I’m trying to clean out the freezer a bit, so the next thing
on the menu for the next few weeks is whatever seems to be on the bottom, back,
or mysteriously wrapped. Last night I pulled out a long package of freezer
paper, and we had cod for dinner tonight. Now, the kids don’t really like fish
(they keep telling us), but they like fish-sticks,
so any time we have fish, regardless of preparation method or species, it’s cut
into fairly regular sized things that could arguably be called “sticks,” and
voila! “Fish-sticks,” we tell them.
Not being inspired particularly by all the words on the
first few recipes I looked at, I did the classic “throw some stuff that seems right
together, and follows the spirit of how to cook that thing.” Beat up two eggs
with some salt and pepper to dredge them in before breading. Dump roughly equal
parts Panko bread crumbs, Progresso garlic seasoned crumbs (finished off both
packages) and corn meal together in a bowl for breading. Put on a frying pan
with a bunch (I’d guess nearly a cup) of left-over French-fry oil, which was
made of roughly equal parts canola oil, peanut oil, and bacon grease, with some
small amount of butter. (They were not really deep fried, but it was definitely
NOT the “minimal fat” version of frying.) Cut the cod fillets into roughly
equal hunks (er, I mean, “sticks”), egged, breaded, fried in hot mixed oil until brown and crispy in
the breading and not quite an easy flake in the meat, flip, fry until brown
& crispy on side #2, and the flake is more white than clear. VERY good. The
bacon grease in the oil really makes a huge difference, and starting with the
fillets only barely thawed (still a bit stiff) meant the outside got a hot
enough to brown without the inside getting overcooked and dry. Fish-sticks. No
matter what’s actually inside, they just need to look a certain way for the kids. In this case, what was inside was every bit as good as they appeared.
So, cooking for kids is sort of like politics.
For a lot of people, what is going on inside, the details, are not important.
Just the outside impressions and appearance is what the decision is based on. I’m
hoping when the kids grow up they really understand that cod, wild sockeye salmon,
halibut, trout, tilapia, farmed Atlantic salmon, and mackerel are really VERY
different fish. I’m also hoping that when they grow up and vote it’s not what
the politician LOOKS like or SOUNDS like that makes a difference, but what the
effects of their POLICIES are and HOW they will be enacted and enforced that is
important. Details matter. As a kid,
I don’t expect them to really know or care that much about the details of their
fish-sticks. As an adult, I DO. I suppose there are some obvious jokes to make
here WRT political parties, but I’ll refrain.