I had the opportunity to express my delight to the owner when he stopped by and told him I would post a blog. I have no idea if any readers would have the occasion to be Bossier City for dinner, but if so, I can enthusiastically recommend Two Johns.
In the strictest sense, catfish is simply a freshwater fish that for generations was avoided in certain parts of the country while practically revered in the South. It is a “bottom dweller”, will definitely spear an unwary hand with its “barbs”, and isn’t the easiest fish in the world to clean. A number of years ago, different factors came together to increase its popularity and catfish is one of the primary fish now raised via aquaculture in the U.S. As is common, once a fish becomes more popular, many cooking methods are suggested. Again, in dealing with fact, catfish can be prepared in any suitable way – grilled, broiled, baked, sauteed, etc. However, anyone raised in the South can tell you that there is only one way to properly prepare and eat catfish – deep fried. Not only deep-fried, but deep-fried after being rolled in cornmeal and shaken to remove the excess. There are some arguments for mixing a little flour in with the cornmeal, but the concept of “battering” catfish as you would for fish and chips just won’t do. Also, there are only a few acceptable items to serve with catfish – french fries, hushpuppies, and cold slaw being the main ones. You can do fresh sliced tomatoes and/or cucumbers, or pickled green tomato relish, but anything else is stretching the boundaries.
Notwithstanding the wonderful fish and seafood that we have in Florida, few people serve catfish here and no one cooks it correctly. That’s why one of the things we do when we go to Louisiana or Georgia is to have a meal of fried catfish. It’s at the Dorchete Grill and Seafood (or pickup from Cotton’s) in Louisiana and it’s Hendersons in Georgia. Notwithstanding our fondness for beer, ice tea is the standard beverage and there’s no reason to talk dessert. With only one catfish “fix” per year, that’s what we fill up on.
I meant to post yesterday, but fatigue and Mother Nature set in. I try to go to Louisiana every year for Daddy’s birthday, which is 2 October. Naturally, I combine that with seeing as many old friends as possible and the branch of my mother’s family that lives about a two-hour drive further south. My plan was to fly in to Shreveport, have some much needed downtime in the afternoon, meet a dear friend for dinner at a new special-occasion restaurant, then drive to Minden the next morning. Sunday’s schedule was drive south to Many to visit with aunt, uncle and whichever cousins were around after we stopped for lunch en-route. Although my daddy and stepmother are in good health for octogenarians, they can no longer drive those distances, so my chauffeuring has become the annual tradition. The first change was the delay in my morning flight from Miami to Atlanta due to mechanical issues with the airplane. That, of course, meant I missed my connecting flight. Okay, if one has to have a four-plus hour layover in an airport, Atlanta is a good one to hang around in and that meant I would arrive around 5:30. So much for downtime, but not rushed for a 7:00 p.m. dinner.
I had a nice lunch in Atlanta and stopped by the service center to get my new boarding pass to be told that the 4:48 departure was delayed until 5:35 due to mechanical problems. Ooops, that would make meeting at 7:00 p.m. difficult. Okay, email and change time to 8:00 p.m. Ah, problem not yet resolved so new departure at 6:00. Sigh, but okay – grab rental car, get to motel, change clothes very quickly and get to the restaurant. Well, let’s have rain, too. At least it wasn’t a thunderstorm, but still. Since I was staying in part of Bossier City that I was not totally familiar with and I did know the motel and restaurant were only a few miles apart, I made the prudent decision to take a taxi. I was a few minutes early and in fact, had half a martini down me by the time my girlfriend arrived. It was a lovely dinner and there were a couple of extra martinis after wine with dinner, so it was pushing midnight (central time) and I had gotten up at 5:00 a.m. to make that early flight out if Miami. Me getting to bed late doesn’t always mean I will sleep late though and sure as the world, 5:30 a.m., my eyes popped open. I simply didn’t have the energy to do a post and the rain continued. Not hard, but a drizzle punctuated by steady rain all day and night long can be draining.
The trip to Many was good as always, and even though traffic on the hilly, winding two-lane roads was light, it is tiring. Today (Monday) has finally brought sun and this evening, I pop over to a nearby town to see another friend. The next post though will be about the birthday dinner of fried catfish that we have planned for tomorrow.