I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Galena, Missouri.
Greetings from Galena, Missouri
N 36° 47.079’ W 093° 30.350’ Elev. 885 ft.
WARNING: This post contains sexual content of a primal nature.
To some people in the Ozarks the middle of March signals only one thing: White Bass!
The white bass come up the James River en masse to spawn only to be greeted by a phalanx of fishermen. It’s hard to tell which is more primitive: Fish or man? Sort of explains the internationally recognized description for the rabid class of people known as “fisherman.”
The male white bass come up the river first ready to, well, splooge for any arriving females. The males are larger than normal this year, meaning the females will be even bigger. The real question, though, is who’s hornier: The white bass making their way to their spawning grounds or the fishermen with a hard-on for white-bass action?
I’m not from here. But I’ve learned what’s important, what’s essential: White bass are freakin’ delicious!
And humans aren’t the only ones who think so. After the fish are filleted it’s cool to take the guts out back, dump them out and wait for a flock of feathered friends. It only takes about 20-30 minutes for a colony of turkey vultures to show up out of nowhere and discover the gold mine of fish offal. It’s pretty fun to watch them fight over the bounty until, inevitably, the buzzards are rudely interrupted by the dogs. They’re undeterred, however, and keep coming back until their work is done; they do remarkably efficient clean-up.
After an ill-fated first attempt at frying hushpuppies went hopelessly awry, we regrouped. We took the operation inside where the temperature of the oil could be more properly regulated, and, voilà, it worked out splendidly.
The hushpuppies were made with a bunch of stuff: the miracle product Jiffy Mix®, cheese, diced pickled jalapeños, onion, red and green bell pepper, diced bacon, and eggs. They were unbelievable. Spicy with the perfect inner-consistency of cornbread. Good Gawd, y’all, the folks further South could learn something about making hushpuppies here.
We had both white bass and crappie (pronounced “craw-pee”) fillets. The fish were battered in a basic corn meal mix and fried quickly, to perfection of course. And the Duke of Earl made his award-winning homemade tarter sauce; actually it’s just mayonnaise, pickle relish and onion, but it sure goes great with the fish.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get pictures or videos of the fish and hushpuppies frying because the camera battery died. (Note to self: Keep recharging.) Moreover, because of low battery issues, the camera stripped the color out of some of the videos. Such a bummer because I was hoping to show off the beauty of the James River basin in the waning days of winter. Thankfully you can still see it in the still shots.
In all it was a great time, a regular deep-fry bacchanal with great food and great company. But now I need a nap.
And so we roll.
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.