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Fish, Beans & Potatoes

The Summer Cook’s recipes for lake-resort lunch
Published: February 17, 2012

As a 13-year-old, The View from Here columnist Paul Sullivan spent the summer making lunch for his family at the Minnesota cabin resort his parents owned and managed. Money was tight, so every day lunch was the same: fish, beans and potatoes. Learn the whole story in “The Summer Cook” (Cabin Life, April 2012).

Here are Paul’s time-honored family recipes: 

Fried fish
In a paper bag, mix two parts flour with one part finely ground bread or cracker crumbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Put serving-size fish filets in bag, and shake until filets are evenly coated.
    I like a cast-iron skillet for frying fish. Heat the cooking oil of your choice (mine was Crisco and a big dab of real butter) until it starts to sizzle but not smoke. Fry the fish, longer on the first side, until brown and crunchy on the outside and flaky on the inside.
    For our fish gravy, we always had a rich residue of fish cracklings left in the cast-iron skillet to work with. Add milk and flour slowly while stirring until gravy thickens to desired consistency.   

Pork & beans
My Northwoods pork and beans were straight out of the can. When Mom fixed them for Sunday dinner, she often added onions and strips of bacon across the top and baked them.

Mashed potatoes
Peel one medium-sized potato for each medium-sized eater; more for the lumberjacks, or for making fried potato cakes later (with bacon and eggs).
    Slice peeled potatoes into 1–2-inch chunks. Boil 30 to 40 minutes until soft and easily mashed. Drain. While slowly adding milk, butter, salt, pepper (a dab of sour cream, chives, etc.), mash potatoes to desired consistency.

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