A Family Tradition: Pan Fried Fish for Breakfast

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Alexandr Blinov/Fotolia
Soaked in salt water the night before, pan fried fish made a quick breakfast meal in the morning.

A small river ran through the family farm in the northwestern part of Missouri where I grew up. Papa and Grandpa both liked to fish.

About once a week, from early spring to late autumn, in the late afternoon or early evening after the day’s work and chores were finished, Grandpa would come to our house to go fishing.

Grandpa felt that we should not talk while we sat, holding the fishing pole with the baited hook in the water. He was certain the fish would be more apt to bite if we were quiet.

It was always a thrill when someone caught something, but since none of us children felt any spiritual value of meditation at that time, the times in between catching fish sometimes seemed too long.

Tasty breakfast meal

We didn’t have electricity, nor a refrigerator, and the iceman did not deliver ice to farms in our neighborhood. That meant we had to eat the fish fairly quickly, before it spoiled.

So, we cleaned the fish, washed them thoroughly in cold water from the well, and salted them down with a good amount of salt. Then we covered them with cold water and sat the container of fish in the cellar, where it would be as cold as possible.

The next morning, the fish were washed again, dried off, and rolled in a mixture of flour, salt and pepper. Then it was fried for breakfast. Pan fried fish was delicious — and it became my favorite breakfast food. In our house, pan fried fish was always a breakfast food because we didn’t want to take the chance that it would spoil if we were to wait until the noon meal to cook it.

Now I’m an old lady, and refrigeration allows me to enjoy fish any time of day. However, my husband and I often have it for breakfast. We like all kinds of fish, but none really tastes as good as the catfish my family used to catch in the small, unpolluted river that runs through the farm that used to belong to my family.

Reynoldsburg, Ohio

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