….been fishing

As one who has never gone fishing in his life, to have gone fishing would seem to be an unconvincing excuse for not being in one’s place of work during the hours allotted. American literature and folklore suggest otherwise and even that it was at the very top of the suitable excuse list. On reflection it could be said that it has a useful ambivalence in that it offers no suggestion of the length of time before a return could be expected nor even that the fishing expedition will indeed be finite. The only qualification needed for its effectiveness is that the user be a sole trader (clever little pun in there) as there must be no one in cahoots  available to be interrogated by a third party as to the possible reason for such a complete disregard for customers and creditors  or, worse still, as to the name and location of the pub or “maison close” in which the putative fisherman may be currently casting his hook, line and sinker. And so I offer my worthless excuse for not posting anything at all in the last month or so: it’s because I’ve ……

…..and nothing but a  pair of shimmering, bright eyed mackerel to show for it. My first memories of mackerel are to be found in that time before I knew if I liked food;  liked food as a source of great pleasure as opposed to something that assuaged the continual hunger that is part of childhood and teenage years. As a family we holidayed around boats and water and if it was a year when that water was salty then we would eat mackerel. Long lines of hooks trailed over the transom of proper wooden boats powered by Seagull outboard motors whose fuel has a wonderful smell that I can recall to this day; conversely, I have no idea of how the mackerel were later prepared and cooked. I just ate fish and bread and butter. When I became a man I put aside childish ways and started drinking wine which made me fall over a lot, very like a child, until I learnt how much I could drink without this happening…..often. I also learnt, from some wonderful people who aren’t in this story, how to shop for ingredients, prepare and cook them and finally how to eat and share them with pleasure. Oddly enough, I still haven’t grown up enough to like fine dining which I fucking hate. Food, as served in small French restaurants and bistros, was what I liked then and is, indeed, what I like now. Maquereaux au vin blanc is such a dish. It is very cheap, very easy to prepare, delicious to eat and very satisfying to look at, which qualities are, to my mind, the sine qua non of good food.




About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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17 Responses to ….been fishing

  1. Mad Dog says:

    I loved going out on a small boat and fishing with feathers when I was little. There’s something miraculous about bringing up 4 or 5 mackerel on the same line. Great recipe, with sensible serving recommendation, including wine.

  2. Sue says:

    I was most amused by the sole trader….

  3. Ardys says:

    I hate fine dining too. And fishing is highly overrated, which I can say from considerable experience. Beautiful photo.

  4. Eha says:

    Well, next time you go fishing Roger, will you kindly warn us beforehand – I actually thought you had fallen into the depths of a deep well or something . . . then did the unspeakable and went searching in other forms of social media I never frequent! Only to find you and your beautiful photos well and happy!!! Made an angry face at the screen 🙂 ! OK: this is a wonderful mackerel recipe which will be made as soon as I ever get some really fresh specimens . . . actually rather Nordic in style but more inspired . . . .

  5. catterel says:

    My neighbour Pierrot in Brittany always used to bring me fresh mackerel when he’d been out on his boat – as a landlubber, I was struck the first time by how beautiful they are when just out of the sea, almost too pretty to cook, But they were delicious. (And I just realised my first sentence sounds like a variation on “Au clair de la lune” …)

  6. Linda Duffin says:

    It’s hard to beat a really fresh mackerel. And so easy to fish for!

  7. vahfoods says:

    Hope i too go on fishing soon to experiments fulfill my long wish. By the way nice article excited and reminded me some old memories.

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