The Old-fashioned Shore Lunch

If you’ve ever read about—or been lucky enough to go on—a guided freshwater fishing excursion, there’s always a shore lunch included.

Depending on your age, these moments of being waited on can be as exciting as the fishing itself. It sometimes makes you think maybe you should be paying more for this very pleasant experience.

A shore lunch-type meal cooked in your kitchen might be barely acceptable, but at a lake side or river edge it’s a meal fit for royalty.

You’ll never in your life have fresher fish than those cooked in a shore lunch—flipping on your lure one minute and sizzling in the frying pan the next.

A shore lunch is a great experience even if you do it for yourself. Visiting friends and relatives will think you are something special when you make it for them.

You’ll be amazed at how many photos you will appear in just making a simple meal over a fire for visiting friends.

The shore lunch can be as exotic as you wish but the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) approach is easy and dependable.

For two or three people you need a controllable fire, two fry-pans (cast iron is best), one can of beans ( the kind without the plastic liner in the can), one or two cans of sliced potatoes or 2-4 raw potatoes, a pound of lard (oil will work).

You’ll also need a nice, freshly-filleted fish, some all-purpose flour, breadcrumbs or corn flake crumbs to coat it, plates and utensils, salt and pepper, a spatula and a roll of paper towels.

Tea, coffee, water or what-have-you will round out the meal. A grate over the fire makes this a lot easier.

It’s a good idea to pick a safe fire spot out of the wind, although wind does minimize the insect challenge.

Let the fire burn down some, but keep a supply of smaller dry wood at hand to keep the fire hot, but controlled.

Melt the lard in the frying pans and start the potatoes (sliced raw will take awhile longer than sliced canned).

Open the lid on the beans, but leave about 1/8 of an inch of lid attached to keep the heat in. Put the opened can over a hot, but not scorching, area of the fire and keep your eye on the beans and potatoes to be sure they do not burn.

When the beans and potatoes are ready, start cooking the coated fish in the now hot and bubbling lard. The fish will cook in very few minutes, but even slightly overdone in this setting it is still delightful.

The fry pans, lard, bean can and fire are all very hot, so be careful and use work gloves to handle everything.

To serve, stick a spoon into the bean can or just pour the beans out. The spatula will do for both the potatoes and the fish. Paper towels are Yukon serviettes even at home, so use a bunch and then burn them.

After this simple gourmet meal a nap is often in order as well as some brief conversation about what the “big-city folks” are doing right now.

If nothing else is at hand, use many frying pans full of water to make sure your cooking fire is really out and all your garbage is going with you.

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