Sunday, October 31, 2010


Four years ago, we lost our old cat Spuds.  All fish and seafood coming into this house went to him.  When we lost him after a long fight, to nose cancer, fishing just reminded me painfully of him.

Back on the beach, again, this time asking him to share if he wants any.  I only fish if I'm hungry for fish. Admittedly, like all fishers, the carnivore/omnivore instincts kick in, and I enjoy the fish's struggles on the line.  But if I don't don't think I will want fried fish and bone crackers the next day, I don't fish. 

I have a deal on with the fish: when I catch one, I smash up all of my mussel bait, and throw it to out to my breakfast's brethren.  No, I don't think the fish know about this deal; it just makes me feel better.

Turns out I'm good at hunting and gathering.  If I took up hunting deer, it would be for spikes or, if they ever allow it, does. Because hunting for antlers is just hunting grandpa -- and it's traditionally a practice for war, replacing the urge to kill other humans.  And bucks and bulls are in rut: YUCK.  

If I were hunting for antlers, I'd turn it into a REAL sport: tracking the same buck every year until he dropped his horns, starting when he was a spike, until he dropped his final set as an old man, and letting the tough old guy feed something that will enjoy him, like a mountain lion.  Or somebody who needs a really good, thick hide.  But collecting a life-time's horns without killing, counting a kind of coup, would really demonstrate tracking ability and courage. However:

Now for the real reason for hunting or gathering anything: putting it in our faces.

It's not necessary to fillet greenling.  Just head and cut, scraping out the bloodline with a mussel shell.  Split open.  Rinse well, salt inside, wrap in a towel and put in the 'fridge 'till breakfast time.  Rinse well, pat dry, fry skin-side down, preferably in lard of bacon grease, although any oil will do.  The best spice to sprinkle, lightly, on a greenling is Chinese Prickly Ash, also called Sichuan pepper, available at McPhee's Asian Grocery in Port Angeles, and soon to be available at Sunset West Co-op in Clallam Bay.

Dish, slip out the backbone and slip off the skin and fins.  Place them all back in the pan, to slow-crisp.  They will make the most delectable crunchy bone-crackers.

No comments: