We recently spent a week at the family cabin in Montana. My husband and his dad spent hours on the lake together. They’d get up early in the morning and sometimes be back before the baby and I were even awake. I think it was a real treat for them to spend some one-on-one time together. They caught so many fish (five or six altogether, I think) that the whole lot of us were able to have a fish feast one night! The next day we mixed up the leftovers with mayo and dill and ate it on toast triangles.
I joined them on an afternoon trip. I cast out a line a few times, but (thankfully!) didn’t get a bite. Most of the time I was trying to keep the baby in the boat! Eventually he fell asleep with the help of a little milk and the gentle rocking of the boat. I really appreciated the opportunity to see the whole cycle of dinner from the source to the plate.
I went with my husband, Clay, to watch while he gutted the fish, although I did have to avert my eyes on the boat when he clubbed it. I know it was the most humane way to end its life, but it was still sad. Looking at it up close, I was struck by what a beautiful creature it was. A speckled rainbow glittered down its side.
The whole thing made me think about people who settled the west and who had to go through this whole process every time they wanted fish for dinner. It must have been a much more precious commodity! Instead of just a quick trip to Whole Foods, it would have meant time in a boat or by the river, cleaning and preparing the fish, several hours of work altogether, plus the emotional element of having to kill it yourself. When you think about that, it seems like meat ought to be a lot more expensive than it is. And if we were all responsible for procuring our own meat, we’d likely eat it much less often, and appreciate it much more.
We certainly all appreciated our delicious trout dinner. It was so fresh and tasty, a much more earthy flavor than the ocean fish I’m used to. I swear you could taste the mountains and the trees…