- Food and Cooking
The last of the limericks in Limerick – and Redneck Recipe # 22 – Redneck Smoked Catfish
Who would think that Yankees lived in Limerick?
Once upon a rhyme there was a Yankee poet who lived way up north in Limerick, Maine. He was a friend to all, but maybe most of those "all" never knew his name. He was a good buddy to the keeper of Limerick’s only general store, a Mrs. Enos. She didn't know his name, either.
Poets and Panthas
There were others who lived in Limerick that one might consider to be notables. For example, the most prominent of the town’s ruling selectmen, a Mr. Frabblender, kept good order in meetings of the town council, but his huge pet cat, Samantha, played pure havoc with Limerick’s many other pets; cat, dog, roosters, rabbits, and any other kind of critter that people kept around. Samantha was even seen to attack a wooden yard sign one time – that's how fearless Samantha was. The sign was shaped out to look like a bulldog that was holding a board in its jaws on which the house number had been painted. Many of the people in town knew Mr. Frabblender. Everyone in town knew Samantha.
The friendly and willing poet was not really what you would describe as garrulous, but if he knew that you were present and if he knew that you knew he was also present, he’d pop out with an impromptu five-liner, a new limerick he would generate on the spot. He was a well-known fixture in Limerick. In fact, his reputation was such that people tried to avoid being in his company if at all possible. They even tried to not remember his name. Most just called him "that nut."
You could always tell when the nut was walking about town. His sidewalk was always empty but for him. The sidewalk on the other side of the street was usually fairly crowded, the people on that sidewalk invariably walking along with their heads turned away from the opposite side of the street. As you might imagine, the nutty limerick-spouter was the cause of many a bruise, but that was something about which he was completely unaware.
The nutty poet up and died
One day the poet up and died.
Even so, there was no celebration. Townsfolk suddenly realized that there went a likely irreplaceable Limerick fixture. Pushy as the guy had been, and not-so-hot as his five-liners had proceeded, he had been Limerick’s only poet outside of a long-ago visit by Robert Frost - and who went for a stuffy fellow like Frost?
Nothing caused so great a combination of joy and sadness as the man’s passing. The one church bell in Limerick tolled mournfully for several days. Mr. Frabblender led City Council in a solemn but somewhat thankful prayer session. Mrs. Enos, practiced in productive enterprise as she was, and a friend to the now demised limerick composer, decided that Limerick had not done enough to memorialize its loss.
After thinking about what to do, and after canvassing the entire area for a replacement five-liner poet to no avail, Mrs. Enos took the positive step of contacting the news media to alert them to Limerick’s and the country’s loss. She felt that it was now or never to get the word out about Limerick’s late, but only, limerick-spouter.
Today, you and I are continually jolted by instant news of momentous events of all sorts – catastrophic storms, earthquakes, tidal waves, new and better wars, failing economies, even honest politicians, but that was an earlier time of relatively less media spectacularism. The demise of the only limerick-spouter in Limerick attracted the attention of only one feature editor employed by the Associated Press (or maybe it was the head of the comics section of the Village Voice) – I have forgotten.
A reporter was dispatched to Limerick to check out Mrs. Enos’ story. This reporter's name is now lost in the dustbin of history, so let’s simply refer to him as "The Reporter."
The Reporter interviewed everyone who did not run away fast enough. He started with Mrs. Enos, for she was the one responsible for his being rewarded with a poetic assignment (his very first assignment out of town) to faraway Limerick in Maine. From Mrs. Enos, he went to see Mr. Frabblender. That visit was somewhat nerve-wracking for The Reporter. You see, Mrs. Enos had recited one of the nutty poet’s latest limericks, cementing it in The Reporter’s mind – the one about Mr. Frabblender’s giant cat, Samantha. The five-liner had one of its lines go like this: "Is she a cat or is she a pantha?" You can imagine The Reporter’s state of mind with that line reverberating within his skull throughout the interview.
Well, so it went, from one to another of the townsfolk. Other than Mr. Frabblender, each of the Limerick residents laid one of the nutty poet's five-liners on the guy. After a time, his ears flapped and his eyeballs rolled about in their sockets. It would be fair to say that The Reporter had been thoroughly "licked" by limericks.
He returned to his office and reported to his features editor (or to the comic strip boss, whichever one it was). The boss had The Reporter write the whole deal up in good form, after which it was edited to perfection. Onto the AP wires it went, eventually to be printed in thousands of newspapers throughout the United States.
No one read the little article save "Gus the Redneck," and even he should have known much better. Being in need of a good job at the time, Gus the Redneck considered the many interesting options of a lifetime career of cashing in on the spouting of five-liners. Being as dull-witted as had been that nutty poet up there in Limerick, Maine, Gus the Redneck took on the task with zeal and abandon; that is, he zoomed into that strange career, pedal to the metal, and he unwittingly abandoned any hope of being ,himself, considered sane enough to walk on the same side of the street as did his fellow humans.
Now, he, as had The Reporter, experienced "Samantha the pantha" bopping back and forth between his ears and messing up what might otherwise have been an orderly flow of electrons along the neurons and across synapses. The five-liners began to flow out, more and more. The income did not reciprocate. "Maybe I should go for six lines instead of just five..."
If a serious study were to be made of all of this, it would have the obvious result of proving Samantha to be the only winner. Was she a cat, or was she really a pantha? Do you see how that is working right now? Just try to get it out of your mind. Just try.
‘You know something? Maybe that was how everything had started for the nutty poet, too. Think about that. Well, perhaps you ought not to think about that.
Redneck Smoked Catfish
This may be the easiest catfish recipe you have encountered in years and years. It should work very nicely, too, for the prepping of almost any other kind of fish you can get your hands on (if that is how you catch ‘em). It takes but a few minutes to ready the fish and a couple of hours to cook them. Were this recipe not about cooking catfish (or some other kind) I might even tell you that the whole deal is a "piece of cake."
If you can talk someone else into cleaning and filleting your catfish, that’s the way to go. You can even buy the rascals all ready for cooking in one of those plastic sacks in the grocery store freezer. That’s what I do. There are two pounds of catfish fillets to a sack where we shop. Thaw them out overnight in the refrigerator, and they will be ready to go the next day.
I dump one 15-ounce can of chopped tomatoes with green chilies into a 9-inch by 13-inch aluminum pan. (I use those disposable pans made for use with steam tables. They come in packs of about 20 or so and cost very little.) In go the catfish fillets, right on top of the chopped tomatoes with green chilies.
Then I sprinkle lots of seafood seasoning all over the catfish fillets. Being a practiced redneck, I shake my seafood seasoning from a container of "Tone’s" brand of the stuff, and it works nicely. If you want to make your own, mix the following things together in whatever proportion you think suitable, but go kinda heavy on the lemon and the dill parts.
Finely chopped lemon peel, chopped or dehydrated garlic (powder is OK), chopped or dehydrated onion, finely chopped dill weed, a little salt, and a wee bit of sugar (just to be able to say that you used some sugar but not much)
Then cover the seasoned fish with a second can of chopped tomatoes with green chilies and leave the pan uncovered.
Get the grill or the smoker up to about 230 to 250 degrees, Fahrenheit (didn’t think I could spell that rascal, did you?) or thereabouts and, with the heat from the coals or propane being "indirect," allow the dish to cook in the smoke for about 2 to 2-1/2 hours.
We had this for our evening meal today and served it with some good cold potato salad. It was a good combination, and the catfish was really very tasty – and not overly spicy.