Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fish Fry: Frog Legs, Full Bellies, Fun

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fish Fry: Frog Legs, Full Bellies, Fun

Article excerpt

Byline: Beverly Fleming

I learned to fish in a little pond down the hill from our house in Missouri when I was very small. Dad always stocked our farm ponds with bream and catfish and during the summer we often would have fresh fish to eat.

But it was really my Grandpa Edgar who taught us about the joys of going fishing and of having a fish fry. My Dad's father was a truck driver and we really didn't get to see a lot of him, but when he was off the road, he loved get the family together for a fish fry.

Fifty years ago, it was standard procedure for my dad and Uncle Fred to pull a seine across the pond and get a big tub full of fish for the event. Since Dad had seven siblings and they all had large families, there were between 50 and 65 people at our annual get-together. The night before the fry, Dad, Uncle Lewis and Uncle Edwin would go out to Uncle Fred's and gig for frogs.

Mom didn't mind helping to clean fish but she drew the line when a big gunny sack of frogs landed on the cleaning table. She also hated cooking frogs because she said the legs still "jumped" in the big cast iron skillet. Even so, we kids loved the smell of those frog legs dipped in corn meal and fried in bacon grease. (Those were the days, before cholesterol counts and high blood pressure warnings.)

On the big day, all the aunts would arrive with their favorite side dishes. (Just so you know, grits and hush puppies are not served with fish in north Missouri.) Potato salad, deviled eggs, sausage casserole, all different kinds of pickles and lots of deserts were laid out on wooden doors laid atop saw horses. Moms picked through the fish for bones so the little ones could also enjoy the feast and we all ate until we were stuffed!

After about an hour of rest and visiting, Grandpa and a couple of friends would get out their fiddles and then the real fun would begin. …

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