Friday, August 24, 2007

The Great American Cookout

What’s your best “excuse,” (well, “reason”) for having a cookout?

In Catfish Country, it can be anything from church suppers and family reunions to rehearsal parties, tailgate picnics or weekends at the river.

During my childhood, the “excuse” was relatives who came to visit.

Cookouts usually meant hamburgers, hotdogs, a slab of ribs or pile of catfish, and all it took for us to bring out the big, iron pot was a kinfolk or two and especially half a dozen.

With large families on both sides, our relatives were scattered from Maryland to Ohio to Arizona to Florida. Some came for 10 days in the summer, others for a few days here or there. An Ohio uncle joined us every year at Christmas, and that doesn’t begin to cover all the family in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee!

Our place was the perfect stop. We lived in a big, high-ceilinged house with several bedrooms and a wraparound front porch. Extra room might be had in one of our duplex cottages, part of Greensboro’s first motel. Plus, my dad loved to talk and my mother loved to cook, and there were lots of cousins for us to play with.

While family fish fries once meant bass or bream from a river or pond, the meaning of “fish fry” eventually changed to catfish that were raised in ponds near town.

The kinfolks were enthused, and at the end of their visit, often stopped by the processing plant to pack coolers with fillets for the trip home.

Well, let’s see. No kinfolks are visiting, but August is National Catfish Month, and Labor Day is right around the corner…reasons enough!


Beemoosie said...

Thank you for visiting my blog! I am so sorry to admit to you, I have never had catfish...I'll keep visiting you may just convert me!!! Do they know how to cook it in NY? LOL!

JANET said...

Hi Beemoosie, Thanks for visiting. I don't know if New Yorkers FRY catfish or not, but I imagine they know how to turn it into a tasty gourmet item decked out with a chipotle lime sauce or something equally as interesting!

Morning Glory said...

I think cookouts are the very best in family entertainment. It sounds like yours were a lot of fun.

Thank you for stopping by my sunset blog. I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures.

Bright Meadow Farms said...

My first visit to your blog, it's great! You have inspired me... I got a fishing license in June and haven't made it to the reservoir yet... and it is just across the street. No more excuses!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Fried catfish is delicious! I can think of many reasons and occassions to eat it! Sounds like you have some wonderful memories associated with eating it as well!
Enjoy Catfish month!

2 LMZ FARMS said...

There is always an excuse for us 'southerners' to have a cookout. We often have catfish at our cookouts too. We have a small catfish pond here at our house and my Dad has several on his place. Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you and yours have a blessed evening.

JANET said...

Thank you for visiting, Morning Glory. Cookouts are a lot of fun. We usually cook out, then come back inside to eat in air-conditioned comfort. But I miss those outdoor picnics!

JANET said...

Bright Meadow Farms, that's great that you plan to go fishing, and to have a place right across the street!
We used to fish for our fish, too, and still do sometimes, but in Catfish Country, the fish are farm-raised, and we tend to buy our catfish already skinned and filleted! The farmed fish are surface feeders and have a milder flavor than the ones we catch, which are bottom feeders and sometimes have a muddy taste.
Thanks for visiting!