Yesterday I attended a Good Friday fish fry sponsored by a local business. The meal was prepared by our local volunteer fire department. And I must say they are known far and wide for their delectable fried catfish. In Mississippi, the fish fry has been elevated to a culinary art form.
The Tombigbee River snakes through Itawamba County headed down to Mobile and throughout the history of the county folks have held a close bond to that old river. For generations locals have fished along the banks of its waters and in the sloughs found in the river bottom lowlands. And for generations folks around these parts have held the fish fry. For years all the restaurants around here have catfish on the menu. And we’ve always had restaurants that specialize in fried catfish alone called fish houses.
The special meal I had yesterday (pictured above) is exactly like the family fish fry we had when I was a kid. So what’s on the menu for an old fashioned Itawamba County fish fry? The meal consists of deep fried Mississippi catfish, fried to a crispy golden brown, a generous heaping of deep fried cornmeal hushpuppies crispy on the outside and spongy on the inside savored with onions, black pepper and green bell pepper, cold spicy cabbage slaw and a heaping of hot crispy French fried potatoes. And there’s plenty of sliced lemons, onions and dill pickles to compliment the meal. All of this is washed down with good iced sweet tea.
You have missed out on a special culinary experience if you haven’t attended an old fashioned Mississippi fish fry.
Photograph of my dad and his cousin during 1956 with their catfish bounty after a fishing trip to the Tombigbee River bottom lands.
The Catfish Institute