Category Archives: Fish

A Fishy Tale for the Fourth

Now is the time for Salmon.

Salmo salar - Atlantic Salmon

Salmo salar – Atlantic Salmon

Tradition has Abigail Adams making a lovely meal of poached salmon, new pease and potatoes for her darling John back in 1776.

On July 4th.

The Adams, Abigail and John

The Adams, Abigail and John

Or maybe not.

They weren’t in the same city that day….darn those letter writing people of the past so we know where they were on particular days!

Or maybe this whole tradition is a New Nostalgia thing.

At the World’s Fair in 1964 in New York City they were serving  authentic oldie timey food and this meal was one of them. …

but I think it goes back a little further then that, because my Nana made or craved this very same same meal a lot earlier in the 20th century then 1964.

To help make my case:

However, I happen to own a copy of the American Heritage Cookbook published in 1964 and I don’t see a reference to Abigail Adams at all. In my edition it simply says: “From the earliest days it has been a tradition all through New England to serve Poached Salmon with Egg Sauce, along with the first new potatoes and early peas, on the Fourth of July. The eastern salmon began to ‘run’ about this time, and the new vegetables were just coming in.”

– Kendra Nordin, Kitchen Report July 2, 2013 Christian Science Monitor

green peaeAnd this – poached salmon with Egg sauce, new potatoes and early peas – are exactly the meal I helped my Nana cook on a Fourth when she had moved down near us. Or maybe it was when she was in Senior Housing in Mattapan….it was a teeny tiny very modern gallery kitchen with hardly enough room to swing a cat in, which was definitely NOT like any house she had lived in before. Now this Mid-Century kitchen layout is called

vintage

but it’s like Starksy & Hutch vintage, and not vintage vintageTVGuide June 1978So I went over and we poached a piece of salmon, not a whole fish, and made egg sauce (she had this down, but I believe Fannie Farmer was her source) and quickly cooked the peas and potatoes….we might have been drinking TAB…

tab

Was it the saccharin or the cyclamates that forced this off the market?

But poaching a salmon is a feed a crowd type of meal, and if you’re not feeding a crowd,you’ll want something smaller  and kinder to your purse AND since so much Atlantic salmon is now farmed, so is a source of moral and culinary concern, I started using  canned Pacific salmon and  went to a complete and total  B-plan several years ago.

My inspiration was :

I admit - I bought the book for the title.

I admit – I bought the book for the title.

One of the salads in Lettuce In Your Kitchen is with salmon and new potatoes…I added a few fresh peas and topped it with a hard boiled egg and Green Goddess dressing…

And thus a new tradition is born, based on layers of old ones.

So I eat the traditional foods, in a newer way. And think about  Nana and Abigail Adams and Fannie Farmer and wouldn’t it be one terrific table if they were all around it, eating Poached Salmon, Early Peas and New Potatoes.

Egg Sauce I

To Drawn Butter Sauce add two “hard-boiled” eggs cut in one-fourth inch slices.

p. 14

Drawn Butter Sauce

1/3 cup butter 11/2 cups hot water
3 tablespoons flour 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Melt one-half the butter, add flour with seasonings, and pour on gradually hot water. Boil five minutes, and add remaining butter in small pieces. To be served with boiled or baked fish.

p.11

Farmer, Fannie Merritt. The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Boston: Little, Brown, 1918; Bartleby.com, 2000.

Fannie Merritt Farmer

Fannie Merritt Farmer

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Filed under Fish, Holiday, Influencers, Recipe, Summer

Fish Soup

There is no actual soup in this post, just fishes. All different fishes that came my way this week.

This image of Saint Ambrose made his way across my eyes….notice the

FISH HOOKS

St. Ambrose from the Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves, 1440

St. Ambrose from the Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves, 1440 Love the fishy border! It would make a great necklace.

Other fishies in the sea of news…….

Jaws turns 40

Jaws

 

Great White Sharks go swimming locally..

perhaps their parents were in the movie……

shark cc 2015 And then there’s Bach.

Johan Sebastian Bach.

Bach is back in the news.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach

His Crab Canon  is what’s in the news. Here’s a story on the Canon.

There are no actual Crabs in the Canon…it is music that can be played backwards as well as forwards and rather side to side ….” target=”_blank”>watch this video.

It’s also the Crabby time of year.

Astrologically,  we’re now in the sign of the Crab, June 22nd -July 22nd.

The name of this astrological sign goes back to a story with  Hercules while he was busy with those Twelve Labors…

This urn is in the Louvre.

This urn is in the Louvre. This does not look like a fun time for our friend Herc.

Cancer CrabSidney_Hall_-_Urania's_Mirror

from 1825 Urania’s Mirror by Sidney Hall

Some of my favorite people were born under this sign…..

Like a certain offspring…..

Three generations - he makes us look much shorter then we really are!

Three generations – he makes us look much shorter then we really are!

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Filed under Fish, Summer

Herring Run

This time of year, with the herring running in Town Brook – and lots and lots of other fresh-waterways on the Eastern Seaboard – I have fish on the brain. Good thing it’s brain food!herring watercolor

….a cup of ale without a wench, why, alas, ’tis like an egg without salt or a red herring without mustard.”

Thomas Lodge and Robert Greene A Looking Glasse, for London and Englande (1592)

Which I found quoted in

Red Herring without Mustard - Alan Bradley - a Flavia

Red Herring without Mustard – Alan Bradley – a Flavia de Luce Mystery Novel

I love mystery novels. I read this one last week.

This week I’m reading a memoir: “Shucked”

 Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm Paperback by Erin Byers Murray


Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm
by Erin Byers Murray – so far only oysters have died – but not without a fight

It was also Herring Fest weekend at the Plimoth Grist Mill at Jenney Pond.

herringfest bigFriday night there was a herring documentary film and panel discussion at Plimoth Cinema.

Nancy Carol - Arts Activist - and Shervin Arya of Herring Migration documentary

Nancy Carol – Arts Activist – and Shervin Arya of Herring Migration documentary at the Plimoth Grist Mill at Jenny Pond

The film was very good – and I’m not just saying that. Frankly, most of these sorts of things are not usually described in terms of cinema, but rather as the sort of thing that is accurate or complete or not a complete and total snooze…this was beautiful, thoughtful, provocative…I seriously want to see the full 6 hour series.

And although I appreciate the place of herring in the Natural World, I just don’t like them all that much on my plate.

I don’t mind anchovies…the all natural little dose of fish. Please rinse the salt off before you put them on top of that pizza.

Still Life with Anchovies - Antonio Sicurezza 1972

Still Life with Anchovies – Antonio Sicurezza 1972

I also love mackerel.

Van Gogh - Still life with Mackerel and tomatoes 1886

Van Gogh – Still life with Mackerel and Tomatoes 1886

But herring I could take or leave…mostly leave.

Smoked fish – like finnan haddie – take.

Finnen Haddie with peppers and onions

Finnan Haddie with peppers and onions

Red Herring – smoked and salted – probably take

Red Herring (kipper)

Red Herring (kipper)

but herring, fresh and sweet?

Herring - Clupea harengus

Herring – Clupea harengus

Not so much. Since the moratorium on river herring continues, just as well.

It’s probably not coincidence that when the herring are running I eat more tuna salad, fish and chips, anchovy pizza then at any other time of the year. And wish I had a Donegal tweed jacket to toss on on my way over to the brook….

Donegal Tweed, a herringbone tweed pattern

Donegal Tweed, a herringbone tweed pattern

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Filed under Books, Fish