Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This is a photo of Dave, 'Lijah and Grandpa in April...

We had such a lovely night together. I made fish fries, deep-fried breaded haddock, a favorite up here in the Rochester, New York area. I keep a fryer in the garage and on fish fry nights I take fresh haddock filets and dredge them in flour....

then dip them in beaten eggs thinned with water, about a 3-to-1 ratio, eggs to water.

And then I dip them into fresh bread crumbs I make on my Cuisinart. I used to have a DEATH MACHINE... I don't think that was the brand name, but it came free with the blender Mandy bought us. The blender is awesome, just what I wanted, but Lacey took one look at how the blade on that food processor was actually striving to free itself from the cheap plastic assembly and bought me a Cuisinart for Christmas that year.

The Death Machine is now gone. Thank you, Lacey.

I learned years ago from Julia Child that fresh bread crumbs make all the difference. She was right. And she made more money than I did. How could I argue? So I never throw away scraps of bread, rolls, etc. I turn crusts and pieces into bread crumbs and then throw the big gallon zip-loc bag into the freezer. Instant bread crumbs as I need them. Perfect!

Then I fry the fish at 375-400 degrees until deep golden brown. Easy peasy. Totally.

And then I eat the fish with tartar sauce.... Now, I never measure for tartar sauce and I never buy it because it's that simple. Figure about a 2-1 ratio of Hellman's mayonnaise to sweet pickle relish. Then add a tablespoon (and by tablespoon, of course I mean a scant handful) of parsley flakes and stir. Done!

Here's a picture of Grandpa and part of my crew this fall... He'd been in hospice care all summer, and then regained some strength, but you can see the difference, God love him.

Logan, Seth, MacKenzie, 'Lijah, Dave, Beth holding newborn Xavier with Grandpa in the middle!

We're REALLY NAUGHTY on fish fry nights. French fries, too. And cole slaw. Very traditional meal around here. And Grandma and Grandpa loved to go out every Friday to the local eateries and grab a fish fry. That's not possible now, so we make the fish come to them. With a dessert, of course.

Grandpa loves cookies. Me, too. And my little friends love making cookies, so it's a win/win, right?

Grandpa loved to work with wood when he retired from Kodak thirty years ago. Imagine that: Thirty years of retirement. Are any of us prepared for thirty years of retirement, financially or otherwise? Mind-boggling.

Here are some pics of the amazing train he built that's in their back yard now:

Logan, on top of the caboose... Seth LOOKS calm, but I can guarantee you he suspected imminent death and destruction. Obviously 'Lijah is prepared to run for help if such occurs, LOL!

Isn't it wonderful? Here's another picture from Easter, two years ago:

Okay, this one is gratuitous eye candy... this is my oldest son, Matt...  Celtic gorgeous, right?

Fish fries have become a symbol of "casual family night".... I man the fryer and everyone gathers. No holiday... no agenda.... no time frame except as set by tired kids.

I wouldn't have it any other way.


  1. Love this, Ruthy. I adore fish fries - tartar sauce and all. YUM!
    One of my favorite parts of my daughter being in college in Maine was the Haddock Chowder her school served. It helps to go to a school with the #1 rated dining service in the country. ;)

    We haven't had much luck finding haddock downstate here. I guess I need to look a little harder.

    That train is AMAZING! What a wonderful gift to cherish. Such talent!!! Thanks for sharing.
    Mary Curry

  2. I was introduced to fish camps when I moved to NC. It is hard to hold back when fresh mountain trout is laid out in front of you...with hushpuppies.

    Still envious of the train and does your son know he has been turned into a poster boy?

    Peace, Julie

  3. Shh... Julie....No. But he's studying for his CPA and working full time with three kids, so he doesn't browse his mother's blogs too often. I think we're safe. But isn't he stinkin' cute????

    Trout.... Yum. And Mary, I don't think you can find haddock down there. My boys haven't, anyway, so I do a fish fry whenever Zach (in Manhattan) comes home. It's my contribution to clogging his young arteries.

    Haddock chowder... Hmmm, never tried that. I do Manhattan and New England clam chowder. Both are easy recipes, and so delicious.

    Love them! I've never done fish chowder, though, although I was eating a seafood soup at my first lunch with Melissa Endlich and splashed the broth all over her because they hadn't removed the shells from the clams.

    Oh my stars, I've probably told you guys that before, but it was yet another LESS THAN STELLAR Ruthy moment.

    Nervous? Maybe?


  4. Ruthy, I think Melissa has forgiven you...

    And yes, Matt is a hunk. Has he passed the Herne good looks on to his kids? The future is bright!

    I love fish fries, too - but they're few and far between. When you live in the middle of the country, as far from the ocean as you can get, fish isn't nearly as exciting. Fly fishing is a big thing around here, but my dear husband has no desire to fish. At all.

    So it's Long John Silvers. I know. Sorry excuse for the real thing.

    BUT - if we start talking buffalo roasts and elk steaks, then I live in the right part of the country :)

  5. Buffalo and elk???? I've never had either. Venison, yes. Dave's a hunter. But I'll have to try some of the other red meats, Jan!

    And Matt and Karen's kids are beautiful... All blonde little towheads. Matt was born dark... Karen has gorgeous red hair... and God gave them three little blondes.

    How funny is that?

  6. Fish fries... Mmmm, I want an engraved invite... ;-) Sounds so delicious! But a deep fryer? Open, my clogged arteries, OPEN! And I still haven't had any breakfast, despite my growling stomach.

    Is Grandpa yours or Dave's dad?

    My daughter has red hair, but she informed me a few years ago that redheads are genetically blonde, so there you go with your towheaded grandkids. :) Our newest grandson, Zachary, has a bit of red in his hair, and his mom is a dark blonde and our son has brown hair so dark it's almost black (and Zach's hair was that color at first, too, but now it's Jen's color).

    I want a fish fry and french fries for breakfast... Think anyone serves 'em before 10:30 a.m.? ;-)

  7. I love fish! Your fish fry sounds great!

    Matt is so adorable--just like his mom. That train is unbelievable. I wish I could get Jim to build one for Damian. Actually he does make him lots of beautiful and innovative wooden toys.

  8. Love the train! Love the photos!! Precious family! And Matt looks just like his mom with maybe a smidge of his dad. I see you both in him, but more Ruthy.

    HUSHPUPPIES! Julie, did you have to say hushpuppies as I'm eating a cabbage and spinach salad?? I'd rather have fried balls of cornmeal! LOL

    Melanie, I bet some seafood restaurants open at 11 am. :)

    1. LOL, Missy :) Maybe one of these Friday nights we'll splurge at the local restaurant for a fish fry. (In the meantime I still haven't eaten and it's noon now, so am going to go grab some lunch. Need to get off the computer and STAY OFF of it...)

      Forgot to mention, Ruthy, I absolutely love the train, too! D-i-law's step-grandfather made one that's in his back yard that the adult kids still talk about. :) I know my daughter's 2 boys would love something like that (maybe I should put a bug in their other grandpa's ear--Dick would probably jump at the chance to do something like that...and Shawna would just roll her eyes, LOL)...

  9. Fish for breakfast.... Hey, campers do it all the time. Hush puppies??? I don't think I've ever had them. Must try them. When I'm not eating stupid cabbage.

    Oops.... in a weak moment I insulted the rabbit food. Silly me.

    Cara, it took Dad over a year to do it. He'd been doing smaller projects but he wanted something that would be different and last a long time so he did the whole thing out of treated wood to withstand the outdoors. This is Dave's dad... My parents were in their forties when they had me so they've been gone a while. It always seems funny to think of it that way, but it's true. Sometimes I can just imagine what my mother would say in a given situation...

    In our own weird way, we're still connected. Grace. Peace. Hope.

    Melanie, genetically a blonde derivative, huh? That could be. And Matt has one little blonde streak that shows up in the summer, right by his temple. Four of my kids are/were blonde. Matt had my mother's almost black hair and gray eyes and Zach has my curly brown hair and Dave's big brown eyes. I love the mix of genetics. So many quirks.

  10. I enjoyed your trip down memory lane, Ruthy. Love the pictures and the feeling of family. Isn't it always the simple things that make the most lasting memories? Sigh, it's no wonder you write the books you do.

  11. RUTHY!!! They don't do hushpuppies up there?! You've been missing out. You must try (if you like cornbread, that is). :)

  12. Missy, remember Ruthy's a Yankee. Yankees don't eat hushpuppies unless they're visiting the South :)

    I can take or leave hushpuppies, myself. I'd rather have a good, dark rye bread...mmmm....

    And red hair and blonds? That explains why my mother's hairdresser recently told my dad that now that she's no longer coloring my mom's hair, it's growing in blond instead of red. I hope my mom heard that comment - she always hated her red hair, so I know she'd be pleased :) (she has Alzheimer's, so I don't know if she heard/understood).

  13. What a delightful family time! Grandpa is obviously someone very special to you and your family. And what an amazing job on that train. Every kid in town (including grown-up kids) are envious of your grandkids I'm sure!

    Really enjoyed seeing some of your family and getting to know you and them a little better!

  14. Aw, Kav.... Don't get me misty-eyed. In truth, Dave's family, his parents are such a solid, strong Christian influence that their example helped me to be a better person and parent. They were the best example you could ask for, you know?

    Missy, nope... And I like cornbread but the family was never huge on the graininess. I always liked Caroline Ingalls' way of pressing her hand onto the top of the bread because Pa said he needed no other sweetening than the sight of her handprint.

    My husband has NEVER said any such thing. Oh, Dave.... ;)

    Jan, my red-headed niece is blonde now. And another one followed suit. Redheads for twenty plus years. But my daughter-in-law is red, and two of her brothers got the Morgan red hair. Everybody else has walnut brown.

    The fun of genetics is how much trouble you can make in a manuscript with how they get scrambled. There's a conflict starter there!

    Edwina, I love it when you pop in! Welcome! And yeah, Grandpa is such a gentle soul, a real "Race that knows Joseph" type of person. Calm. Hard-working. Gentle. And funny. The Alzheimers makes him vague, but he's still got a gentle heart.

  15. gotta have hushpuppies! down here in Houston it's hard to find it done right - east Texas was catfish all the way and of course my dad liked coleslaw and all that but I wanted fries and hushpuppies, ketchup and tartar sauce..last year when we ate with his sister and bil I was 'healthy' and added some relish to the plate! my fave hushpuppies are the 'stick' kind with some butter to dip them in but most seem to use those round ones.
    lvoe the train -and thanks for the eye candy - one of ya'll HAS to have a single hunk 45 or up?! puh-lease?! :-)
    ok I can go down a few years...

  16. Susanna, hahahahahaha!

    I think we're all too young to have a 40 plus.... And only my youngest are available. Dagnabbit, girl, you can't find a man in Texas??? Surely you are not looking hard enough.



    Football players????

    Baseball players????

    Electric company employees???? ;)

    We gotta get you out more.

  17. yep that's my problem - I don't get out much and when I do it's usually doing 'girly' stuff. I figured ya'll were too young to have 'kids' that age LOL but hey you might have something you know about LOL! woman at work was gonna find me someone 3 yrs ago but she said I was too picky! well sheesh being stuck with someone a long time you gotta be picky right?! :-)

  18. I know this is an old post... But the TRAIN!!!!

    And your son. Oh, man. He's seriously cute.