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SANDUSKY, OH – Art & Culture

July 20, 2009

Recipe for Summer Squash and Lake Erie Perch

-Larry Smith

Get up just before dusk with the birds.
Breathe the cool morning air.
The day before, borrow your neighbor’s boat
and a bucket of fresh minnows or shiners (Sorry, Vegans).
Head out onto the foggy lake. Bring a lantern or flashlight
to be visible; others may already be dropping lines.
Better yet, bring your kids or a couple grandkids
and let them get the taste of lake fishing.
[No computer games; turn off all cell phones.]
If possible, bring back a dozen good sized, yellow perch.

Stop at the Farmer’s Market downtown. [They’re good people
and won’t care how you look or smell.]
Pick up 4 or 5 summer squash, a couple zucchini,
maybe a green pepper or two, some onions.
Get a dozen of fresh ears of area corn—nothing like it.
Say Hi to Josh and Lauren at the CSA tent,
they’re doing good work right here in Erie County,
and always smiling and full of talk.
Let your children browse the market tables,
learn where their food really comes from.

You’ll have to clean those fish.
Tell your wife or partner you’ll cook dinner tonight.
About an hour before supper or lunch,
cut the squash and pepper and onions into ¼”  slices.
Get out your big steamer or a pasta cooker
and fill with water to just below the strainer;
layer the veggies up and lay the perch fillets
across the top (It’ll cook.). Salt and pepper to taste.
I spread some Rosemary across the top for the fishy smell.
Bring the water to a boil, then cook on medium heat
about 10 minutes. The perch should flake, the squash
be soft but not mushy. Steam the corn a few minutes.
Serve it with salt and butter, some tartar sauce for others.
Bring on a big pitcher of iced tea, and listen
as the kids tell stories of their day.

Larry Smith is a professor emeritus at BGSU Firelands College and director of The Firelands Writing Center. A native of the Ohio River Valley, he now lives along the shores of Lake Erie. He is the author of eight books of poetry, four books of fiction, and two literary biographies. He and his wife Ann are two of the founders of the Converging Paths Meditation Center  in Sandusky. See: Larry Smith’s Homepage.

quillListen to Larry Smith’s poetry being read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac.


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2009 12:28 pm

    This poem reads to a fresh piece of culture gleaned from the lake with the eerie Sublime walking across, key in hand, to open a fair catch.

    We are now available for dinner every day this month.

  2. Nancy Dunham permalink
    July 20, 2009 3:11 pm

    Thanks, Larry. This is really bringing poetry into a whole new practical use. We should all try this — writing some procedure into a poem. Nancy

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