Carroll-Oakland Community Fish Fry

By GEORGE ROBERTSON, M.D.A few days ago, the members of the Carol Oakland Community club and their guests met at the end of Belotes Ferry Road, 55 of them in all, for a yearly ritual which put an end to the spring fish catch. Tommy Fullington supplied white bass fillets as well as the duck breast wrapped in bacon and fried on a shish kebab while the others brought vegetables and other fixin’s for a downright good eat out. The weather cooperated eventually after raining that whole morning, but the yard mowing was done the day before so that everything was in place for the guests. I hadn’t cooked fish before, but my friend Boone Swain showed me the trick last year and I went into the affair with the full confidence of a Louisiana bayou chef. While the Bass Pro Shop Bunsen burner butane-fired deep fat cooker was warming up, I got a phone call for directions and when I returned the boiling vegetable oil was at 550 degrees. “No worry,” I thought, “I’ll just pour some more of the cooler oil in to calm it down.” After a few burning drops got me on the hands and arms, I decided to throw the fillets in hoping they would cool the burning oil. That explains our first batch of blackened fish. The rest turned out crisp and brown, but the temperature of the oil the rest of the time was recommended at 360 degrees. I passed out a few bites to the men crowding around the cook pot and got approvals and a few burned tongues.Meanwhile, Tommy was sweating over the grill getting the duck and bacon just right while the women were lining up dozens of side dishes. Most of us ate in the yard to the sweet sounds of Renee and L.T. Hudson and friends as they entertained us with bluegrass and country songs. Many of them were original ones written by the artists. Desserts were plentiful and highlighted by Geraldine Graves’ blackberry cobbler, which Eugene denied getting into the bushes for the berries. The children played on the trampoline, swung on the tire swing, and piddled around the lake bank as the hot July sun seemed to set with its beautiful colors fading into the blue waters of Old Hickory Lake. Many of the neighbors hadn’t seen each other since last year and vowed to get together again before another year would pass. Harriet and Bill Hodges co-hosted the event along with Millie Buford and were a great help getting together the menu and supplies.Editor’s Note: George Robertson is a physician with Family Medical Associates, PC, in Lebanon.