Goldenrod is beginning to unwrap its glorious sunny foliage. Bugs are bolder, and spiders spin their webs with abandon.
Home, family and food bloggers rearrange rooms and recipes, and some have posted pictures of shiny red apples and scrumptious ways to eat them. Gourds and pumpkins are getting attention too. Meanwhile, other blogs had end-of-summer tea parties.
Here in the Black Belt, this is the season for sweet potatoes and a hundred ways to cook them. It’s also when the catfish really gets around and re-introduces himself. He reigns as mascot of the Alabama Tale-Tellin’ Festival in Selma on Oct. 12 and 13 and appears as the catfishmobile in holiday parades.
His popularity at Tale-Tellin’ is aided by nationally known storytellers who reel in their audience with comedy, music and delightful tales about the South, including ghost stories and folk remedies told by festival founder Kathryn Tucker Windham.
For those of you who don’t know The Ghost Lady, she’s an award-winning author, storyteller, photographer and cook. She’s also an octogenarian who still travels to places like Jonesborough, Tenn., where she’s featured at the National Storytelling Festival.
When I first moved to Selma as a young wife and reporter, she lived across the street. Not long after we moved in, she brought us a cake…sorry, I don’t recall what kind! I mainly remember discussing writing and her journey from pioneer female police reporter… to feature writer …to book author. Among her 20-something books is Southern Cooking to Remember, and here are her catfish and hush puppy recipes.
French Fried Catfish
Cut catfish into slices about one-inch thick.
Pour enough oil into a deep cooking pot to completely cover the fish.
Salt the fish and dip the pieces in undiluted evaporated milk.
Roll in cracker crumbs or cornmeal and drop into hot oil.
When golden brown, drain, and serve hot with melted butter and lemon juice.
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup thick buttermilk
1 medium onion, chopped fine
Sift the dry ingredients together. Beat the egg in the buttermilk and add. Stir in chopped onion. Drop by teaspoonfuls (do not drop in big chunks) into very hot, deep fat, preferably fat in which fish has been fried. Turn when brown. Drain on paper and eat as soon as they are cool enough to handle.