Monday, February 16, 2015
In our last house, we lived next door to a big funny man in his sixties, Hal Gunderson, and his sweet wife, Jane. They were of Swedish descent, like many people who lived in the town of Geneva. I might have guessed by their appearance, but the real reason I knew was that they had a "Parking for Swedes Only" sign next to their driveway.
Hal had a scruffy looking patchy old dog named Lady who would straggle along after him most of the time. Whenever you'd run into the two of them outside Hal would shout, "Say hello, Lady!" And I would think he was telling me to say hi to his dog. I finally figured out he was trying to get his dog to let out a tired bark. Once in a while she did.
Mr. Gunderson and his wife had a few traditions they liked to keep. They would have all their grown children and grandchildren over each Saturday morning and Hal would make pancakes. That was nice. Also, he and Jane and sometimes another couple would every so often drive up to somewhere in Wisconsin for a fish boil. Hal described the event to us at least a couple of times--with images of a giant outdoor cauldron boiling over and how delicious it was.
To me, a "fish boil" just didn't sound that appealing. Especially since in my stepmom's family there were Floridians, fishermen, who lived in the Keys. We had been down there a few times when I was a teen and had pigged out many times on fresh deep-fried grouper, along with corn fritters and syrup. Now that was living!
Several years ago we moved away from our house in Geneva and the Gundersons, though they came out here once to see us. They were good neighbors. I have never forgotten them, and I guess I never forgot about that fish boil either. Hal had described the process in detail, and one day I decided to try it. I went online and found the basic instructions. Though we did it on a small scale indoors, it worked well. It really was, as Hal had said, delicious.
I will say, if you are going to cook fish in your house, it is going to smell bad. I don't care how you do it. It is extremely weird to me that it can smell bad cooking but then taste really good. But, it does. (Unless it is just bad fish and I do not know about that as we only get good fish.)
So when Hal had described the fish boil, it didn't sound good, and when I cooked it, it didn't smell good, and really, boiled fish--all white, with white-ish potatoes and onions doesn't even look good. But then you eat it, and it tastes good. So, things aren't always what they seem; but sometimes they are (like if you have bad fish).