I see so many people on Facebook posting pictures of their camping weekends, and they just seem so happy and excited to be sleeping in a canvas “hot box” this time of year. It brings back so many memories of my growing-up years. My Daddy was a passionate and devoted fisherman. He never had the expensive Shimano BeastMaster reel that cost $1,500 or anything close. He fished with, it seemed to me, a “twenty feet” bamboo fishing cane that he probably cut down himself and had a fishing line tied to the end with a fishhook and a little red bobber about twelve inches up from the hook. He could cast that line far away into the fish laden waters and always brought home a large catch, never hanging the hook up in the underbrush.
Now speaking of the tent hot box, we surely did not have one of those. You’re probably expecting we camped in a forty-foot RV with all the amenities.
Right. Our camping was a quilt, maybe a pillow, and the Big Black River bridge as our shelter. Daddy would always build a big fire in the center, and we would lay our bedding around in a sort of circle. The fire was our light, our cook stove, and any warmth we might need.
My Daddy was the camping cook, and I can still remember just how good the food cooked on those camping/fishing days and nights tasted. He always cooked eggs over the fire for breakfast and made “fried” sugar toast. We had an old cast iron skillet just for fire cooking and he would melt butter in it over the fire and add slices of light bread and fry that bread until it was almost burned and then sprinkle sugar all over. That to me, was as good as any fancy treat I have ever eaten. And, as for the fried fish, I don’t think that I’ve ever eaten any at any fish house that could match it. My brother inherited some of his cooking skills as I have eaten his fried fish, and it comes in pretty close.
Our camping days were hot and wet, as we were rained on several times, and uncomfortable sleeping, but oh, what memories!
This is his batter for his catfish.
He always started with at the least three pounds of filleted catfish, washed and dried.
1 cup of yellow cornmeal, ½ cup of flour, 2 T. black pepper, 2 T. salt, 2 T. Garlic powder. He would put all this in a paper bag and shake the fish inside and drop into hot grease. It came out crunchy and oh so good.