farms, tons of chemicals being poured on crops, and even Genetically Modified Plants. Organic foods return our food to the way that God intended our food to grow. Therefore our fruits and vegetables taste better and are packed with more of the micronutrients that much of the factory farm food is so starved for.

But a new idea is coming out of modern food conversations. The idea of not only eating organically but eating locally. According to many studies much of the food that we eat on a daily basis in America has traveled hundreds maybe thousands of miles before ending up on our dinner plate.

Well you might ask why this matters? Well food that must travel great distances must be prepared for the journey. Apples and tomatoes have been produced with thick skins to handle the journey often at the expense of taste. My dad told me of a farming friend of his that talks about the fattening process that his cattle must go through to handle the strenuous journey of travelling in close quarters to the slaughter house sometimes hundreds of miles away. The cattle must be given many antibiotics to handle the diseases and infections that they may contract in this journey. By eating food that is local we can have food that is fresher, taste better, and doesn't need any technological intervention for growing and transporting.

Another thought is that in a world trying to think of ways to combat global warming or at least our imprint on the world, do I really need food that has been grown in Chile? Think of all of the gas that is burned in trying to get that food to me.

The last idea is that part of America's history has been written by the small family farmers trying to hack out a living from the earth. A big part of who we are as a nation is being pushed out. The large farms with thier equipment, illegal labor crews, and chemicals can always out produce the family farms. But what are we giving up for this increase in production? There must be ways to support our farmers that are still trying to grow things in a way that is in tune with nature and the rhythms that God has put forth on this earth.

This couple is wrestling with these issues. Through farmers markets we can actually meet the men and women who grow the food we eat. They may even let us come visit the farm to see where the food on our plate comes from. Another avenue for those in the cities is a program called a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture. In these arrangements a group of people pay into a membership in a farm. You pay a lump sum price at the beginning of the year and throughout the growing season you get baskets of fresh produce and sometimes even meat. The final way to get local food is to grow your own garden. Even if it is only a 10x10 spot in the backyard or a couple of window boxes of your apartment balcony, the thought of food straight from the vine can be very attractive.

Now I know that this is a huge step for some people. My advice is take it slowly. The main point is to be more intentional with what we eat and where our food comes from. I think in the end you will see that a little bit of work will reap HUGE rewards!